Review: Tomorrow the Killing

This post will include my review of the book Tomorrow The Killing. The second Low Town novel by Daniel Polansky, published in May 2013.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.


LOW TOWN, WHERE ONLY THE DEAD DON’T LIE.

The Dren War ended fifteen years ago. Some soldiers came back heroes, while others came back bitter, broken and without a future. Many didn’t make it back at all.

Roland Montgomery, hero of the war, was brutally murdered and his body dumped behind a brothel. Years later, his death still haunts Warden, once Montgomey’s soldier and friend.

Now Montgomery’s sister Rhaine has disappeared, after asking one too many awkward questions about his death. But Warden knows whose hand is lifted against whom, where the blood flows and where the bodies fall. He’ll find Rhaine.

But he’ll also find the returning past to be a bloody, vengeful and unforgiving mistress.

After reading the blurb you might be forgiven for thinking this is the story of Warden’s search for Rhaine Montgomery, Roland’s missing sister. It isn’t. In reality it’s the story of an angry, bitter, man, who after growing disillusioned by the world, decided to add to its misery in a meaningful way.

This is the second Low Town novel so I shouldn’t have been surprised by this but I really did struggle to find any redeeming qualities in Warden. Don’t get me wrong, he is a great character but there’s nothing especially likable about him and that for me meant that the scenes where he was in jeopardy (and there are many) lacked an element of concern. There were times when I just didn’t care if he lived or died, or if his scheming and machinations worked out to his advantage.

This is a gritty noir thriller where none of the players really fall into the good side of any good vs evil conflict. There are various shades of bad, and Warden is in some ways the worst of the lot. I did like the sense of menace created, low town is a poor place filled with unfortunates and the people that prey on them. Some of those predators were brought low, which is about the best I can say in terms of the outcomes of this book.

That said, I did like it, and this anti-hero genre does appeal to me on a visceral level so I will read more stories set in this world. If you like your fantasy gritty and your protagonists morally dubious then get it. If you like a hero you can cheer for, then perhaps look elsewhere.

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