PB, 356 pages, Hodder

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Straight Razor Cure

Cover by Rhett Podersoo

Low Town is a gritty, grimy place, ravaged by years of war and pestilence, its streets ruled by criminal gangs and factions. Warden stands alone, soldier-turned-law-enforcer-turned-drug-dealer. He thinks he’s seen it all, and he thinks he’s past caring. Until horribly mutilated children start turning up in the alleys of Low Town, victims of a savage supernatural entity with links to Warden’s past, and it’s made clear to him that he’s the only one who can track it down. The clock is ticking…

The first volume in the Low Town Trilogy, The Straight Razor Cure doesn’t hold back with its punches, or its dark humour. Most of this humour hinges on Warden’s sarcasm and his scathing view of, well, just about everybody, especially the upper classes in this stratified society. Our narrator likes to pretend that he has no heart, but it’s his interactions with those close to him (an ex-military buddy, a street waif, his dying mentor) that provide the emotional core of the book and make you warm to a character who likes to think of himself as quite unlikeable.

The book loses some tension with an ending that readers are likely to see coming a mile away, but watching Warden dig himself deeper and deeper into trouble, and wondering how he’s going to extricate himself, is half the fun.

Recommended for those with a taste for dark cities and darker comedy.