Hodder, Out now
“There’s such a thing as right and wrong.” “No, Adolphus – there’s just dead and alive.” Welcome back to Low Town where a missing persons case opens old wounds on both a personal and much larger scale for Warden…
That quote pretty much sums up the ethos of Low Town and our guide to it, Warden, a man who you may think you’ve got a handle on after reading The Straight Razor Cure, but who turns out to be much darker, deeper and deceitful than you’d ever have guessed from that story.
Tomorrow, The Killing features a multitude of flashbacks to the war that shaped Warden’s personality and its aftermath. We find out more, perhaps, than we want to about what he has been prepared to do, and the fundamental disconnect that this has caused from his innate humanity.
In the 1970s TV series The Sweeney (and hopefully the big-screen remake heading our way shortly), the central character, Jack Regan, wasn’t moral or immoral. He was amoral. Warden is another such man. Whereas we never really learned what made him that way, the story relayed in Tomorrow, The Killing explains why Warden acts as he does – even if he surprises himself sometimes by certain acts that seem to be contrary to that nature (and is even more surprised when others treat him better than he believes – rightly – that he deserves).
Like its predecessor, this is a fusion of the fantasy sword and sorcery world (though there’s much less of the latter this time around) and the noir thriller. And as with that first novel, Low Town exerts a grip around the reader, so you can easily follow Warden down its mean streets.
Neither Warden nor Low Town are the same at the end of this novel, setting up some very interesting threads for future stories. It’s a harsh tale – but one that will draw you in and blindside you in the same way that it does some of its protagonists.
Verdict: Another descent into the hell of Low Town that shouldn’t be missed. 8/10