Book Review – Tomorrow, the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Tomorrow, the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Tomorrow, the Killing by Daniel Polansky

The blurb entrenches:

Once he was a hero of the Great War, and then a member of the dreaded Black House. Now he is the criminal linchpin of Low Town. His name is Warden. He thought he had left the war behind him, but a summons from up above brings the past sharply, uncomfortably, back into focus. General Montgomery’s daughter is missing somewhere in Low Town, searching for clues about her brother’s murder. The General wants her found, before the stinking streets can lay claim to her, too. Dark, violent, and shot through with corruption, this book is a fantastic successor to a much-heralded fantasy debut.

I’m a big fan of noir and fantasy and I really liked the first book in the series, so I’ve been waiting for this book to become available for a long time.  For whatever reason it came out in the UK years ago, but only recently in the US.

I love this book.  I love pretty much everything about it.  It’s unflinching and funny and cool.

I have a pet peeve about books that leave you on cliffhangers to be resolved in sequels.  The middle books in trilogies are particularly bad for this.  Fortunately this book doesn’t have that problem, to the extent that it’s practically a standalone novel.

One of the things that made the main character interesting in the first book was his history in the army.  It adds a lot of grit and depth to him and to the world.  The war is fairly obviously inspired by World War I except with magic instead of water-cooled belt-fed machine guns and creeping artillery barrages.  Unfortunately I don’t think the main character’s experiences in the war were explored much in the first book, but fortunately they were explored a lot more in this book as occasional flashback chapters.

I also enjoyed the sneakiness of the main character – when he wants to achieve something he doesn’t just go straight at his target but thinks about how to arrange for his goals to be attained in other ways.