Daniel Polansky

Daniel Polansky was born in Baltimore. He lived for a time in China before returning to the US, where he began writing the first draft of The Straight Razor Cure which became his first novel and forms the first part of his Low Town series. The Straight Razor Cure has been described as “Tarantino meets Tolkien” but in his own mind Polansky believes it is more "Dan Brown meets the Old Testament".

"I wear my influences pretty heavy on my sleeve, Chandler and Hammett in particular. As far as fantasy goes, Gene Wolfe is a giant, deserved of far more regard than he gets. George RR Martin is probably the only person who ever wrote a good high fantasy book, cruel though it was to strand us mid-series."
Taken from an interview with Polansky, in which he was asked which other fantasy/sci-fi authors influenced him

Daniel Polansky books reviewed


Low Town series

  • Straight Razor Cure (2012, Winner of The Prix Imaginales Award for Best Foreign Novel)
    Here, the criminal is king. The streets are filled with the screeching of fish hags, the cries of swindled merchants, the inviting murmurs of working girls. Here, people can disappear, and the lacklustre efforts of the guard ensure they are never found. Warden is an ex-soldier who has seen the worst men have to offer; now a narcotics dealer with a rich, bloody past and a way of inviting danger. You'd struggle to find someone with a soul as dark and troubled as his. But then a missing child, murdered and horribly mutilated, is discovered in an alley. And then another. With a mind as sharp as a blade and an old but powerful friend in the city, he's the only man with a hope of finding the killer. If the killer doesn't find him first.
  • Tomorrow, the Killing (2013)
    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.

Critical acclaim

"I can't remember when I last enjoyed a fantasy book this much" Books Monthly

"Polansky's writing is confident and punchy from the offset. The action rips along at a brilliant pace allowing us to experience this gritty world through the eyes of a thrilling, dangerous, flawed, yet strangely endearing protagonist. This is modern, dark fantasy at its best and a debut to be envied." British Fantasy Society