A DRINK BEFORE WE DIE (Low Town #0.5), by Daniel Polansky – #wyrdandwonder

Read the story online

For the last day of Wyrd&Wonder 2022, I’m glad to celebrate it with my latest happy discovery: a short while ago I reviewed a short story by Daniel Polansky, an author I had previously encountered through some other short offerings, and a comment from fellow blogger Sarah led me to learn more about Polansky’s Low Town series, which Sarah mentioned with great fondness. Luckily for me I was able to get my proverbial feet wet with this prequel story which I was able to find online, and which prompted me to acquire the first book in the series immediately afterwards.

In the imaginary city portrayed in this story, Low Town is one of its seediest areas, under the control of a local crime lord who goes by the name of Warden, and is the first-person narrator as well. In Low Town anything goes: drug trade, liquor trade, every kind of more or less illicit trade one can imagine, and Warden rules it all through a deceptively nonchalant attitude – that is, until a rival consortium starts trying to undermine his rule and not-so-gently remove him from his place, so Warden goes on the offensive – but in a very crafty, very offhand way that belies both his determination and his underlying ruthlessness.

I was quite surprised at how I “clicked” with the character of Warden, given that he’s a hardened criminal who does not balk at bloodily removing any obstacle on his path, and does so in the perfect spirit of the place he rules:

”…the locals are unfriendly, unfriendly by the standards of an unfriendly city in an unfriendly world, and the local guard know better than to waste their time trying to police the place, like a doctor knows better than to bandage a corpse”

And yet, the combination of Warden’s laid-back attitude (which is anything but, in truth) with a peculiar kind of humor, that sometimes becomes of the self-deprecating kind, managed to endear him to me very quickly, and to make me want to learn more about him and the world he lives in. And so Low Town is now comfortably sitting on my e-reader, and I’m very much enjoying this story as well, which I’m reading as I write this review…

With my sincerest thanks to fellow blogger Sarah for the recommendation! 🙂

My Rating:

Image art by chic2view on

18 thoughts on “A DRINK BEFORE WE DIE (Low Town #0.5), by Daniel Polansky – #wyrdandwonder

  1. I need to read more Polansky, and I’ve heard good things about the Low Town series as well. It’s nice that these “extras” are available online to tempt us to read more😁

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yesterday evening, after reading your review I had to go and check out the story. I devoured it! And now I have the series on my TBR and I have started The Builders because I own that book and it was just sitting on my shelves (I wasn’t really so interested in it) but since in June I am trying to not buy new things and get some reading done towards my goal, this was a good compromise!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve heard good things about The Builders, and after reading this first volume of the Low Town series I’m convinced I need to explore more the works of this author that so far I’ve known only for his short fiction. My TBR is already cringing at the prospect… 😀 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah – thank you so much for the shout-out, Maddalena! And apologies for the tardy response in acknowledging it, but I’ve had a bit of a relapse and have been spending a lot of time in bed, recently. Hopefully, I’m now getting back on my feet – and delighted that you managed to shoehorn the Low Town series in AND that you’re enjoying it so much:))).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First things first, I hope you are feeling better!
      And second, I not only enjoyed this short story, I just finished the first volume in the series and liked it very, very much: I’m surprised at how much I liked Warden despite his… vices and his self-deprecating attitude… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. I have the first Low Town book on my stack and I think this is only the second time I’ve seen Polansky mentioned by someone I follow and trust. So I better bump him up the list, eh?! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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