Shovel Ready

Shovel Ready

3.46 (5,178 ratings by Goodreads)
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The futuristic hardboiled noir that Lauren Beukes calls sharp as a paper-cut about a garbage man turned kill-for-hire.
Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a blown-out shell of its former self.
Now he s a hitman.
In a near-future New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to tap in to a sophisticated virtual reality, and those who are left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. When his latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist, he must navigate between these two worlds the wasteland reality and the slick fantasy to finish his job, clear his conscience, and make sure he s not the one who winds up in the ground."
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Product details

  • Hardback | 243 pages
  • 146 x 217 x 24mm | 367g
  • New York, India
  • English
  • 0385348991
  • 9780385348997
  • 1,060,514

Review quote

"Bogart-cool. . . . Razor-sharp. . . . The page-turning mood of "Shovel Ready" is addictive, by turns death-metal brutal and darkly hilarious" --"Entertainment Weekly
"The best of two dark, amoral, existentially empty worlds!" "--Time"
"Darkly funny." --"New York"
"The best kind of hard boiled noir." --"GQ"
"Sternbergh's pithy prose drives the thriller's tempo."--"Time Out New York"
"["Shovel Ready"] speeds along in staccato, hard-boiled sentences."--"Los Angeles Times"
"Sternbergh comes busting out of the gate with this gritty noir." --"Flavorwire"
"Stunning narrative sleight-of-hand. . . . Characters [with] humor and a resilient humanity. . . . Mixing dystopian science fiction and urban noir with a Palahniuk swagger, this could well be the first novel everybody is talking about over the next few months." --"Booklist" (starred review)
"Spademan is an unlikely yet tragic hero, and it takes a talented author to make a reader root for such a damaged and ruthless man. . . . This is a gripping genre mash-up and a stunning debut." --"Library Journal "(starred review)
"[An] edgy, noir-soaked thriller." --"Bookpage"
"Hardboiled as f*** with writing as fierce and sharp as a paper-cut." --Lauren Beukes, author of "The Shining Girls"
"With prose chiseled to hardboiled perfection and a tale that throbs with the keen ache of noir, Adam Sternbergh's" Shovel Ready" reads like William Gibson as directed with inky brilliance by Christopher Nolan. Debut novels as sleek, resonant and accomplished as this are a rare gift." --Megan Abbott, author of "Dare Me"
""Shovel Ready "tosses you off a precipice and you don't know where you're going to land. Dark and often funny, with sparse, sharp language. Think Charlie Huston's dystopian New York meets Richard Stark's anti-hero--this is good, bitter fun." --Toby Barlow, author of "Sharp Teeth" and "Babayaga"
"Compulsive! Savage future noir that c
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About Adam Sternbergh

Adam Sternbergh is the culture editor of "The New York Times Magazine." Formerly an editor-at-large for "New York, "his writing has been featured in several other publications including "GQ, The Times "of London, and on the radio program "This American Life." He lives in Brooklyn and is at work on a second Spademan novel. . @sternbergh"
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Rating details

5,178 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 13% (685)
4 37% (1,904)
3 36% (1,854)
2 11% (584)
1 3% (151)

Our customer reviews

New York in the aftermath of a dirty bomb or two; residents traveling with portable Geiger counters to avoid the most radioactive parts of the city. Central Park is now a camp - a sort of modern Hooverville. Those with money who remain dwell almost exclusively in the limnosphere - a computer-generated reality they create for themselves. The rest take their reality as it comes, or pay for "hits" in generally dirty, one-off "dorms" where you pay by the hour. Enter Spademan; a hitman who self-titles himself as a garbageman - he doesn't care why you want someone dead - he only wants to know who it is. His latest assignment is to kill a young woman who now calls herself Persephone - the daughter of a famous and powerful evangelist. What he quickly finds out is that Persephone is skilled in knifework, and killing her won't be as easy as it seems. I absolutely loved this book. Quick bits of dialogue bring to mind a crime noire, interlaced with a biting humor as well as compassion. I quickly found myself immersed in Spademan's world. Great secondary characters, a pervasive theme, and an anti-hero that you find likeable in spite of yourself make this a fabulous must-read for almost any reader and already gave me my first five-star read of the year. If that's not enough to convince you, take a look at some of the following quotes. QUOTES (from an eGalley; may be different in final copy): I had a wife. Believe it or not. And I was a garbageman too, if you're interested, a real one. The kind with garbage, like my dad. Left that too. Left most everything eventually. Whatever hadn't already been taken away. Now I kill people. The end. People get upset when you say you kill people. Fair enough. But wait. What if I told you I only kill serial killers? It's not true, but what if I told you that? Now what if I told you I only kill child molesters? Or rapists? Or people who really deserve it? Wavering yet? Okay, now what if I told you I only kill people who talk loudly in movie theaters? Or block the escalator? Or cut you off in traffic? Don't answer. Think it over. Not so self-righteous now. I'm just kidding. There's no such thing as movie theaters anymore. Cut a city in half and you're left with half a city. But you definitely notice the ones who are gone just as much as the ones who stayed. It's not the doing-it part that's hard. It's the justifying-it part. And I don't do that. I'm not the decision. I'm just the action. I'm just the bullet. So I don't need to justify it. Or live with it. That's your job. I wonder if I'm expected to answer. I was always taught not to talk with my mouth full of teeth. Writing: 5 out of 5 stars Plot: 5 out of 5 stars Characters: 5 out of 5 stars Reading Immersion: 5 out 5 stars BOOK RATING: 5 of 5 stars Sensitive Reader: Occasional profanity, some violent (but not graphic) subject matter. Book Club Recommendation: Yes; as long as members are comfortable with occasional profanity; I think that this book would initiate some interesting discussions on more
by Julie Smith
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