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Shovel Ready: A Novel | [Adam Sternbergh]

Shovel Ready: A Novel

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. His new job is not that different from his old one: waste disposal is waste disposal. He doesn't ask questions, he works quickly, and he's handy with a box cutter.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, January 2014 - I was initially drawn into this book by its title and grim, gritty cover, but I was even more excited to learn the plot. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic New York City - where the young and poor live in camps in the park, while the rich retreat to an elaborate virtual reality – and tells the story of Spademan, a garbageman turned hitman. Spademan doesn’t ask any questions about the people he’s hired to kill – his only rule is no kids. But that all changes when he’s hired to kill the runaway daughter of a wealthy evangelist. At times the story reminded me of both Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick, which is a compliment in my book! Debut author Adam Sternbergh (a writer for New York Magazine) has written a witty, dark, and compelling novel that will appeal to fans of dystopian fiction or suspense. —Sam, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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. His new job is not that different from his old one: waste disposal is waste disposal. He doesn't ask questions, he works quickly, and he's handy with a box cutter. But when his latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist, his unadorned life is upended: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has a sordid agenda far beyond a simple kill. Spademan 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.

Adam Sternbergh has written a dynamite debut: gritty, violent, funny, riveting, tender, and brilliant.

©2013 Adam Sternbergh (P)2013 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (100 )
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3.4 (84 )
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3.7 (82 )
5 star
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2 star
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1 star
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  •  
    Lawrence San Francisco, USA 02-02-14
    Lawrence San Francisco, USA 02-02-14 Member Since 2012

    master-chef

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Noir garbageman in dirty bombed New York"

    Arthur Morey's Tom Waites voice narrates this first person, garbage man come passionless killer come unlikely hero novel with a convincing mix of insight and resignation.

    This book was unexpectedly well written. Rich references give a back story to a man and a New York both devastated by a dirty bomb. The violence is imaginative and sometimes shocking. The characters carry their own motives and complexities. We bond with uncharming people.

    If I have a criticism of the book it is that it has two distinct trajectories in it. Part one is futuristic noir. Part two is dystopia conditioned by an imagined technology. Part one is anti-hero, part two is the unlikely redemption of the hero. It works, but I preferred first half Geiger counters to the second half's "lymnosphere."

    Suffice it to say that I really look forward to Sternbergh's next.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin 01-27-14
    Kevin 01-27-14
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    "An ok book. Nothing really resonated."

    First the performance was great. It was a little heavy handed in the snarkiness but you warm up to it. The story itself was not terribly engaging. A superficial mix of various scifi tropes, not of which were to heavily explored. An easy, entertaining listen overall but it's not going to blow you away.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-08-14
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    "Did not feel the narrator was a good fit with this"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This was an interesting hit man turned hero story with some intriguing dystopian sci fi elements mixed in. The plot was a bit weak I really couldn't really get why this guy went from unfeeling hit man to guy who needs to protect the world from,,,,I'm not even sure what. Also much of spademans success seems to come down to pure luck and convenient plot twists that make enemies allies. In the end it was the narration that ruined this for me. It was a great gravely voice, one you would expect from a hard boiled hit man. However, the cynical sarcastic dialogue just didn't have the right rhythm. I felt like the accent was placed on the wrong words making the lines sound monotone and flat. This made it very hard to focus on the story and I found myself drifting off. I feel the story would have been better with a narrator with a more comedic edge, rather than this serious voice who tended to end most sentences as if he was asking a question? I wish I had read this book rather than listened to it


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Arthur Morey?

    Charlie Sheen, Keith Szarabajka, Robert Glenister


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane United States 02-03-14
    Jane United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Started out interesting, but lost steam for me"

    This book is different, but I liked it at the start. With about an hour left to go it just ran out of steam. It felt like the author didn't know how to end the story. There was no climax, it just kind of petered out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Barbera 08-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Book Was Flat"

    Book and the review had all the elements of something I would enjoy. Almost like a blade runner type scene but it was just something about the performance and the content that made novel come across flat. Disappointing as I have book multiple tries. :(

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsey 01-26-15
    Lindsey 01-26-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Well read. Well written."

    Saw this title in Esq. magazine
    Listened to it in a day it was that good. And I am picky

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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