Shovel Ready

By Adam Sternbergh

Shovel Ready, a novel by Adam Sternbergh
Book details

I found this book on Amazon while generally having a browse around and put it on my wish list for Christmas (yes, last Christmas). I finally got round to reading it, I'm glad I did!

Shovel Ready is set in a near future New York that has suffered much since a dirty bomb hit Times Square and the refuse hit the fan. Before this Spademan was a garbage collector with a wife and steady life.

Now his job is a different kind of waste disposal, he's a Hitman.

He finds his new role not all that different, he's handy with a box cutter and doesn't get too involved. That is until his most recent client asks him to kill the daughter of prominent figure. His target has a shocking secret and client a sordid agenda that goes way past a simple kill. Spademan must tread carefully to avoid the waste well and trully hitting the fan.

Shovel Ready is close enough to our present to feel chillingly realistic, the New York of tomorrow split between those who can afford to immerse themselves in a better (virtual) reality and those who can't. Those latter individuals live in the grim, dangerous streets of a post-bombed New York that still bears many scars. The writing is sharp and highlights the authors quick wit. It's bold and almost angry at the same time. When combined with the stark near-future and nihilistic protagonist it creates a unique voice that feels like a modern hardboiled noir.

The pace is fast and there is little time given over to exposition which when combined with the fact that it is quite a slim volume means it's a quick read. The writing is quite intense too, gripping and moody and unforgiving.

Shovel Ready is different enough to warrant attention, an unusual protagonist and a story that manages to avoid cliche helps, as does the quality of the writing. Recommended.

Written on 7th November 2016 by .

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