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.
From the Hardcover edition.
“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 crackles with deadpan wit." —Nick Harkaway, author of The Gone-Away World and Angelmaker
“Shovel Ready is an elegant, lean and clever noir. It’s the best sci-fi thriller I’ve read since Snow Crash.” —Roger Hobbs, author of Ghostman
“A terrific debut. It has the grimy neon feel of Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan combined with a touch of Philip K. Dick’s gonzo cyberpunk.” —Austin Grossman, author of You and Soon I Will Be Invincible
“[Sternbergh] combines stunning narrative sleight-of-hand with an ability to create flesh-and-blood characters who bring humor and a resilient humanity to their torn-asunder world. 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)
From the Hardcover edition.