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Shovel Ready (Spademan) Paperback – 14 Oct 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (14 Oct 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385349017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385349017
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Hardboiled as f*** with writing as fierce and sharp as a paper-cut (Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls)

Savage future noir that crackles with deadpan wit (Nick Harkaway, author of The Gone-Away World and Angelmaker)

Debut novels as sleek, resonant and accomplished as this are a rare gift (Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me)

Elegant, lean and clever noir (Roger Hobbs, author of Ghostman) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

In this hard-boiled dystopian thriller, Spademan talks like Marlowe, handles a blade like Dexter, roams the streets like Reacher, and has a style all his own. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Palmer on 25 May 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Picked this up because it has a recommendation from Lauren Beukes, who is excellent. Sadly, this is merely OK.

It's a hard-boiled future-dystopiany-thrillery sort of thing. A dirty bomb has rendered New York sort of, but not quite, uninhabitable. That's to say, there are a lot of people there, but it's a dangerous place to hang around.

Spademan is an ex-garbage man who becomes a hitman. He's OK though because, you see, he doesn't kill children. As if that makes it OK; if the way you distinguish yourself is "well, at least I don't kill kids" well, then I don't know what to say. I dunno about you, but that's a minimum for not being a godawful human being, frankly. So... it just makes it feel as though the author has chucked that in for an easy way to make the protagonist sympathetic.

Anyway, he gets caught up in one of his intended targets lives through finding some things out accidentally (not that this leads to any significant character growth) leading us to us finding out how he got there and into a slightly rubbishy-Inception-y type ending. Things are never really in doubt, there's some tedious depravity and... bleaurgh.

The best thing about it, to be honest, is the hard-boiled writing. That's not too bad.

Anyway, if this is your thing, enjoy. I didn't.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Jan 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via Netgalley.

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 bombed-out shell of its former self. Now he's a hitman.

I wasnt sure quite what to expect when I started this one - the premise sounded interesting and it turned out to be a terrific story. Spademan lives in the real world while many around him live in a dream - hooked up to machines they all live lives they have chosen while outside the city rots around them. After the death of his wife in the dirty bomb, Spademan found he had a particular talent for killing. All it takes these days is a phone call and a name...he doesnt care about the reasons, he just needs to know who and where. Until he meets Persephone....

I loved the world the author has created here. In the aftermath of the bombings, many survivors deserted the area, leaving behind the destruction, but for some reason many stayed. Some to live actual real lives, others to live a virtual life of their own construct. Spademan is an intriguing character - he has his own moral code, he will not harm children as that takes a "particular kind of psychopath" but he will happily kill anyone else without knowing why. When Persephone becomes his next target however, his mindset begins to shift. Its a fascinating insight into a very troubled mind.

The world is rich with atmosphere and delightfully drawn supporting characters who all invade Spademan's space causing one problem or the other, even when they are trying to help.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Martyn Davies on 13 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dystopian sci-fi about a hit-man in future (or alternative present?) New York, where it seems that there's plenty to do for a hard-working, skilled assassin. Asked to kill off an evangelist's daughter, Spademan instead finds her a kindred spirit (and handy with a knife to boot) ending up in a reverse mission to go after the top people at the church.

There's a great wry humour to the scene setting, for example: "Ducks, plucked and bashful, hung on hooks in a windowpane, like a warning to other outlaw ducks", or how about this: "She opens a beer for her, then one for me, puts them on the coffee table between us like we're playing chess with only two pieces."

I should warn that there is some graphic violence, but it is a compelling tale and hard to put down; a rather excellent first novel.
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Format: Paperback
It's the future. When terrorists set off a dirty bomb in Times Square, it triggered a chain of similar bomb attacks that left New York a broken city abandoned by tourists and bitterly divided between the rich and poor. The rich (those who remain) have retreated into a virtual on-line world called the limnosphere, which they access through special beds - paying nurses and servants to put feedbags into their body and protect them. The poor either live in camps in Central Park or squat in abandoned apartments.

Spademan worked as a garbageman before the terrorist attacks killed his wife. Now he's a killer for hire who won't murder kids. When he's hired to kill Grace - the daughter of a powerful evangelist with links to the political elite - Spademan finds himself caught within a web of dark family secrets and a sinister bid for power ...

Adam Sternbergh's debut SF thriller is a tight and stylish affair written in a clipped, hard-boiled noir voice that just about makes up for the lack of plot. The main reason to read it is Spademan who has a Chandler-esque feel to him as he explains his world to the reader. Although you don't learn a huge amount about his background other than that he worked in garbage and was married to Stella (whose death seems to have broken him emotionally), the way he views the world is enough to get a good sense of who he is and the complex morality he has woven for himself (although I wish Sternbergh had steered clear of the hitman cliché about children). I was more bothered by the lack of development for Grace, who's essentially a plot device and I wanted to know more about Mark (Spademan's friend - a Christian youth worker nursing a guilty secret).
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