Shovel Ready

A Novel

Sternbergh, Adam

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Shovel Ready
Working as a hit man on the ravaged streets of New York City after a dirty bomb is unleashed on Times Square, Spademan takes an assignment to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist only to discover that his mark holds a shocking secret and that his client hides a more sinister agenda.

Publisher: New York :, Crown Publishers,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 0385348991
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY STERNBERG 2014
Characteristics: 243 pages ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

Spademan's other car is a 'bed' that carries him to the limnosphere.

Dirty bomb-ravaged New York City is the setting for the story of Spademan, who once worked in sanitation but now is an assassin. While the rich spend their lives in virtual worlds, Spademan solves the mystery of the shady evangelist and his runaway daughter.

From the critics

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Feb 12, 2015
  • Bookgirl03 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I picked up this book as part of the "Blind Date with a Book" and I'm really glad I did as I don't think that I would ever have picked it up otherwise. It reminded me of a cross between Dexter and the Matrix. Intriguing concept and main character with a good voice. Would most likely read the sequel when it comes out! Thanks for coming up with the "Blind Date with a book" idea!! Wish it was on all the time.

Jun 29, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Hard boiled, pulpy, dystopian, noir. It reads like a cross between Inception, the Matrix, and Neuromancer and it was great fun to read. It may take a bit to get into the rhythm of the book (there aren't any quotation marks to denote dialogue) but once you get the hang of it it is well worth the trip. The plot is tried and true - a contract killer with a heart of gold ends up not killing one of his targets and protecting them instead - but our hero and story is highly original.

Spademan, not his real name, was a garbage man before a dirty bomb went off in Times Square. Now he lives alone and does hits with no questions and asks and he doesn't want to know anything aside the target's name. As he says many times, he's just a bullet. The situation of the world has changed and he falls in to what he does and it works well enough for him.

It's a quirky read, you'll either love it or hate it, but if anything about what I've said sounds interesting it's worth a try.

May 19, 2014

Loved the free-running, "train of thought" style of writing. Like a Milton sonnet. But, found the plot rather simplistic and incomprehensible.

May 06, 2014

Imagine a New York City where you can always find a seat on the subway; you can disconnect from your misery into a perfect utopia through an IV; Times Square, the place that native New Yorkers dread being at is empty. Dark and dirty, this sci-fi novel takes place in a future New York City after the destructive results of a dirty bomb where the once bustling "capital of the world" is drastically devoid of city life and the police have no problem watching you die right in front of them. Spademan is a garbageman-turned-paid assassin who defies his own rules to protect a teenage girl he was hired to kill, and finds himself facing an enemy who forces Spademan to become an even more dangerous version of himself to protect those around him.

May 02, 2014

More scary futuristic novels. Vitareader is correct; would make a good series ala Walter Mosley characters.

May 01, 2014
  • 671books rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I was disappointed in this book. I figured it would be a bit better than it was. Still, the story is an entertaining read. Good for those long summers at the cottage or on a plane.

Full review here:

Mar 09, 2014

"Before the dirty bomb hit New York, Spademan was a garbageman; now he's a hitman, taking out people (adults only!) for the right price. Trouble hits when he accepts a job to kill the daughter of a televangelist, only to realise that she's on the run from her father, who will do anything to get her back -- and not for the most loving reasons. Spademan's allegiance is quickly turned, and soon the evangelist himself is in his sights. With a very noirish sensibility and a well-drawn post-apocalyptic setting, this spare, sparse novel is "galvanizing" (Booklist)."

Feb 02, 2014
  • vitareader rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

No snow removal involved here. It is a gritty world after the dirty bomb in Times Square goes off and kills the one Spademan loves. Killer for hirer. Won't do children, that is under 18 to him, and he doesn't care why you want it done and he doesn't deliver messages. Susan sent me bwahaha. He just gets the job done
The book is edgy , dark and has quite a bit of humour. But it is not just about the killing it has a whole other side of life or non life as people take to beds and go on drips to keep them alive as they continue to live the lives they think they once had through tapping into a virtual reality program.
I found this interesting and somewhat scary as... say no more spoiler. I think Spademan could become a very fascinating series.

Jan 20, 2014

Entertainment weekly 1/2014


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