Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 243
Source: e-galley provided by publisher.

The Short Version:
A noir-ish suspense story of a garbage man turned hitman set in a near future New York City.

Why I Read It:
The publisher’s description intrigued me.

The Book:
From the publisher:

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.

In a New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap into” a sophisticated virtual reality for months at a time and those left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. His clients like that he doesn’t ask questions, that he works quickly, and that he’s handy with a box cutter. He finds that killing people for money is not that different from collecting trash, and the pay is better. His latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist. Finding her is easy, but the job quickly gets complicated: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has an agenda far beyond a simple kill. Now Spademan must navigate the dual levels of his world-the gritty reality and the slick fantasy-to finish the job, to keep his conscience clean, and to stay alive.

My Thoughts:
This is an odd but intriguing book. The first half felt new and different and got me interested. Then the second half became more predictable and felt like a television crime drama show and left me feeling like it could have been better.

I really had no idea what to expect when I started this one. I actually went back and started over after reading about 20 pages and getting a feel for what was going on and the author’s style. He doesn’t use quotation marks (which annoys me), but I liked the futuristic noir feel to the story.

The no quotation marks thing I could manage to cope with for most of the book. I occasionally had to go back and re-read sections to sort out who was talking and when. The story is dialog heavy and at times I felt like I was reading a play with the actors names removed. It got problematic in a couple of scenes where there were more than two people speaking.

The story has already been sold for a movie and will probably lend itself well to that format. I also read that a second Spademan book is planned. I might read it because there was a lot I liked about this book but I just felt like the latter part didn’t surprise me nearly as much as the first part.

I’d give it a 3 out of 5 for the first half and a 2 for the second half so I’m rounding that out for my final rating.

2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5