Shovel Ready

  • by Adam Sternbergh
  • Narrated by Arthur Morey
  • 6 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, January 2014 - I was initially drawn into this book by its title and grim, gritty cover, but I was even more excited to learn the plot. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic New York City - where the young and poor live in camps in the park, while the rich retreat to an elaborate virtual reality – and tells the story of Spademan, a garbageman turned hitman. Spademan doesn’t ask any questions about the people he’s hired to kill – his only rule is no kids. But that all changes when he’s hired to kill the runaway daughter of a wealthy evangelist. At times the story reminded me of both Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick, which is a compliment in my book! Debut author Adam Sternbergh (a writer for New York Magazine) has written a witty, dark, and compelling novel that will appeal to fans of dystopian fiction or suspense. —Sam, Audible Editor

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Noir garbageman in dirty bombed New York

Arthur Morey's Tom Waites voice narrates this first person, garbage man come passionless killer come unlikely hero novel with a convincing mix of insight and resignation.

This book was unexpectedly well written. Rich references give a back story to a man and a New York both devastated by a dirty bomb. The violence is imaginative and sometimes shocking. The characters carry their own motives and complexities. We bond with uncharming people.

If I have a criticism of the book it is that it has two distinct trajectories in it. Part one is futuristic noir. Part two is dystopia conditioned by an imagined technology. Part one is anti-hero, part two is the unlikely redemption of the hero. It works, but I preferred first half Geiger counters to the second half's "lymnosphere."

Suffice it to say that I really look forward to Sternbergh's next.
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- Lawrence "master-chef"

An ok book. Nothing really resonated.

First the performance was great. It was a little heavy handed in the snarkiness but you warm up to it. The story itself was not terribly engaging. A superficial mix of various scifi tropes, not of which were to heavily explored. An easy, entertaining listen overall but it's not going to blow you away.
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- Kevin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-14-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio