SHOVEL READY by Adam Sternbergh

ShovelSHOVEL READY by Adam Sternbergh

January 2014

This book is:
Darkly noble.
Our reluctant, angry, terse antihero is Spademan. His days of collecting trash on the streets of bustling Manhattan came to an end with the dirty bomb that hit Time Square. He lost his wife. He lost his city, or what it used to be. And he lost himself.
Now he collects human refuse with a caveat – no children.
And when you call, please, don’t tell him the why of it. Just who it is and where they’ll be.
Think of me more like a bullet.
Just point.
His tool of choice is a box-cutter.
Spademan lives in a New York that has been abandoned by the affluent. Think Occupy but on a permanent basis, a lot of guns and everyone needs a Geiger counter. The few wealthy people left are holed up in townhouses where, in order to deal with their altered circumstances, the using a psych altering drug called limn. They tap, go “off-body” and slip into a reality that, behind closed lids, is a million miles away. They are “gone” so long they must be tube fed and tended by nurses.
Easy pickings for a determined hitman.
But a new contract has Spademan feeling uneasy. Kill Grace Chastity Harrow, the wayward daughter of a high-profile evangelist, T.K. Harrow. Mr Harrow has made himself filthy rich by usherin people to heaven in his limnosphere church, Paved With Gold. But the hit doesn’t go quite as planned. When Spademan finds Grace (or Persephone, as she calls herself) she’s pregnant. The father? Her father.
This changes everything for Spademan. And that anger Mr Harrow. There will be a showdown, of course. There will be the big confrontation. But no one will have their feet on the ground when it happens.
This was almost a great book. Sternbergh lost the thread towards the end and his lack of quotation marks makes it more than a little difficult to find your way. As this is the first in a series I intend to continue to read, I firmly believe these are kinks that will be worked out.
Jennifer Jordan