Review: Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (4/5)

Friday 18 July 2014
Spademan used to be a garbage man. 

Before the dirty bomb hit Times Square. 

Before his wife was killed. Before Manhattan became a burnt-out shell. 

Now he's a hitman. 

It's not so different from his old job - 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, the client's sordid agenda brings chaos into Spademan's uncluttered life. 

Spademan must navigate the wasteland of New York to finish his job, clear his conscience and make sure he's not the one who ends up in the ground.

When I saw this book on bookbridgr I didn't hesitate to request. It sounded like a book I would enjoy and after reading it in one sitting I can safely say I did enjoy it. First of all the cover is brilliant and would immediately catch your eye in a bookshop and then you have the blurb. Immediately when I read the blurb I wanted to read the book. As a blogger I'm led to believe we should pick up on these things so as a book's cover and blurb are usually the first two things you see it's full marks for that.

Our main character Spademan is a garbage man turned hitman, an interesting character to say the least who we never really fully understand, more questions than answers here. He kills without question and without conscience, his opinion being that it's up to those that hire him to live with the consequences. That is until he meets Persephone and his life ends up in danger in more ways than one...

The book was hugely atmospheric and in parts felt like a film. I could easily imagine myself walking around this version of New York. And I also imagined my own city being in this situation. The virtual element was intriguing, nurses hook people up to machines allowing them to live in a virtual reality for any amount of time whilst the world around them continues to rot. Others abandoned the area whilst others remained and are trying to rebuild something from the wreckage.

Sternbergh's writing style is a bit different to what I'm used to and in some parts I wasn't keen on it. Especially sentences that I felt would work better with more commas than full stops. That said I'm not an editor and have no experience as a writer so I can only speak as a reader. Overall it appears this is very much a marmite book. There seems to be just as many 1 and 2 star ratings as there is 5. I personally enjoyed it but can see why others didn't. It's definitely a book you will hate or love but definitely one I reccommend taking a chance on to find out.

Buy from Amazon

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