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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

Shovel Ready is a dark, fast-paced, adult, dystopian noir novel.  I read mostly Juv and YA, so I always expect adult books to go a little more slowly.  Y'all, I flew through Shovel Ready!  It's a true page-turner.  There's not a single unnecessary sentence in the whole novel.

Shovel Ready is a dark dystopian- it takes place in a future NYC, about a year after nuclear bombs were set off in Times Square.  Most people fled the city, so it's a little odd to be reading about the main character moving about downtown so quickly and easily.  There's never a wait for transportation or traffic to contend with.  In fact, the main character, Spademan, doesn't even have a legit job anymore- he was a garbageman, but there just isn't that much garbage to collect.  Now he has the illegitimate job of hired assassin.  Very convenient that he used to be a garbageman- he knows how to get rid of "trash."  I found it interesting, though, that as the book progressed, I liked Spademan more and more!  I never thought I'd find myself liking a hit man!  I think it was at least partly his snark.  I do love me some snarky characters.  I'll take "dark" or sarcastic humor over slapstick any day of the week.

One thing about the book, though- the layout of the text.  This is not usually a detail worth talking about, but it is in Shovel Ready.  You see, there are no quotation marks.  At first this gave me a little pause, but I got used to it really quickly.  There is still indentation to signify that a new thought or new speaker was beginning, so that's good.  I loved the flow of the writing so much, though.  I put a snippet from the first chapter down below to try to entice you to try this book.

Beyond the book taking place in a dystopian NYC, there's also futuristic tech featured.  After the world went to pot, some enterprising entrepreneurs came up with a new kind of internet called the limnosphere.  People can "tap in" through special beds- they go unconscious in physical body while their subconscious hangs out in the limnosphere, where they can be anything and do anything they want.  Some of the richest people left in America even pay special nurses to come by and give them IV nutrition so that they never need to leave the limnosphere.  This ends up playing a huge part in the book, with the main characters interacting both in the physical world and the limnosphere.

I loved Shovel Ready, and plan to read the sequel, Near Enemy, soon!  Here's a small snippet from the book so that you can see the way it's laid out, and how sarcastic Spademan is:

People get upset when you say you kill people.

Fair enough.

But wait.

What if I told you I only kill serial killers?

It's not true, but what if I told you that?

Now what if I told you I only kill child molesters?  Or rapists?  Or people who really deserve it?

Wavering yet?

Okay, now what if I told you I only kill people who talk loudly in movie theaters?  Or block the escalator?  Or cut you off in traffic?

Don't answer.  Think it over.

Not so self-righteous now.

I'm just kidding.

There's no such thing as movie theaters anymore.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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