book reviews by Althea

Spademan – Adam Sternbergh ***

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This month’s Post-Apocalyptic Book Club selection!

In a dilapidated New York City reeling and in decline after a dirty bomb attack on Times Square, we meet Spademan, who describes himself as a ‘Garbage Man.’ In fact, he was indeed once employed collecting trash. But now? He’s a hit man. Times have changed.

The novel has a double-pronged structure – it does a great job of gradually revealing both the history of what happened to New York and what happened to Spademan himself, and simultaneously setting up a noir thriller plot.

Spademan is hired to kill a young woman – but what he discovers about her leads him to renege on his contract – and to find himself in an increasingly-deep pile of crap, as he ends up investigating the suspicious promises of an evangelical cult that promises a virtual-reality Heaven – but, of course, hides something much nastier behind the sparkling golden sales pitch.

Hard-boiled mystery, cyberpunk, and dystopian genre tropes gleefully rub up against each other in a quick-moving, highly entertaining story.


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