Shovel Ready is a driving noirish mystery set in the near future after two big events: the invention of high-end virtual reality and the explosion of a dirty bomb in Times Square. Our “hero” is a garbage man/hitman living in the aftermath and, as in any proper noir novel, he’s been hired to find a girl. I really liked this book. The setting is familiar (to me) but not to the point of cliché, and the author did a great job of building the world with enough gaps between the explanations. The characters are a little formulaic but I kind of prefer that in a noir, y’know? I like a tough guy and a nerdy sidekick and the Big Boss Big Bad. Quick read with undramatic brutality, and the endnotes say the author is working on another in this series. I can’t wait!
—Chris Blakeley, Seattle, WA
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