Author: Adam Sternbergh
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia/Thriller
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Spademan--the kill-for-hire antihero from Shovel Ready--returns in another riveting, twisted, genre-busting novel from Adam Sternbergh.
It's a year after Shovel Ready. Persephone is ensconced with her newborn upstate; Simon the Magician is struggling to keep control of Harrow's evangelical empire; and Spademan has accepted a seemingly routine job: to snuff out a no-good bed-hopper named Lesser. Lesser has been causing headaches all over the limnosphere, racking up enemies left and right. But Lesser comes back from the dream with a wild claim: that the terrorists have found a way to infiltrate the limnosphere, to hijack the luxury virtual escape from the inside. And they're doing it from somewhere in New York.
Spademan is not used to having enemies--his foes usually end up dead pretty quickly--but he tries to stay vigilant about the dangers that lurk right under our noses. He's about to find out just how close these new enemies are--and how dangerous they can be.
Near Enemy is the gripping and darkly hilarious second book in the Spademan series. The book picks up a year after the first one ended, but the reader is caught up to speed almost immediately, learning what has become of most of the other major characters from the last book. With everything seemingly back to normal, Spademan takes on what should be a routine job - to take out a guy named Lesser who has been a huge pain for everyone in the limnosphere. Although Lesser has been making enemies everywhere he goes, he comes back from his dream state and claims that there are terrorists who have found a way to get into the limnosphere and hijack the complex system from inside of it. Also - they're based somewhere in New York. Spademan doesn't know whether to believe Lesser or not, but this could turn out to be a huge terrorist attack - one that hasn't happened in a long time - and it would be from inside the limnosphere, where the people who can afford it retreat for an escape of the dim reality of their actual world. It seems that the more he investigates Lesser's claim, the more enemies he uncovers - some that he would never have guessed were so close, and just what they're willing to do.
The author's first book in the series took me completely by surprise and it ended up being one of my favorite books of the year. Needless to say, I had pretty high expectations and hopes for this book - and the author didn't fail to deliver. The story has all of the strange and twisted elements as the first, our anti-hero main character is back, and the plot turned out to be complex with lots of twists. Spademan remains the gruff main character of the book - although he's still an anti-hero, those who have read the first book know a bit more about his character and can see beneath that layer of his personality to something more underneath. I loved Spademan just as much in this novel as I did in the last - he continues to be a favorite character of mine. The other characters in the book were well written, especially Lesser, who we get to know decently well. Again, he's not a saint or anything, but he's also much more than what he's known for.
I loved the plot for the story. It was genius and original - terrorists going into the limnosphere and attacking from the inside? Awesome. As the story progresses and we learn more about these terrorists and their plan, the more we really get to dive into the perverse thinking and actions that have come about in this horrible new world that the author has created. It's written with such attention to detail and vivid imagery that I easily slipped back inside within the first couple of sentences. I could shut my eyes and see myself beside Spademan in this New York of his world - and experience everything just as he would. That kind of immersion is rare in a book, especially one that's so different from our own, and I consider that to be a huge indicator of the author's talent. The writing itself was phenomenal - just like the first. I was afraid that it wouldn't capture me in the same way as the previous book did, but I had nothing to fear - it was all written in the exact same gritty narrative with dark humor that had me snickering (a lot). The writing, in my opinion, reminds me of Frank Miller with it's short dialogue lines, twisted characters, and thrilling plot. The book was a quick read for me - however, I was already accustomed to the way the author writes and didn't have to figure it out. Some readers find the writing hard to decipher, at least at first, due to the lack of punctuation in places, the short lines, and no indications of what is dialogue and what isn't as well as who is saying what. Once you catch on though, the story really flies and you become completely engrossed in the story. I can honestly say that I love this book just as much as the first. There isn't any aspect of the book - from writing style to characters and setting to the plot itself and anything in between - that didn't blow my mind. It's hard to describe a book like this one - let alone try to write a coherent review of it. There's no way I could ever do it the justice it deserves, but I'm trying my best to convey how unique and unconventional the book is. Obviously, this book won't be for every reader. There will be those who don't like the writing style, or the overall plot and narrative. That's fine and to be expected. But for those readers who - like myself - enjoy this type of gritty, twisted, and darkly funny fiction and love to be totally engrossed and glued to each word - you need to read this book. Seriously. I can't recommend this novel, or the first novel in the series, highly enough. This is definitely going to be a favorite for this year and will end up on my all time favorites list. I'm keeping my eye on this author and I can't wait to see what he's going to come up with next.
A Twisted, Darkly Funny, and Genre Crushing Novel That Refuses to be Labeled - A New All Time Favorite!
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review through the Blogging for Books Program.