Cover image for Near enemy : a Spademan novel
Near enemy : a Spademan novel
Sternbergh, Adam, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Publishers, [2015]

Physical Description:
306 pages ; 22 cm
In a mystery set a year after the events of Shovel Ready, Spademan accepts a job to take out a hated philanderer, only to discover that the man holds information about a terrorist plot against the limnosphere.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



The Taut, Unflinching New Thriller from Adam Sternbergh, Author of the Critically-Acclaimed Shovel Ready
New York is toxic--decimated by a dirty bomb years ago.  The limnosphere is a virtual safe haven--if you're rich enough to buy in.  Spademan is a hit man--box-cutter at the ready.

His latest job is to snuff out Lesser, a lowlife lurking around other people's fantasies.  As Spademan is about to close the deal, Lesser comes back from the limn with a wild claim: terrorists are planning to attack New York. Again. This time from the inside out.

The warning sends Spademan down a dark path full of unsavory characters and startling revelations.  A shadowy political fixer tells him of a long-running power struggle that goes all the way to City Hall.  A brilliant Egyptian radical brings Spademan to the mysterious far-reaches of the limn.  And a beautiful nurse holds the secret to what, and who, is behind these attacks--and she seems to want to help Spademan stop them.  But he works best alone.  Or so he thinks.

Spademan has always had his share of enemies, but now they're coming at him from all sides and it's impossible to know whom to trust.  To stay sharp, his only option might be the one thing he swore he'd never do again.

Author Notes

Adam Sternbergh is a contributing editor for New York magazine and Vulture . Formerly culture editor of The New York Times Magazine , his writing has appeared in GQ and the Times of London and on This American Life . He currently lives in Brooklyn with his family.  Near Enemy is his second novel.; @sternbergh

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The crippled city can't live without its crutch. And what a crutch it is! In this equally compelling follow-up to Sternbergh's stunning debut, Shovel Ready(2014), New York City is still reeling from the aftereffects of a dirty bomb in Times Square. Midtown Manhattan is a ghost town, and the city's wealthy have found an alternative reality, the limnosphere, accessed through high-tech beds that allow sleepers to enter a dream world of their own choosing, far from the squalor of daily life. Even the limnosphere is not immune from chaos, however, as bed-hoppers are able to jump between beds, in effect, and either lurk around the edges of someone else's fantasy or, worse, disrupt the dream. Fortunately, though, you can't die in the limnosphere. Until now, apparently. Enter Spademan, the garbageman turned contract killer (weapons are in short supply so his lethal tool of choice is a box cutter) who sets out to fulfill a contract on a bed-hopper named Lesser, who may have unlocked the limnosphere's last secret its immortality. Lesser escapes the box cutter, but soon enough, Spademan is after bigger game. Have terrorists acquired the secret to murder in the limn, and are they soon to take away humanity's last hiding place? Or is the terrorist threat a ruse, covering up the plans of a power-hungry cabal out to rule both external and internal worlds? Spademan and an Egyptian radical, who some believe is the terrorist who cracked the limn, form an unholy alliance to . . . do what? Save the world, or what's left of it, or write its obituary, once and for all? The premise of Sternbergh's postapocalyptic world is so complex, so incredibly detailed, that readers necessarily must spend time struggling to get it straight in their heads. But, somehow, this only adds to the fascination of the novel. We're drawn deeply into the lives of the characters both those Spademan attempts to protect and those whom he hopes to kill while at the same time feverishly trying to do the math on the limnosphere: you can't die in there, but you can be killed in your fancy bed and, thus, have the plug pulled on your dream? But what if you can die in the limn, or, alternately, what if you can live in the limn after you die in the world? Imagine your befuddlement in the early days of the Internet (How do those files get from here to there?), and then multiply that by infinity. Now you have some sense of what trying to sort out Sternbergh's world is like. As intellectually beguiling as the world building in Sternbergh's fiction is, if it were the books' main attraction, it's likely that only techno-geeks would be enthralled. The rest of us need people and action to keep moving forward. Fortunately, Sternbergh gives us both. When dystopian fiction works, it does so because we respond to the way human emotion can live even in a flattened landscape. That's the case here, with Spademan and his gang of postapocalyptic Holmesian irregulars scratching out lives with a moment of passion, a flash of humor, or an act of generosity in a world driven by survival. And let's talk action. The fight scenes in Near Enemy, especially those taking place deep in the limn, blend the operatic elegance of Bruce Lee in flight with the comic-book-inspired mayhem of Nick Harkaway in Tigerman (2014). Popular fiction that engages one's heart, mind, and adrenaline the way the Spademan novels do is something to be savored.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The dirty bomb that turned New York City into a wasteland in 2013's Shovel Ready continues to have reverberations in this solid sequel. To escape the grittiness of reality, many of the wealthy lose themselves in the virtual world of the limnosphere. Former sanitation worker turned hit man Spademan ekes out a living in this bleak dystopia with odd jobs. One of Spademan's targets is Jonathan Lesser, a "hopper" who is able to enter the fantasies of those suspended in the "limn" and who has made an amazing discovery: terrorists are attacking people in the limn, where killing a person is supposed to be impossible. To stop further attacks, Spademan begins an investigation that leads to a political fixer, an Egyptian radical, and a mysterious nurse. Sternbergh laces his second cyberpunk voyage with dark humor and eccentric characters, but plot nuances are hard to follow without having read the first novel. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick & Williams. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

As this sequel to Sternbergh's debut, Shovel Ready, begins, hit man Spademan receives a new assignment; his target is a virtual reality voyeur, one who spies on others in the limnosphere, a virtual space that has replaced the internet. As he is about to complete the job, his mark unexpectedly awakens with the wild claim that someone has been killed inside the limn, which everyone knows is impossible. Spademan sets out to find out just what is going on, while at the same time trying to protect a vulnerable young woman and her child who are under his care. With whispers of terrorism and shadowy security forces swirling around him, Spademan has to navigate a dark future version of New York; a metropolis neglected and slowly depopulating after several terrorist attacks. His goal: to stay alive long enough to identify who the real villains are and defend the few friends he has left. Verdict Sternbergh's spare characterizations and vivid descriptions of a great city fallen on hard times will strike a chord with fans of classic noir as well as readers who like dystopian sf or thrillers with a cyberpunk flavor. That Warner Brothers is developing the author's first novel as a vehicle for Denzel Washington should stir further interest.-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.