The Readymade Thief

Publisher: Viking
“A kickass debut from start to finish.” —Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad

“The most must-read of all must-reads.” —Marie Claire


“Fiendishly intricate and relentlessly suspenseful.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run.
 
Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, Lee finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle. But the façade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. And they believe Lee holds the key to it all.
 
Aided by Tomi, a young hacker and artist with whom she has struck a wary alliance, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city—empty aquariums, deserted motels, patrolled museums, and even the homes of vacationing families. But the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web she’s trying to elude. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her—and why.
 
A novel of puzzles, conspiracies, secret societies, urban exploration, art history, and a singular, indomitable heroine, The Readymade Thief heralds the arrival of a spellbinding and original new talent in fiction.


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ONE

LEE was just six the first time she stole something. Deposited by her mother at a birthday party to socialize with kids she barely knew and hardly liked, she secreted herself in the bedroom closet of the birthday girl’s parents during a game of hide-and-seek. Lee was a tiny child, mostly silent and near-...
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PRAISE FOR

NPR, Best Summer Books: 2017
BBC, Ten Books to Read in August
Harper's Bazaar, “7 New Books You Need to Read This Summer”
Bustle, “11 Scary New Books Perfect for Your Campfire Reading This Summer”
HelloGiggles, “17 Books We Can't Wait to Read in August”

The Observer, “Top 10 Books to Read This Spring”
Chicago Review of Books25 Books You Need to Read This Summer

Chicago Magazine“Six Books to Put on Your Summer Reading List”
PureWow, “15 New Summer Thrillers That'll Have You Sleeping with the Lights On”

Murder & Mayhem, 15 Killer Mysteries & Thrillers You Need to Read This Summer
St. Louis Post-Dispatch“Chill Out with These 20 Books for Summer

“Anyone who became addicted to the rolling emotions, betrayals, and violent showdowns of Breaking Bad will be seduced by Augustus Rose’s debut . . . Fiendishly intricate and relentlessly suspenseful.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine

“A fast-paced adventure . . . as cleverly written as it is illuminating and deeply referential, and once you start we dare you to try to put it down.”
—Harper’s Bazaar

“This is one of those rare books that you can recommend to anyone you know, even that person who ‘doesn’t read.’ The most must-read of all must-reads.”
—Marie Claire

“[An] uncanny, near sublime first novel. . . . A delight.”
—BBC

“First novels as rich and enchanting as Augustus Rose’s The Readymade Thief don’t come around too often, and when they do, they rarely combine secret societies, teenage runaways, and Marcel Duchamp.”
—Vanity Fair

“[A] viscerally and intellectually exciting novel . . . whose punning title indicates the layered complexity of this well-written text.”
—Wall Street Journal

“[A] coolly creepy debut.”
—People

“[A] strange and wonderful debut . . . wildly unpredictable, big-hearted, and always fascinating.”
The Seattle Times
 
“A fast-paced, plot-driven novel with a resolute heroine and a lot of history . . . Readers who enjoy literary puzzles, or who are looking for something a little different, should look no farther than The Readymade Thief.”
—Shelf Awareness

“Rewarding, like unearthing the Easter eggs in a Lynchian masterpiece.”
—Murder & Mayhem

“In his highly addictive and multi-faceted first novel, Augustus Rose pits an irrepressible and gritty young heroine against a sinister group of fanatics. The Readymade Thief is a kickass debut from start to finish.”
—Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad

The Readymade Thief is my favorite kind of book: an improbable one. The novel is a map of things—urban exploration, secret societies, the city of Philadelphia, Marcel Duchamp, very possibly the Home Alone movies—and if those things don’t seem to fit together, well, that’s the magic of the improbable book, and the transmutation of obsessions, by energy and intellect, into something wholly new: a novel that’s unexpected, uncategorizable, unputdownable.”
—Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

The Readymade Thief is a brilliant, suspenseful, and cinematic novel with an unforgettable heroine and a big story about art, the nature of consciousness, and all points in between. Be prepared to lose yourself in it.”
—Edan Lepucki, author of California and Woman No. 17

“I fell more than a little bit in love not just with Lee—the gutsy protagonist of Augustus Rose’s gorgeous debut novel, The Readymade Thief—but with the book itself. It’s a hypnotizing amalgamation of love story and mystery. I am in awe.”
—Hannah Pittard, author of Listen to Me

“In The Readymade Thief, Augustus Rose shows that he has one of the steadiest hands in fiction. How else to explain how effortlessly he complicates and expands the mystery at the heart of the novel, adding Marcel Duchamp, the Darknet, Urban Exploration, and a unified field theory along the way to such amazing effect. Each time I thought I had found my way to solid ground, another level opened up, and I eagerly tunneled deeper. Rose has crafted something memorable, crackling with energy, a truly wonderful tale.”
—Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang
 
“A rewarding novel full of pleasures and surprises. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it took me somewhere stranger and deeper than I could have imagined. A rich, heady mix of ideas and thrills.”
—Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

“Complex on many intellectual levels, drawing heavily on theories of art history and physics, and the mystery is deep and satisfying in both its unpredictability and its culmination. The sheer scope is impressive, as are Rose's evocative descriptions of underground and abandoned places, reminiscent of David Lynch's films.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“A richly detailed intellectual thriller . . . Lee is an excellent character, and the many shadowy settings she travels through make for a fascinating vision of an alternate, underground Philadelphia.”
Publishers Weekly