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THE READYMADE THIEF (Viking * Hardcover * 8/1/17 * 9780735221833 * $26.00) is a rollicking debut novel: a genre-transgressing, nonstop adventure pits a teenage girl, with 21st century technological savvy against a cult group of men convinced that the surrealist artist Marcel Duchamp holds the key to the universe. With thriller pacing and literary world-building reminiscent of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Rose’s remarkable novel introduces readers to an irresistible young heroine in Lee Cuddy.
Lee is seventeen years old and living in a quiet suburb of Philadelphia with her mother and her unctuous stepfather. A fast, intense friendship with a girl at school lands Lee in trouble with the cops when she takes the fall for a drug crime. Her real troubles begin with a knife fight and a hasty escape from juvie, when suddenly she finds herself a homeless fugitive with nowhere to turn. After a harrowing few days, a group of runaways discover her and offer her shelter in a squatter’s cooperative dubbed the Crystal Castle. But she discovers their enigmatic leader is hiding something terrible upstairs. After fleeing the Castle, she finds herself being followed by a dangerous underground organization, The Société Anonyme. The S.A.’s far-reaching influence has Lee on the run with no end in sight and no one to trust. A smitten young hacker named Tomi pulls her out of danger and, after an unexpected tryst in the bowels of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the two become an unlikely Bonnie and Clyde. At night, they explore the abandoned buildings of Philadelphia. Tomi introduces her to the hidden treasures of the “Subnet” and the two spend hours together searching the underground web for clues about the S.A.
Rose nimbly pulls threads of pop culture, art history, science, and mysticism into an addicting knot of connections and possible conspiracies. THE READYMADE THIEF follows Lee—tough as nails, a natural grifter, and fiercely loyal—as she uncovers a mystery and navigates a world of abandoned structures, illegal raves, designer drug labs, and the makeshift homes of the lost and forgotten.