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The Warehouse
Cover of The Warehouse
The Warehouse
A Novel
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Cloud isn’t just a place to work. It’s a place to live. And when you’re here, you’ll never want to leave.“A thrilling story of corporate espionage at the highest level . ....
Cloud isn’t just a place to work. It’s a place to live. And when you’re here, you’ll never want to leave.“A thrilling story of corporate espionage at the highest level . ....
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Description-

  • Cloud isn’t just a place to work. It’s a place to live. And when you’re here, you’ll never want to leave.

    “A thrilling story of corporate espionage at the highest level . . . and a powerful cautionary tale about technology, runaway capitalism, and the nightmare world we are making for ourselves.”—Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter
    Film rights sold to Imagine Entertainment for director Ron Howard! • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Financial Times Real Simple Kirkus Reviews

    Paxton never thought he’d be working for Cloud, the giant tech company that’s eaten much of the American economy. Much less that he’d be moving into one of the company’s sprawling live-work facilities.
    But compared to what’s left outside, Cloud’s bland chainstore life of gleaming entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses…well, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s more than anyone else is offering. 
    Zinnia never thought she’d be infiltrating Cloud. But now she’s undercover, inside the walls, risking it all to ferret out the company’s darkest secrets. And Paxton, with his ordinary little hopes and fears? He just might make the perfect pawn. If she can bear to sacrifice him.
    As the truth about Cloud unfolds, Zinnia must gamble everything on a desperate scheme—one that risks both their lives, even as it forces Paxton to question everything about the world he’s so carefully assembled here.
    Together, they’ll learn just how far the company will go…to make the world a better place.
    Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business—and who will pay the ultimate price.
    Praise for The Warehouse
    “A fun, fast-paced read [that] walks a fine line between a near-future thriller and a smart satire . . . makes you wonder if we’re already too far into a disastrous future, or if there’s still some hope for humanity.”—NPR
    “I loved The Warehouse, although and because it made my blood run cold. This is what our world could be by this time next year.”—S.J. Rozan, Edgar award-winning author of Paper Son
     
    “An inventive, addictive, Crichton-esque, page-turning, near-future dystopian thriller.”—Paul Tremblay, Stoker award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghostsof Lock Every Door

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Paxton

    Paxton pressed his hand against the front window of the ice-cream parlor. The menu board on the wall inside promised homemade flavors. Graham cracker and chocolate marshmallow and peanut butter fudge.

    Flanking it, on one side, was a hardware store called Pop's, and on the other was a diner with a chrome and neon sign he couldn't quite make out. Delia's? Dahlia's?

    Paxton looked up and down the stretch of the main road. It was so easy to imagine the street bustling with people. All the life this place used to hold. It was the kind of town that could inspire feelings of nostalgia on the first visit.

    Now it was an echo fading in the white sunlight.

    He turned back to the ice-cream parlor, the only business on the strip not boarded up with weathered plywood. The window was hot to the touch where the sun hit it and coated in a layer of grit.

    Looking inside, at the dusty stacks of flared tin cups and the empty stools and the fallow refrigerators, Paxton wanted to feel some kind of regret, about what this place must have meant to the town that surrounded it.

    But he had reached the limit of his sadness when he stepped off the bus. Just the act of being there was stretching his skin to bursting, like an overfilled balloon.

    Paxton hitched his bag over his shoulder and turned back into the horde shuffling down the sidewalk, trampling the grass jutting through the cracks in the concrete. There were still people coming up in the rear—older folks, people nursing injuries so they couldn't walk as well.

    Forty-seven people had gotten off the bus. Forty-seven people, not including him. About halfway through the two-hour ride, when there was nothing left on his phone to capture his attention, he'd counted. Heavy-shouldered men with the callused hands of day laborers. Stooped office workers grown soft from years of hunching at keyboards. One girl couldn't have been more than seventeen. She was short and curvy, with long brown braids that reached down to her lower back and skin the color of milk. She wore an old lavender pantsuit, two sizes too big, the fabric faded and stretched from years of washing and wear. The sliver of an orange tag, like the kind used in secondhand stores, stuck out from its collar.

    Everyone carried luggage. Battered roller suitcases wobbling on uneven pavement. Bags strapped to backs or slung over shoulders. Everyone sweating from exertion. The sun baked the top of Paxton's head.

    It must have been well past a hundred degrees. Sweat ran down Paxton's legs, pooling in his underarms, making his clothes stick. Which was exactly why he wore black pants and a white shirt, so the sweat wouldn't show as much. The white-haired man next to him, the one who looked like a college professor put out to pasture, his beige suit was the color of wet cardboard.

    Hopefully the processing center was close. Hopefully it was cool. He just wanted to be inside. He could taste it on his tongue: dust blowing from ruined fields, no longer strong enough to keep a grip on anything. It had been cruel of the bus driver to drop them at the edge of town. He was probably staying close to the interstate to conserve gas, but still.

    The line ahead shifted, drifting to the right at the intersection. Paxton dug in harder. He wanted to stop to pull a bottle of water out of his bag, but pausing at the ice-cream parlor had been an indulgence. There were now more people ahead of him than behind.

    As he neared the corner, a woman launched past him, clipping his side, making enough contact he almost stumbled. She was older, Asian, with a mop of white hair on her head and a leather satchel looped around her...

About the Author-

  • Rob Hart is the author of the Ash McKenna crime series and the short-story collection Take- Out. He also co-wrote Scott Free with James Patterson. He's worked as a book publisher, a political reporter, and a communications director for a politician and was a commissioner for the city of New York. He lives on Staten Island with his wife and daughter.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 3, 2019
    What if the totalitarian regime controlling people’s lives was a mega-corporation rather than a fascist government? That’s the conceit of this intelligent Orwellian thriller by Hart (the Ash McKenna series), who imagines an all-too-plausible near-future in which an Amazon-on-steroids company called Cloud dominates retail sales and the labor market. The story is told from three perspectives: multibillionaire Gibson Wells, the founder of Cloud; Paxton, a newly hired security employee at a MotherCloud facility, where he also lives; and Zinnia, a shipping worker and resident of the same facility. Wells, who’s dying of cancer, presents Cloud’s history, which includes taking over the FAA from the federal government to help expedite Cloud’s drone deliveries. Paxton, whose business was bankrupted by Cloud’s monopolistic practices, hopes for a meaningful relationship with Zinnia, who’s actually on a corporate espionage assignment for an unidentified employer and looks to use Paxton to further her mission. Hart’s detail-oriented worldbuilding, which credibly extrapolates from the Trump administration’s antiregulatory agenda, makes this cautionary tale memorable and powerful. This promises to be Hart’s breakout book. Agent: Josh Getzler, HSG Agency.

  • Library Journal

    June 7, 2019

    In the near future, tech giant Cloud owns nearly every company in America. They have such a monopoly that working at one of their MotherCloud facilities, a live-work concept, is the best job available. Two new employees are Paxton, who's in security and looking for the source of a new drug called Oblivion that causes overdoses, and stock-picker Zinnia, who works in the massive warehouse and runs nonstop to find products during ten-hour shifts. Zinnia is also a corporate spy, working undercover to get Cloud's info for a competitor. When she and Paxton start a relationship, it complicates Zinnia's task and makes Paxton think he might want to stay at Cloud. The story follows the couple in brief chapters, telling their adventures. Interspersed is a blog written by Gibson Wells, the man who built Cloud from nothing, who is dying and desires both to visit each MotherCloud location before he goes and name his successor. Hart (Take-Out; "Ash McKenna" series) writes an enjoyable mystery that is hard to put down. VERDICT Highly recommended for dystopian fiction fans. The film rights have Ron Howard associated, which will pique more interest.--Jason L. Steagall, formerly with Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2019
    When does the line between utopia and dystopia begin to merge? When you owe your soul to the company store. Hart (Take Out, 2019, etc.) is best known for his private eye novels about Ash McKenna and a novella co-written with James Patterson (Scott Free, 2017), but he's tapped a real vein of the zeitgeist with this stand-alone thriller about the future of work that reads like a combination of Dave Eggers' tech nightmare, The Circle (2013), the public's basic impression of an Amazon fulfillment center, and Parzival's infiltration of IOI in Ready Player One (2011). In the near future, following a series of mass murders at retail outlets, traditional commerce is dead. Every need has been ported over to Cloud, a worldwide fulfillment facility where anyone who wants to survive works--those who don't either give in eventually or are a customer--in something of a feudal society where algorithms decide your role. Cloud is the brainchild of Gibson Wells, a mad genius who is dying of pancreatic cancer but whose role in the story is assured by his broadcasts to his millions of employees. Our two leads are Paxton, a former prison guard whose entrepreneurial invention was co-opted by Cloud and who has reluctantly taken a security job with his enemy's empire, and Zinnia, a secretive operative with deadly skills whose role on the product-picking floor is only a means to an end. While touching on income inequality, drug addiction, and corporate espionage, Hart creates a compelling and intriguing thriller that holds up a black mirror to our own frightening state of affairs. Hart dedicates the book to a real victim, Maria Fernandes, who worked part time at three different jobs and accidentally suffocated on gas fumes while sleeping in her car in 2014. That's a profound inspiration, and Hart has written a hell of a prosecution of modern commerce and the nature of work, all contained in the matrix of a Cory Doctorow-esque postmodern thriller that might not turn out the way you hoped. Part video game, part Sinclair Lewis, part Michael Crichton; it adds up to a terrific puzzle.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    June 1, 2019
    In the near future, the world has been irrevocably altered by climate change. Once-verdant landscapes are now inhospitable, virtually uninhabitable. Cloud, a massive company (imagine the wide-ranging inventory of Amazon combined with the business practices of Walmart), is for most people the only source of goods, entertainment, the very necessities of life. The company's huge MotherCloud warehouses are self-contained cities; you don't just work at Cloud, you live there, too. To one MotherCloud installation come two new employees: Paxton, a former prison guard and entrepreneur whose small business was driven under by Cloud's demand for deep discounts, and Zinnia, a young woman on a secret mission. As they navigate the world of Cloud, each discovers that what they believed about Cloud doesn't quite match up with the reality of the place. The new novel from the author of the Ash McKenna amateur-sleuth series is very well constructed; a lot of thought clearly went into Cloud and the near-future world it dominates. It's an exciting, well-paced thriller laced through with insightful commentary on today's politics and commerce. A film is in the offing, with Ron Howard directing.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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