Dear Blacktop Wasteland, You were a thrill ride, from beginning to end. After listening to the interview with the author at the end, I was able to figure out exactly why I fell in love with every character, even the most detestable. Cosby explained how he took the time to create a crazy intricate back story for each of his characters. That made every one of them real to me. Beauregard, Kelvin, Kia Reggie and Ronnie, even Lazy were true people to me, ones that I loved getting to know. I also loved the ending, the questions you were left with on the wake of the disaster Beauregard created in his life. You are such a fabulous family thriller, that opened my eyes to a small piece of a Black experience in the south.
Described as a thriller, this novel is much more than that. The main character, faced with financial hardships as he struggles to live honestly and provide for his family, makes the decision to take part in one last crime to save his business and keep his family afloat. Beauregard/Bug is a complex character, and despite making terrible decisions and resorting to violence, you can’t help but root for him. The story is dark, violent and gritty, and really comes alive with Cosby’s talented writing.
”You know, I used to think of myself as two people. Sometimes I was Bug and sometimes I was Beauregard. Beauregard had a wife and children. He ran a business and went to school plays. Bug . . . well, Bug, he robbed banks and armored cars. He drove 100 miles per hour on hairpin curves. Bug threw the people who killed [not mentioning name as it is a spoiler] in a car crusher. I tried to keep them apart, Beauregard and Bug. But my Daddy was right. You can’t be two types of beasts.”
This novel, which I listened to as an audiobook, kept me entertained on a 9 hour road trip by myself. The narration was excellent.
Wow- this was one hell of a ride! (Heh). Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a business owner, mechanic, and family man in rural Virginia. He's also known as the best getaway driver on the East Coast. He came into the game through his father, but unlike him, he gave it up to make an honest living and provide for his family. That is until, one by one, what he's built begins to crumble and he sees no choice but to take on one more high paying job to get rid of his debts.
Make no mistake- this story is brutal and violent. Yet the writing is beautiful and cuts to the heart of things like fatherhood, generational trauma, racism, and poverty while still giving you an action packed story that you won't be able to put down. Bug is an unforgettable character and once I got a handle on all of the players, I raced to finish. I can definitely see this being made into a movie!
If you like gritty Southern noir with a memorable story and characters you'll care about- this one is for you.
“You were never out of the Life completely. You were always looking over your shoulder. You always kept a gun within reach.”
Blacktop Wasteland is a thrilling, adrenaline-fueled read that gives a fresh new take on the One Last Job™ premise. S.A. Cosby's pitch-perfect debut novel is brutal, twisty, and hella gritty. Blacktop Wasteland will have you at edge-of-your-seat from its very first chapter—in which our 'hero' takes part in a drag race—until the novel's finish line. Although Cosby's noir narrative is reminiscent of Walter Mosley and Dennis Lehane, his dynamic voice brings something new to the crime fiction scene. Set in a small-town in rural Virginia, Blacktop Wasteland follows Beauregard Montagerom, nicknamed Bug, a family man who works as a mechanic at his own garage. Beauregard's attempt to live an honest life is hindered by money troubles: business is bad and unforeseen expenses keep cropping up. Going against his wife's wishes, Beauregard agrees to one last job. The heist, however, doesn't go quite as planned...and things rapidly go south. Blacktop Wasteland has a lot to offer: an action-packed storyline, charged dialogues, and compelling yet morally grey—if not downright corrupt—characters. This is one gripping novel. While things do get violent and messy, Cosby manages to vividly render Beauregard's complicated family dynamics, as well as the motivations of those connected to the heist. The way the story unfolds took me by surprise, and in the latter half of the novel, my jaw may have hit the floor once or twice. Alongside some pretty epic moments—Beauregard, for all his faults, is one smooth guy—the story manages to pack quite a few emotional punches. Cosby doesn't shy away from portraying the stark realities of crime, poverty, and racism. Cosby's descriptions were terrific, especially where cars were concerned (“the car shivered like a wolf shaking its pelt” , “the motor went from a roar to the war cry of a god”). They could also be startlingly humorous (such as “explanations were like assholes. Everyone has one and they are all full of shit”). Reading Blacktop Wasteland felt like being taken on an exhilarating ride. This novel is smart, dark, funny, and—as previously mentioned—seriously gritty.
One can almost hear the low growl of the engines and smell the exhaust fumes while reading Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby.
This action-packed noir novel had grit and heart. The characters came right off the page for me. The pace was fast and the tension high. The story starts with a big hook and reels the reader in with a mini story within a story to get one acquainted with the main character and the dog eat dog approach to taking care of business.
Beauregard “Bug” Montage follows in his father’s dangerous footsteps becoming the wheelman for one last heist to set his family and business up. While this is most certainly a novel about fast cars, rip-offs, high stakes, and violence, it delves deeply into the question of whether one can be of two personas. Can the gun-toting criminal also be the straight up family man?
This was a highly enjoyable read for me and I would recommend it to others who like a little grease on their brow while slinging back a shot of Fireball and to those like me who don’t but like reading about it.