A husband, a father, a son, a business owner...And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi.
Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hard-working dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast.
He thought he'd left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. When a smooth-talking former associate comes calling with a can't-miss jewelry store heist, Bug feels he has no choice but to get back in the driver's seat. And Bug is at his best where the scent of gasoline mixes with the smell of fear.
Haunted by the ghost of who he used to be and the father who disappeared when he needed him most, Bug must find a way to navigate this blacktop wasteland...or die trying.
Like Ocean’s Eleven meets Drive, with a Southern noir twist, S. A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race, and his own former life of crime.
My second encounter with S. A. Cosby, after reading My Darkest Prayer a year or two ago. Subsequent to reading Blacktop Wasteland, I did enjoy his latest offering - Razorblade Tears. Once I had gotten my breath back that was.
Blacktop Wasteland was one of those books, I was so looking forward to reading, but kept putting off actually doing so for a year. I'm quite strange in that I enjoy the anticipation of reading a book I think will be excellent, not as much as reading it of course, but still a bit of delayed gratification doesn't do me any harm. I may have to re-evaluate that approach as I get older for fear of missing out altogether.
Was it worth the wait then? Abso-bloody-lutely. Really, really good. So good, I will have difficulty articulating just what it was exactly that I loved about it.
I'll have a go though.... story, characters, pacing, conflict, dilemnas, family, ghosts of family, history, regrets, mistakes, Hobson's choice, decisions, necessity, loyalty, support, trust, betrayal, violence, opportunity, and outcome.
I love a bit of outlaw fiction with good people forced to make hard choices due to economic pressures. Cosby sets up the story in such a fashion, that his main man Bug is left with little option other than reverting to one last job. That said he does have an alternative, but to choose it would be an anathema to his soul. Stubborn, obstinate, hard-hearted, talented, resourceful, capable, and intelligent. He's not a man to be pushed around.
I enjoyed the planning and execution of the job. I liked Bug's issues with his partners and the dynamics between them all. There's an inevitability about things going pear-shaped and Bug finding himself with a massive target on his back. More issues to contend with. Another job to execute and another bigger hole to dig oneself out of.
I found Blacktop Wasteland to be fast-moving, gripping, exciting, tense and extremely satisfying. If I had one eeny weeny criticism, it would be that for an intelligent man, Bug was just a little bit naive in some of his dealings during the book. I thought he was a bit too savvy to get suckered how he did.
I look forward to whatever Shawn Cosby does next (and maybe I'll read it as soon as I get the chance).
Read - August, 2021
Published - 2020
Page count - 308
Source - purchased copy
Format - hardback