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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

#ATBR2020 Review: Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby @flatironbooks @blacklionking73 @jessmapreviews

Blacktop Wasteland 
by S.A. Cosby 

Thank you Flatiron Books for these copies!

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: July 14, 2020
304 Pages
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller


Beauregard "Bug" Montage: husband, father, honest car mechanic. But he was once known - from North Carolina to the beaches of Florida - as the best getaway driver on the East Coast. Just like his father, who disappeared many years ago.

After a series of financial calamities (worsened by the racial prejudices of the small town he lives in) Bug reluctantly takes part in a daring diamond heist to solve his money troubles - and to go straight once and for all. However, when it goes horrifically wrong, he's sucked into a grimy underworld which threatens everything, and everyone, he holds dear . . .

From a stunning new voice in fiction, BLACKTOP WASTELAND is a dazzling, operatic crime novel that holds up a cracked mirror to the American dream. The perfect page-turning read for fans of acclaimed writers such as Don Winslow, Attica Locke, Bill Beverley and Thomas Mullen.

My Review:

What.  WHAAAAATTTTTT. <--- me after turning the page and realizing it was the last one. Well now this is the second book I've read this week where I didn't think I was all that invested but then things happen and I find myself physically hitting the book and tearing up in a couple sections.  WTF.  Is it isolation or just REALLY GOOD BOOKS?

S.A. Cosby is a new to me author and I'm now going back to check out his other two books I found on Goodreads.  We can talk about the car chases, and heists and violence within this book but for me, this was really more a character study of Beau/Bug.  A man, a husband, a mechanic, a father... and a criminal who is just trying to do right by his family the way his father never did for him.  He keeps trying to walk the straight and narrow but  nothing seems to come together and the cards are stacked against him so when an opportunity arises, he takes it and sets forth a domino effect that changes his life, and the lives around him forever.

Let's also talk about the other characters here.  Kia is probably one of my favorite characters in this book.  The wife of Bug, the mother of their children and the one who tried to keep Bug from... bugging out. (I know, I know, bad joke here).  Their kids, especially Javon, broke my heart.  And do you know how many times I yelled "OMGF RONNIE!" 😠 So many people in here I wanted to freaking throttle.

Now, in all of this, there were certain moments of levity from some very sarcastic comments that I forever appreciate in books.  But mostly we see Beau struggle internally with who he was, who he is and who he thinks he will continue to be.  With vivid action packed scenes, emotional turmoil and a lot of spitfire, I definitely recommend this character driven crime literature.


Jessica's Review:

This book. I sat down on Saturday afternoon to take a break from some cleaning and the next thing I knew I was finishing the book. I couldn't put it down! This was my introduction to S.A. Cosby and I don't know how I hadn't heard of him before. BLACKTOP WASTELAND has already found it's place as one of my top books for 2020. You need to get this book, like ASAP.

We meet Beauregard “Bug” Montage, he is a man trying to live an honest life and do right by his family. Our introduction to him really set the tone to the entire book and gave us so much character development in just one chapter and that only continued throughout the story. Bug is such a multifaceted and complex character with his inner struggles between making an honest living and wanting to take care of his family. He had followed in his father's footsteps and became one of, if not the best, getaway driver for any jobs he was needed for. All hell breaks loose when he is recruited for one more job with an old colleague, Ronnie. You will find yourself absolutely hating this man. I don't normally have reactions like that while I read, and let me tell you, Ronnie was such a frustrating character.

The dynamic between Bug and his wife and kids felt so real. The interactions and struggles they experience together. Some moments will make your heart ache for them but there are some lighter moments to give the book some levity. The rollercoaster that the author takes us on made for a read that I literally read cover-to-cover without even realizing it. I sat down with the book to take a break in packing up some stuff and getting boxes together for donations, and the next thing I knew it was dark outside and the book was done. That last page! I need more of this story, but I think it was so fitting!

This book played out in my head as a movie and I hope that this gets to be adapted. The driving scenes were so well detailed that you felt like you were there and the author did a fantastic job creating the suspense during Bug's "one last job". The comparison to Ocean's Eleven and Driver is spot on and if either of those films interests you, then do yourself a favor and pick this book up.

5 stars

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