Blacktop Wasteland

Blacktop Wasteland

A Novel

Book - 2020
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"A gritty, voice-driven thriller about a former getaway driver who thought he had escaped the criminal life who is pulled back in by race, poverty, and his own former life of crime. Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a man with many different titles: husband, father, friend, honest car mechanic. But before he gave it up, Bug used to be known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best Wheel Man on the East Coast. After a series of financial calamities, Bug feels he has no choice but to take one final job as the getaway driver for a daring diamond heist that could solve all his money troubles and allow him to go straight once and for all. Like "Ocean's Eleven" meets "Drive" (but with a mostly black cast of characters), Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of sons living up (or down) to their fathers; of a heist gone sideways; of a man ground down by economic desperation; of fast cars and daring chases and identity and love"--
Publisher: New York :, Flatiron Books,, [2020]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250252685
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY Cosby S.A. 07/2020
Characteristics: 285 pages ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

2020 JCL Notable Book List selection, Mystery/Thriller

Category: Best Crime Fiction. "No one can drive like Beauregard “Bug” Montage. The former wheelman-turned-family man is trying to earn an honest living, but it’s not easy with the bills piling up. One last job. Then he’ll go straight. Turns out a souped-up V8 and a nitro kit aren’t enough to... Read More »

Beauregard Montage (aka Bug) is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Another garage just opened in town, undercutting his prices and taking away his business. There’s only one thing to get him out of this jam, pulling one final job – a diamond heist to clear the slate and get him set for awhile... Read More »

JCLGreggW Oct 29, 2020

Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a father, husband, and mechanic in a struggling Virginia town who has a criminal past that he must turn to when financial pressure overwhelms him. Cosby's gritty, realistic characters and soaring prose are spot-on for fans of Lippman, Pelecanos, or Lehane.

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Jan 13, 2021

Set in contemporary rural Virginia, Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a Black man in a financial vise: a failing car repair shop, his mortgage in arrears, a daughter who needs tuition money for college, a wife and 2 growing boys who need things, plus an aged mother in a nursing home. He's under tremendous pressure to provide for them all and keep his business afloat. He's also a skilled wheelman who feels most alive behind the wheel of a getaway car. He's trying to be a better father than his own Daddy, a getaway driver who went on the lam years ago. Bug has rejected The Life to keep his family safe but feels its pull; one more big score would relieve his pressing financial needs. Temptation arrives when a sketchy former crime partner floats the idea of a diamond heist. It's an offer Bug can't refuse. We follow a grimly determined Bug through the planning, execution and violent aftermath of the crime. The losers populating the novel, the cool way Bug deals with threats and the way bad guys are tracked down and neutralized reminded me of Elmore Leonard.

Bug is an appealing character; we sympathize with his plight. The narrative is turbo-charged, the dialog is both realistic and at time very funny but the situations are painful. Interestingly, while the Black characters are complex and fully-fleshed-out, the White ones are pretty much Southern cracker stereotypes.

Jan 04, 2021

I blazed through this book in one Sunday afternoon. A fun heist novel.

Dec 30, 2020

This is a great novel! Beuragard "Bug" Montage, an African American who owns an auto repair shop, is a loving husband and good father to his two sons and daughter from an earlier relationship, but has financial problems, mostly caused by a competing repair shop recently moved into his town. On top of that, his mother owes money to her nursing home, and his daughter cannot afford to go to college. So, with financial pressures mounting, Bug decides to accept an offer from a former criminal associate to take a job as a getaway driver for a job big enough to solve those financial problems. Author Cosby beautifully builds the suspense, while saying a great deal about living as a Black man in the south (Virginia), and notions of fatherhood, loyalty, family and friendship. This is rightfully being praised as one of the best novels of 2020!

Dec 21, 2020

The story started out a bit slow but picked up quickly. It is billed as a thriller (and it is) but the human interest story is much more compelling. The characters stay with you long after you finish reading the book.

Dec 06, 2020

guardian best crime 2020 list. Stephen King loved it. Black author.

JCLGreggW Oct 29, 2020

Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a father, husband, and mechanic in a struggling Virginia town who has a criminal past that he must turn to when financial pressure overwhelms him. Cosby's gritty, realistic characters and soaring prose are spot-on for fans of Lippman, Pelecanos, or Lehane.

Sep 20, 2020

A gritty crime novel featuring an antihero who agrees to one last job because he needs money to support his straight-and-narrow life. Against his better judgment, he agrees to be the getaway driver for a guy that he knows is bad news. One bad job turns into another that is almost guaranteed to fail. Filled with violence, bad characters doing bad deeds, and impossible feats of driving, this is an enjoyable read with just enough of a human edge to give it a little wider appeal.

Aug 13, 2020

Excellent writing! Loved everything about this book. It was fun and exciting. Sort of like watching Fast and the Furious.

Jul 26, 2020

This is a book I would not have picked up if it weren’t a book I was reviewing. I am glad I was forced out of my comfort zone. I could speed-read through the violent parts and focus on why this was a book that made me glad I read it. “Bug” Beauregard Montage, a mechanic in a small rural Virginia town has been down on his luck most of his life. He has rebuilt a car into a fast road race machine. While he still loves road racing, having a loving wife and two great kids makes him realize that he needs to leave his criminal life behind him, except that he cannot. He is so deep in debt; he can’t see anything but everybody coming after him….and thus begins a really gruesome story of how he got caught up again in crime. For me, I was willing to read to the end the real story of family and how Bug really wanted to make a real legitimate life for himself and has family.


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