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Summary

It's a crime that history repeats itself.

Beauregard 'Bug' Montage: honest mechanic, loving husband, devoted parent. He's no longer the criminal he once was - the sharpest wheelman on the east coast, infamous from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida.

But when his respectable life begins to crumble, a shady associate comes calling with a clean, one-time job: a diamond heist promising a get-rich payout. Inexorably drawn to the driver's seat - and haunted by the ghost of his outlaw father - Bug is yanked back into a savage world of bullets and betrayal, which soon endangers all he holds dear. 

Like Breaking Bad in a high-speed collision with Drive, this stunning debut holds up a cracked mirror to the woozy ideals of the American dream - a dazzling, operatic story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race and a scarred, self-destructive masculinity.

The perfect gripping listen for fans of acclaimed writers such as Don Winslow, Attica Locke, Bill Beverley and Thomas Mullen. 

©2020 Shawn A. Crosby (P)2020 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic reviews

"Sensationally good - new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart." (Lee Child)  

"Every once in a while a writer comes along with an incredible voice. Think Elmore Leonard, or Chester Himes...add S. A. Cosby to that list." (Steve Cavanagh) 

"Blacktop Wasteland is an urgent, timely, pitch-perfect jolt of American noir." (Dennis Lehane)  

What listeners say about Blacktop Wasteland

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant, nailbiting Southern Noir

Loved this book from beginning to end. S.A Cosby brings this slice of southern life vividly to life with characters you will believe in. One of the best books I have read this year and the narration is first class. I highly recommend it.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stunning book

Could not stop listening. Incredible narration of a fabulous crime novel, also wonderful social commentary on US race relations! We need more novels from this author.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent story, excellent narration

<i>"You start down a road like this and before you know it you can't find your way back. You lose yourself."</i>

BLACKTOP WASTELAND is simply stunning, a dark, fast-moving, thrill-ride; funny and heart-breaking. At its centre is Beauregard 'Bug' Montage, a road racer, a mechanic, a former getaway driver, a tragic anti-hero of Shakespearian proportions, a black man whose struggle to provide for the family he clearly loves draws him back for one last big score. S.A. Cosby has delivered a story that echoes classic 1970s movies, The Driver and The Friends of Eddie Coyle spring to mind, as well as Elmore Leonard and Charles Willeford, and more recently, Jordan Harper and Bill Beverly.

The book is full of deeply flawed and well-rounded characters, dialogue that rings true, and the best written car chases I have ever read, you can hear the engines screaming and smell the rubber burning. One of the best novels I have read this year and destined to be a classic.

The narration is excellent and really brings the characters to life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 23-04-21

Loved it

Great narration and great story, another book that got me out walking and listening. Can’t wait for the next one.

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Brilliant Story

This is one of the best books I have read/listened to in a long time. Absolutely gripping from start to finish.

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Don’t do heists with HillBillys!!

Great southern noir!!! Great characters in this perfect little heist story! Narrated perfectly. Good story of a man being pulled back into a life of crime he thought he’d left behind him.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good piece of new noir with medium plot

The novel stumbled in the third half of the stairs and fell nose first. or to you carhead lingo, it turned from a BMW to a Hyundai in act 3. Masterful similes and noir mood all over though.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Highly recommended sleasy noir

A gripping account of the traditional story of a former criminal forced back into the 'life' and one last job. A great cast of sleasy ,sweaty, scarred and psychopathic lowlifes populate this book and probably the best account I've com
e across of what it is to be the get-away-driver.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Great writing and narration. Lacks originality.

This is a great listen on Audible, hovering between four and five stars, and just shy of greatness. More so for the writing than the originality.

I've heard people say Blacktop Wasteland feels like Breaking Bad meets Fast and Furious, and although I haven't seen much of the latter, I think that's a pretty fair analogy if you want to simplify it.

But everything does feel a little too familiar and that's the problem. There's no real knockout moment. Not for me anyway. And that's where it loses a mark.

So, is that a bad thing?

No. Not when it's so well written.

I mean, it's a debut novel. It really is a damn fine piece of work. I just think it needed that something extra to stand out and get me wanting to talk about it more.



It's a 4.5 overall, but I'm keeping it a 4 for Goodreads.
4 feels right.

Soon to be a movie. Guaranteed.

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    5 out of 5 stars

A total page turner

Read a review in the FT and bought the book and have been bowled over by this totally engaging drama of motives that are very understandable and actions and behaviours that are totally wrong. A roller coaster ride with endless twists and turns as the lead characters life falls apart, friendships are broken and the memory of his father almost takes over. Brilliantly read - thoroughly recommended