I have only seen glowing reviews for this book (it has 4.15 stars on Goodreads)… and this will not be one of them. I do not know if it is me or the books I have been choosing so far this year, but they have been underwhelming.
Blacktop Wasteland is about Bug – loving husband, father, and car mechanic. As Bug falls into some financial troubles, he resurrects his past and agrees to be a getaway driver to a heist that should solve all his problems. Only the heist goes very wrong.
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.
While S.A. Cosby is clearly a talented writer, as I read Blacktop Wasteland something just felt off with the writing. Eventually, I realized it was the stark contrast between the expository language and the dialogue. The characters’ speech is written phonetically in Southern twang and slang whereas the descriptions and narrative use very sophisticated language and lots of GRE words. It was a bit like language whiplash. This book honestly has similes of Greek mythology and armed robbery. It appeared a bit try-hard and threw off the story’s pace.
Blacktop Wasteland seemed to be trying to be a literary version of The Fast & The Furious. I liked a lot of the main characters, and of course, disliked those characters that it was clear were meant to be disliked. Bug, the central character, was particularly likeable, and at times, I had serious anxiety that he would get caught or in trouble. But by the end, I was just not that invested.
Overall, I fell somewhere between liking it and just thinking it was okay. I will only be recommending Blacktop Wasteland to fans of Southern noirs and The Fast & The Furious who can overlook the polarizing writing.
RECOMMENDED FOR SOME
Mysteries & Thrillers
July 14, 2020