STARRED REVIEW
July 14, 2020

Blacktop Wasteland

By S.A. Cosby

Beauregard “Bug” Montage thought he was out—out of the rackets and the crimes that once dominated his early life. He had walked away from that lifestyle, opened his own garage, settled down with a loving wife, had several children. But the past and the demands of the present have a way with catching up with people.

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Beauregard “Bug” Montage thought he was out—out of the rackets and the crimes that once dominated his early life. He had walked away from that lifestyle, opened his own garage, settled down with a loving wife, had several children. But the past and the demands of the present have a way with catching up with people.

In Bug’s case, mounting expenses—a mix-up with his ailing mother’s Medicaid has left her owing more than $48,000 to her nursing home; his daughter needs tuition money for college; he’s in arrears on loans for the operation of his garage—leave him with nowhere else to turn. So when an old associate, Ronnie, approaches him about a job that could set everything right, Bug reluctantly agrees. 

Author S.A. Cosby quickly establishes Bug’s financial burdens and emotional dilemma in his new novel, Blacktop Wasteland, and never lets up on the gas. The result is a high-octane, white-knuckle thriller that will have readers whipping through the pages at breakneck speed. Needless to say, not everything goes to plan. Bug and Ronnie’s “simple” heist of a jewelry store goes horribly awry in more ways than one. Bug’s skills as a wheelman—and the Plymouth Duster he inherited from his father—enable him and his crew to get away with their lives, but it’s not enough to keep greed, betrayal and vengeance from closing in at every turn.

Cosby’s tightfisted prose fuels this story with heart-pumping (and often brutal) action that begs to be adapted for the big screen but somehow never loses its compassionate edge. Bug’s commitment and dedication to his family is real and heartfelt, as is his determination to make a legitimate life for them. His only fault is putting his trust in people he knows he should have nothing to do with and succumbing to the allure of easy money.

If you have the nagging feeling you’ve read or heard about Beauregard “Bug” Montage before, it’s possible. Cosby, a Virginia writer whose work has appeared in numerous anthologies, first penned a short story about Bug, “Slant-Six,” which was selected as a distinguished story for Best American Mystery Stories 2016, making Blacktop Wasteland a welcome return appearance.

Buckle in. This is one hell of a ride.

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Blacktop Wasteland

Blacktop Wasteland

By S.A. Cosby
Flatiron
ISBN 9781250252685

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