Does a son have to repeat his father’s transgressions and life choices?
It seemed like S.A. Cosby was trying to answer that question in his thrilling third novel, Blacktop Wasteland. I have seen this novel posted on my Instagram feed recently and several Goodreads friends posted about the book and I had to read it.
Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an excellent mechanic, devoted husband and father. He has tried to leave the life of street racing and crime behind. However, his auto mechanic shop direly needs business and Bug’s resources have hit the breaking point. He takes part in one more robbery to steal diamonds from a local jewelry store. In his desperate situation, Bug sees this opportunity as his only way out. However, easy money never comes easily and Bug learns the painful lesson that a life of crime never solves your problems.
Bug reconnects with a former associate that tells him the robbery of a jewelry store will be quick, easy, and foolproof. Of course, nothing is foolproof, and the heist gets the attention of a local criminal kingpin and Bug may have crossed paths with the wrong person. Bug’s family is pulled into his last excursion of crime and it nearly costs him everything. He hatches a plan to save his family and gets revenge on everyone that pulled him back into that life.
It has been a long time since I read a book that gave me holy s-word moments. Cosby’s fast-paced “southern noir” thriller kept me turning pages and got me invested in Bug’s journey out of darkness. Also, I appreciated how he brought up Bug’s connection to his father and how dangerous idolatry can become.
Blacktop Wasteland joins my favorite reads list of 2021 and Cosby’s visceral writing had me seeing Ving Rhames or Don Cheadle as Beauregard “Bug” Montage in a movie adapted from the novel. I’m looking forward to reading more of Cosby’s work and highly recommend this powerful, ultraviolent novel.