Book Review: Blacktop Wasteland

BLACKTOP WASTELAND | S.A. Cosby
07.14.2020 | Flatiron Books
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Beauregard “Bug” Montage is known in his community as a husband, a father, and the owner of a local car mechanic shop. He used to have a much different reputation. He was the best getaway driver on the East Coast, with tales of his work stretching from North Carolina to Florida. Bug is faced with the reality of possibly having to take back up the life he worked so hard to leave behind as a series of financial burdens start to pile up around him. A daring diamond heist could be the answer to his problems. His chance to truly go straight once and for all. Bug knows nothing is that easy in the criminal underworld, but what choice does he have?

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BLACKTOP WASTELAND is a timely crime fiction novel that examines what life is like for a Black man trying to achieve the American dream in a small town steeped in racism. The story is perfect for fans of dark, gritty reads with a nod to noir. 

Our main character, Bug, is someone who is not afraid to do whatever is needed to protect those important to him. Cosby has intricately crafted Bug to the point where while reading this story I felt like I was sitting beside Bug listening to him tell me about his life. You learn his biggest mistakes, his biggest fears, and his biggest achievements. Nothing is left in question about who Bug is as a person and at the end of the day it’s his genuineness that makes this book unforgettable. You truly feel exactly how Bug feels throughout the entire book.

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BLACKTOP WASTELAND is written with a pacing to match Bug’s getaway driving! This is one action packed story that continually delivers in heart pounding moments the more you read. I never once wanted to put this book down. BLACKTOP WASTELAND feels as if a screenplay has come to life in your hands the way the action unfolds. It grips you from the first moment until the very last. 

Cosby has truly accomplished what I would consider to be a perfect book with BLACKTOP WASTELAND. There was action, depth, and darkness, but what makes it standout is the emotional depths that Cosby explores. This book brought me to tears multiple times, but it was the ending that left me sobbing with a heavy heart and yet extremely hopeful. I blinked and Bug had stolen my heart. Cosby made me care about him on another level than I usually connect with characters. Perhaps it’s how genuine Bug is or how Cosby doesn’t shy away from digging into the realities of life in America. Perhaps it’s simply the humanity that pours from these pages and transcends the book past crime fiction and into a work of fiction based in reality.

At the end of the day…just read it. Read this book. Then tell your friends and family to read it. Tell a stranger on the internet to read it. Tell everyone one to read it.


This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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