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Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mr Cosby can write. The narrator is tailor made.

Everyone should read this, and listen.
The film version of this would just work, even with the obligatory tweaks for flow; but as a novel, it flows just fine.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story and well read. I binge listened!

I sometimes struggle to concentrate on an audiobook, but this was really good. A great story and the narration was excellent. Highly recommended.

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  • Adamnan
  • 23-07-2020

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Bella A
  • 27-01-2021

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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  • Domino
  • 19-11-2020

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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  • Olan Spears
  • 23-03-2021

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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  • Miss C L Atcheson
  • 11-02-2021

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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  • Mustafa Marwan
  • 14-01-2021

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-10-2020

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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  • W.Fenlon
  • 06-10-2020

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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  • Osmium12
  • 29-09-2020

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

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  • Wynne Kelly
  • 18-09-2020

A terrific read.....

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is known in some circles as the best getaway driver for miles around. He is now retired and leading a good life and trying to provide for his family. But events beyond his control have caused him some serious financial losses.

Just “one last job” would see him right. A jewellery store is ripe for the picking and all Bug has to do is drive the car. So the gang sets off, they hold up the store and take the diamonds. Everything goes to plan and they escape without a hitch. So Bug is able to pay off his debts and return to an honest living. NO!! Of course, this is not what happened. Bug carried out his part of the deal but greed and stupidity gets in the way of his companions. The repercussions are enormous and threaten the very people he has hoped to protect.

This was a compelling story – fast and furious – and one of m best crime thrillers of the year. The plot device of “one last heist” is far from new but Cosby writes with urgency and originality and we are cheering Bug along until the end. A terrific read.

This worked well as an audiobook - although I thought the reader was a little ponderous and slow.

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