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Blacktop Wasteland Is the Intoxicating New Crime Thriller You Need to Read This Summer

Cosby's timely, high-octane heist novel packs a punch.

blacktop wasteland sa cosby

For Beauregard “Bug” Montage, a life on the fringes of the law has lost much of the glamour that he once found so irresistible. After following in his father’s footsteps to become the fastest getaway driver this side of the Mississippi, Bug has since quit the game. Now, he's a hardworking professional mechanic and a family man who's settled down in Red Hill County, Virginia. But danger still lurks on the periphery. An offer comes Bug's way that’s too good to refuse—and threatens to upend everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

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Published on July 14, 2020, Blacktop Wasteland is a bold new addition to crime fiction from one of the genre's brightest stars. S. A. Cosby won an Anthony Award in 2019 for his short story “The Grass Beneath My Feet”—and his third book is his most ambitious yet. Equal parts Southern noir and pulse-pounding heist thriller, Blacktop Wasteland explores the intricacies of rural poverty and social stratification from the perspective of a Black man, all within the framework of a taut crime novel.

Related: 20 Sizzling New Mystery and Thriller Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Summer 

The action roars to life when Bug Montage is approached with an offer to take part in one last hustle: a diamond heist that should set him up for life. As proud as he is of quitting the fast life and making an honest living, Bug has to admit that it hasn’t been easy thus far. If he wants to send his daughter to college, pay for his son’s braces, prevent his mother from being evicted from her nursing home, and keep his auto body business out of the red, he needs to come up with cash, and soon.

If Bug pulls off this heist, he’ll finally be able to get ahead in life—a goal that's long been held just out of his reach by generations of discrimination and poverty. Against his better judgment, Bug finds himself tempted to hop back in the driver’s seat of the Duster, the old racing car that he inherited from his father—a man who was a career criminal by trade, and who vanished into thin air when Bug needed him most.

But troubling questions gnaw at Bug's conscience: The Duster may be fast, but can Bug outrun the same fate that overtook his father? And if the job goes wrong, what kind of legacy will he leave his own children?

Related: 11 Thrilling Southern Noir Books to Read Now That You've Binged Ozark 

S. A. Cosby combines themes of race, class, and masculinity to create an electrifying of-the-moment crime novel that's earned praise from the likes of Lee Child and Walter Mosley. Bug's narrative brims with life, with heartbreak, danger, and deeply felt humanity; indeed, Cosby has described his novel “a character study within the framework of a crime story.” The Boston Globe hailed Blacktop Wasteland as “a beautifully wrought tale” in which “violence-tinged heists, muscle cars, and dead-end poverty in America generate the full-on action and evocative atmosphere.”

Readers of searing crime fiction won’t want to miss this buzzy summer release about a desperate man pushed to his limits, and drawn inexorably back into a life of crime. S. A. Cosby's new book brings the rural South in all its complexity to vivid life. Download Blacktop Wasteland today for a powerful and timely new twist on the noir thriller.

Buckle up: You just found your blistering new read for the summer days ahead. Download Blacktop Wasteland today.

blacktop wasteland hype piece

Blacktop Wasteland

By S. A. Cosby

A husband, a father, a son, a business owner...And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi. S.A. Cosby's novel is “sensationally good—new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart. More than recommended” (Lee Child).

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