Well, this is a perfect book to review after Blood Sweat and Chrome?
Going by the blurb of Blacktop Wasteland, I had been expecting a crime novel. But this is not really the case. What I got instead was a novel that was one part noir and many many parts most intense car changes I have ever seen committed to the written word. Now I may have made some grammatical clunkers there trying to convey the kind of feel you get from Blacktop Wasteland, but I think it’s necessary.
Beauregard “Bug” Montage is a black mechanic who’s set up shop in Virginia. The man has a bit on his plate; trying to care for the two young sons he has with his current partner, the older daughter he had as a young man, and his very quarrelsome mother, who seems to delight in being difficult just for the sake of it. Bug’s mother does have some reason to be bitter though—Bug’s old man was involved in a lot of car-related criminal activity when he was young, and both she and Bug bore the consequences of Anthony “Ant” Montage’s actions.
Apart from a couple off-the-grid drag races on the side, Bug has been trying to keep his head above water without indulging too much in the way of illegal activity. But living paycheck-to-paycheck is rough. And Bug has a reputation as Art’s son. So when Bug finds himself in a financial ditch, and someone offers him a job as a getaway driver, he feels he has no way of saying no. Unfortunately, Ronnie Sessions and his crew are not as bloody clever as they think they are. And things quickly fly off the rails.
While the narrative here is nuanced—outlining the dilemmas of a man who does not want to fall into the same pattern his father did—the prose is also slick. I’ve mentioned it already, but dear God, all the chase scenes in this novel are very well done and insanely gripping. You can tell that this is both a man on the edge—and a man who loves his father and his car. I have never read anything by SA Crosby before, and he has made me sit up and pay attention.
So if you want a thrilling, nuanced novel that all has some insane, jaw-dropping action, Blacktop Wasteland is worth picking up
And thanks again to Ms Was for sending this along. I don’t know if this book would have crossed my path otherwise!
(And, I think this is me done for the year—knocking off for 2022~)