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Publisher's Summary

"Narrator Adam Lazarre-White's voice exudes confidence and depth; his performance is an example of how the best audiobooks deliver pure storytelling." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)

A husband, a father, a son, a business owner...and the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi. 

This program includes a bonus conversation with the author.

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hardworking dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: Known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast. He thought he'd left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. 

When a smooth-talking former associate comes calling with a can't-miss jewelry store heist, Bug feels he has no choice but to get back in the driver's seat. And Bug is at his best where the scent of gasoline mixes with the smell of fear. 

Haunted by the ghost of who he used to be and the father who disappeared when he needed him most, Bug must find a way to navigate this blacktop wasteland...or die trying. 

Like Ocean’s Eleven meets Drive, with a Southern noir twist, S. A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race, and his own former life of crime. 

Amazon.com Best Books of the Year - 2020

Library Journal Best Books of the Year - 2020

NPR Best Book of the Year - 2020

New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year - 2020

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books 

“Sensationally good - new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart. More than recommended.” (Lee Child) 

"A fast-paced, fresh take on noir that tears through the underbelly of Virginia." (New York Times

Blacktop Wasteland is a guaranteed thriller-of-the-year with muscle and heart and characters who will linger long after the last page is read. S.A. Cosby writes with grit and grace. Do not miss this one.” (Michael Koryta, best-selling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead)

©2020 Shawn A. Cosby (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Adam Lazarre-White's voice exudes confidence and depth; his performance is an example of how the best audiobooks deliver pure storytelling." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)

Featured Article: Outstanding Black Authors Across Various Genres and Styles


Stories have the power not only to transport us, but to allow us to connect, understand, and feel represented. The work of phenomenal Black authors—like those featured in this list—has expanded the ambition, scope, and perspective of storytelling. These must-hear titles from some of the best Black authors of all time are also indisputably some of the most remarkable works of literature in both the contemporary and historical canon.

What listeners say about Blacktop Wasteland

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  • Overall
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Fantastic All Around

I won't even write a narrator review, simply because Adam Lazare-White perfectly fit this role, and he was absolutely incredible!

I don't know if it's accurate to call BLACKTOP WASTELAND S.A. Cosby's a debut, but if so, this is one of the best debut novels I've ever read. I haven't enjoyed a new author like this since I read Jack Carr's THE TERMINAL LIST.

Beauregard "Bug" is an amazing character. He's not only incredibly dynamic, but it feels like you literally see the character develop right before your eyes. This book felt like a biography or memoir, and it was so real.

This novel kept the petal to the floor - figuratively and literally. I steered through this book in one day. It flew by just like the asphalt underneath Bug. This book has accelerated to then top of my 2020 Reading List as one of my favorites, and it will be one of those books I plan to revisit again and again. It was captivating and was a non-stop thrill ride. Okay, enough with the puns.

Fantastic novel! Highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers!

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Decent crime novel

The story and characters are fine -- not fantastic but certainly not lacking. However, the writing is really strained. I was tired of the terrible similes about 5 minutes in (seriously, in the first few pages parts of the car are described as being like a cat, like an eagle, like a lion, like a dragon... etc.) and they never seem to end, seemingly minute after minute like waves breaking on the shore -- but they don't break, they just lap because none are dynamic -- they're either strained or they're flat; completely uninspired. I literally rolled my eyes at "like zealots..." in chapter 14.

That said, I do think the book is worth a listen and hope my review doesn't scare anyone away, but I really hope Cosby's editor has a thicker blue pencil next time around. One outstanding simile in a book is far better than 300 bad ones.

10 people found this helpful

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Compelling Masterwork

I liked Joe Ide's first novel, IQ. Not so much the successors. Hard for me to believe, but I enjoyed Blacktop Wasteland even more. The books aren't derivative, yet their protagonists in motivation and talents are hauntingly similar. Don't know which came first. Don't care. Although I might have enjoyed IQ less had I read this S.A. Cosby book first.

Adam Lazarre-White's voice feels as compellingly authentic as Cosby's writing. They take me to a place and moment so dramatically... I felt like a witness.

Black Wasteland is a towering crime novel... more importantly it's a greater visit into a bicameral mind that's struggling to pull itself into one whole... struggling to join its understandably fractured pieces. It's also a visit into a culture which generates an ensemble that's simultaneously scary yet logical in its adherence to the rules of survival.

Here's a book that will stay with me written by a master.

6 people found this helpful

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Loved this book!

The narrator was excellent, the story was profound, the characters were fully realized and I simply loved this book! Listen! Now!

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent Read

Powerful all the way to the end. Hope this will be a series or at least a second book. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Beauregard's life.

6 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal!

outstanding book! I couldn't put it down, couldn't stop listening to it. the characters are so real and visceral. cannot recommend this book highly enough!

5 people found this helpful

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Southern rural gangster noir

Action: Gritty, fast-paced, and completely absorbing.

Characters: Predictable, maybe a tad dull.

Prose style: Plenty of wry one-liners, like “He was about as useful as a white crayon,” and “The needle on the temperature gauge was so far in the red, it needed to file for bankruptcy.”
The style can be too on-the-nose: “Beauregard’s mind played him scenes from the past like a home movie spliced together from old 8-millimeter reels.” and “Moths danced around the yellow porch light. Drawn to their death by the same thing that fascinated them.”

4 people found this helpful

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Gripping

Red clay, white lines, black hearts. Gripping story that races from the first page. The narrator and characters make this poverty-soaked story oh so rich.

4 people found this helpful

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very well written, dynamic

Although not my typical subject matter i was rapt from the beginning and really cared about the characters
Terrific read.

4 people found this helpful

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Needed this one

So glad to have come across this one, it really snapped me out of the doldrums

4 people found this helpful