Blacktop Wasteland

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I really enjoyed this book. It's as if the author, S. A. Cosby, took an advanced course titled "How to Write a Crime Novel That Paul Will Like a Lot". A little heavy on the tear-jerking sentimentality and there's one big Dickensian coincidence, but those things are easy to forgive, when you get up-to-date Chandlerisms like:

The way he stared at him made Ronnie's balls climb up somewhere around his ears.

The likeable, flawed protagonist is Beauregard Montage, an ex-criminal trying desperately to go straight, running his Virginia garage in the face of competition from the upstart discount oil-changer nearby. He feels the financial walls closing in on him and his family. He's worried about how his daddy's crooked genes are influencing his proclivities toward violence and illegality; and he's worried if those traits will be passed down to his boys. But (on the other hand) he is a gifted getaway driver, and he has access to vehicles that can outperform any cop in pursuit…

So, should he take the offer of One Last Job, one that will save him financially? Wouldn't be a very interesting book if he didn't.

But it soon becomes obvious that this was a bad call. His partners in crime are dishonest, stupid, and trigger-happy. Even worse, the jewelry store they knock over is far from respectable; that fortune in uncut diamonds that they steal belongs to a very nasty psychotic crime boss, who has no compunctions about torture and murder to track down Beauregard and his gang. And their families. And anyone else in the way.

I usually schedule my book-reading, N pages per day. But occasionally I'll speed up and devour the last 80 pages or so in one sitting, just to find out how the darn thing ends. This was one of those.

Last Modified 2024-01-09 6:45 PM EDT