We didn't even have to have a debate.
Blacktop Wasteland was the book of the year for us at Fountain.
It checks all the boxes: gripping, meaningful, told in a truly original voice.
Bonus: he's a Virginia author!
Congratulations to S.A. Cosby and Flatiron Books!
About Blacktop Wasteland:
A gritty, voice-driven thriller about a former getaway driver who thought he had escaped the criminal life who is pulled back in by race, poverty, and his own former life of crime. Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a man with many different titles: husband, father, friend, honest car mechanic. But before he gave it up, Bug used to be known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best Wheel Man on the East Coast. After a series of financial calamities, Bug feels he has no choice but to take one final job as the getaway driver for a daring diamond heist that could solve all his money troubles and allow him to go straight once and for all. Like "Ocean's Eleven" meets "Drive" (but with a mostly black cast of characters), Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of sons living up (or down) to their fathers; of a heist gone sideways; of a man ground down by economic desperation; of fast cars and daring chases and identity and love.
Praise for Blacktop Wasteland:
"A fast-paced, fresh take on noir that tears through the underbelly of Virginia." —New York Times
"One of the year's strongest novels. The noir story quickly accelerates and doesn't lose speed until it careens to its finale. It's a look at race, responsibility, parenthood and identity via pin-perfect characters with realistic motives. Cosby invests Blacktop Wasteland with emotion while delivering a solid thriller." —Sun Sentinel
"I loved Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby. The epigram tells you all you need to know about this fast-paced, bareknuckle thriller: 'Drive it like you stole it." —Stephen King
"The year's most celebrated crime novel, and with good reason. It's a soaring, deeply felt, deeply propulsive tale written by an author coming into his full powers...Cosby writes beautifully of the sensations and memories that drive Bug through the night and down the empty roads toward his old life. Dread and excitement combine to create a unique sense of atmosphere, one that will keep readers pushing ahead toward a genuinely powerful conclusion." —CrimeReads The Best Novels of 2020
"The noir story brilliantly looks at race, responsibility, parenthood and identity via pin-perfect characters with realistic motives." —Sun Sentinel, The Best Mystery Books of 2020, #1
"Cosby never misses a note in this high-energy read... A superb work of crime fiction, uncompromisingly noir but deeply human, too, much like Lou Berney's November Road (2018)." —Booklist, starred review
"Blacktop Wasteland is an urgent, timely, pitch-perfect jolt of American noir. S. A. Cosby is a welcome, refreshing new voice in crime literature." —Dennis Lehane, bestselling author of Since We Fell and Mystic River
"Sensationally good--new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart. More than recommended." —Lee Child, bestselling author of Blue Moon
"Cosby's lightning-bright prose powers this magnificent tale of a heist gone wrong and a weary man's attempts to free himself from his past." —Bookpage, Best Books of 2020: Mystery & Suspense, #1 pick
"For fans of: Bullitt, The Fast and the Furious and gritty Elmore Leonard-style noir...[Cosby] never lets up on the gas. The result is a high-octane, white-knuckle thriller that will have readers whipping through the pages at breakneck speed...Cosby's tightfisted prose fuels this story with heart-pumping (and often brutal) action that begs to be adapted for the big screen but never loses its compassionate edge." —Bookpage
"High-octane neo-noir thriller...The gritty, brutal narrative is complemented by the author's sublime use of sensory description and regional imagery. In addition, the epic, jaw-dropping chase sequences that figure prominently are reason alone to read this pedal-to-the-metal but profoundly sorrowful novel. Cosby is definitely a writer to watch." —Publishers Weekly
We're in Elmore Leonard land...Bug's got a conscience not typical of the thriller genre, but other than that, this novel recalls almost perfectly the classic heist thriller in the vein of Richard Stark's Parker novels. It'll go like hot cakes." —Library Journal, starred review
" Unforgettable...Cosby never takes his foot off the accelerator. He's a natural storyteller and a nimble writer. And Cosby works the magic performed by only the best noir scribes: somehow he gets readers to root for the protagonist as he commits a crime." —Shelf Awareness, starred review
"Every once in a while a writer comes along with an incredible voice. Think Elmore Leonard, or Chester Himes. With Blacktop Wasteland, add S. A. Cosby to that list." —Steve Cavanagh, bestselling author of Thirteen
"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, bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead
" Blacktop Wasteland will let the world at large in on what the crime fiction underworld already knows: S. A. Cosby is a major, original talent. Searing, twisted and jaggedly human, this Southern noir heist novel leaves scars." —Jordan Harper, Edgar Award winning author of She Rides Shotgun
A roaring, full-throttle thriller, crackling with tension and charm...Cosby immediately displays a talent for well-tuned action, raising our heart rates and filling our nostrils with odors of gun smoke and burned rubber. But the real draw here is his evocative depiction of rural Virginia and its denizens. Cosby's voice is distinctive, and he plays a sharp-tongued Virgil as we descend into the Hades of bucolic poverty. —The New York Times Book Review
S. A. Cosby is an Anthony Award-winning writer from Southeastern Virginia. He is the bestselling author of Blacktop Wasteland, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and a Goodreads Choice Awards Semifinalist, and the upcoming Razorblade Tears. When not writing, he is an avid hiker and chess player.