Wednesday 1 March 2023



Blacktop Wasteland, a book I can’t recommend highly enough.

SA Cosby is a magician of sorts. An alchemist. He has taken the elements required to create a wonderful story and smelted them back together into a tale that is even greater than the sum of its parts, in a similar way that Bug is able to strip down a car and fill it with secrets in order to make it durable enough and fast enough for whatever terrain is required.

Bug’s a genius. He drives cars better than anyone, with the possible exception of his estranged father. He’s inherited his father’s car, the Duster, and takes it out every now and again to make money in illegal races in which man and machine fuse into one in a way that brings just the right amount of driving excitement for this reader.

Problem for Bug is that circumstances have lined up to form the perfect storm where he needs more cash than he can get hold of. In order to pay mounting bills, he needs to raise the jeopardy. When a heist team that needs a driver gets in touch, it’s a job he can’t afford to turn down and the consequences of that will shake his life and the lives of those who are close to him like the meanest of earthquakes.

It works so well for a lot of reasons, not least because Bug is such a brilliant character. We want it to go well, but know it can’t. Every victory has a loss and sometimes it’s bits of himself that will be eroded. He’s damned if he does and if he doesn’t and isn’t that the core of a great noir story?

I don’t want to say anything else. Sure, I’m late to the party and you’ve probably already been there. If you haven’t, the advice is simple: get some.  

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