Blacktop Wasteland - C.A. Cosby


“Listen, when you’re a black man in America you live with the weight of people’s low expectations on your back every day. They can crush you right down to the goddamn ground. Think about it like it’s a race. Everybody else has a head start and you dragging those low expectations behind you. Choices give you freedom from those expectations. Allows you to cut ’em loose. Because that’s what freedom is. Being able to let things go.

This book is a fast read. The synopsis compares this to Ocean Eleven. I’d also add that the action is as good as some Jack Reacher novels.

The book's opening defines the main character and his love for driving.

The story is simple. A race car driver is forced to take part in a heist to save his family.

Beauregard has a strong family that loves each other. He has given up on his past life of crime. However, he is against the wall and needs the money to support his family, causing him to return to crime.

“You know, I used to think of myself as two people. Sometimes I was Bug and sometimes I was Beauregard. Beauregard had a wife and children. He ran a business and went to school plays. Bug … well, Bug, he robbed banks and armored cars. He drove 100 miles per hour on hairpin curves. Bug threw the people who killed his cousin in a car crusher. I tried to keep them apart, Beauregard and Bug. But my Daddy was right. You can’t be two types of beasts. Eventually one of the beasts gets loose and wrecks shop. Rips shit all to Hell,” he said.

The details of the cars, the races, the chases, and their mechanics were fun and enjoyable to listen to, even though I am not a gearhead.

The twist and the double cross towards the end of the book were not entirely a surprise to me.

Ultimately, Beauregard’s decision not to follow in his father’s footsteps was awesome and what defined this book for me.

There are many (many!!) memorable one-liners in this book.

When he started the car, the engine sounded like a pride of angry lions. He tapped the gas a few times. The lions became dragons.

The car shivered like a wolf shaking its pelt.

He didn’t really dwell on it too much. A mistake is a lesson, unless you make the same mistake twice.

Her cancer done slowed down but she still smoking like she got a bad ring in her engine,” Beauregard said.

“No. Your name. What your mama calls you when she mad at you,” Beauregard said.

You gotta drive like don’t nothing else matter except getting to that line. Drive like you fucking stole it.

Explanations were like assholes. Everyone has one and they are all full of shit.

destined to lose because the game was rigged, and the points didn’t matter.

He would sweet-talk her until she had Type 2 diabetes if he had to, but he couldn’t let her back out.

His Mama had spent her life watching Sunday morning televangelists and throwing enough salt over her shoulder to season a full-grown hog.

The thing about loving someone was that they knew all your pressure points. They knew all the spots that were open and raw. You let them into your heart and they cased the place.

The guns are just tools. Tools break. Tools get lost. Don’t get attached to them,” Beauregard said.

“People want you to put up with something for a lifetime they wouldn’t put up with for five minutes. I’ll be damned if I’m doing that.

“Quan ain’t gotta like it. Revolvers don’t leave behind shell casings. And if you need more than six shots you in the wrong line of work,” Beauregard said.

The mountain of bills on the desk had gotten higher. It was like financial plate tectonics.

He wasn’t robbing Peter to pay Paul. They had both ganged up on him and were mugging him.

Beauregard noticed the child locks were engaged….. see that plan was going to be foiled by well-meaning consumer advocates.

“It ain’t chess. It’s more like playing with a train set. We gonna put them on the same track and let them run into each other,” Beauregard said.