What a ride!
This gritty crime novel had me wrapped up in the life of Beauregard Montage and his family. I felt bad for Beau, whose father left him a legacy of failed criminal, failed father, and a fondness for driving fast cars.
Beauregard’s auto repair shop is super slow thanks to the new place down the street, and his bills are piling up. His mom’s in a nursing home and his son needs braces. His daughter from a previous relationship is trying to go to college and that costs money too. His vows to live an above board life are now paling in the light of burgeoning responsibilities. His wife thinks he should sell his souped-up Plymouth Duster, but he won’t because that’s the only part of his dad he has left. He decides to do one more “job.” You know, just this one time only, to help he and his family get over this financial hump. I think we all know how that turns out.
I loved this book, I loved the characters, even the ones I hated, and I was pulling for Beauregard. I’m not sure why, exactly, but I know that he loved his family and he was going to do his best for them, no matter what. (I will admit to admiring his devious mind and his prodigious driving skills.)
I also very much enjoyed the word play and similes that popped up throughout. At one point, Beau’s bill pile was growing so much that it was described as financial tectonic plate movement. I laughed out loud at that one, because who hasn’t been there? It’s a perfect and vivid description that I could immediately relate to while still being succinct.
For me, personally, this book brought me back to when I was about 8-10 years old. I was a daddy’s girl and sometimes on Saturdays my dad brought me down to my uncle’s auto repair shop while he worked on a car or two. (It was either the repair shop or the pool hall, where I’d rack them up for Shirley Temples and Pacman money, but that’s another story.) My dad instilled in me a love for American Muscle cars, (as long as they weren’t Fords), and I harbor that love to this very day.
I was on the edge of my seat until the very end of this tale; the suspense was palpable, and I had to stop what I was doing and listen to the last half hour with no interruptions. The narrator, Adam Lazarre-White, had me captivated with his deep voice and I just could not pull myself away until it was all over. The Audible version of Blacktop Wasteland has a bonus short interview with the author at the end, which I enjoyed hearing.
Highly recommended, especially to fans of gritty crime novels!
*I purchased this audio with my hard-earned cash and this is my honest opinion.*