Monday, August 3, 2020

Boswell events - S.A. Cosby of Blacktop Wasteland in conversation with Carole E Barrowman, plus next Monday's launch of The Very Last Leaf from Stef Wade

Tuesday, August 4, 7:00 pm
S.A. Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland
in conversation with Carole E Barrowman for a virtual event

Sometimes we pitch for great events, sometimes we chase them without an official pitch opportunity, and sometimes they fall in our lap. When the publisher put out a query for event proposals for S.A. (Shawn!) Cosby, we made one, and like most of the time, especially before the age of coronavirus, we did one without a read. Sure the buzz on Blacktop Wasteland was good - Lee Child called the book "Sensationally good—new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart. More than recommended" while Dennis Lehane offers this praise: "Blacktop Wasteland is an urgent, timely, pitch-perfect jolt of American noir. S. A. Cosby is a welcome, refreshing new voice in crime literature.” But wait, what about Walter Mosley? He offers: "Diamonds and fast cars, trailer park dreams and late night illegal street racing, S. A. Cosby reinvents the American crime novel. Black and white with bills unpaid and no exit in sight, his characters feel the pull of family and swagger with the melancholy ache of wanting to be someone. Blacktop Wasteland thrums and races—it’s an intoxicating thrill of a ride.”

We love it too. Here's Chris Lee's rec: "Here’s one where you can believe the hype - Cosby’s penned a heist novel that just might have stolen my heart. Our hero’s a Carolina wheelman who’s put his criminal past just far enough behind him to maybe nod and wave hello to polite society when he passes it across the street. Indeed, Blacktop Wasteland is an ode to country people living around the edges of legal who desperately want to be anything other than poor nobodies. The way Cosby uses language in this book, oh my lord. He’s not just got perfect pitch for dialogue; this novel is stuffed full of more knee slappers and Southernisms than my Granddad could carry in a poke (look it up). There’s just enough a hard man’s gotta do… swagger to please the toughest thriller though guys, and when it comes to American muscle screeching down highways and scrambling through back roads, you know Cosby’s got some high-flying surprises for you. What I like best is when a plan goes south and our hero’s got nothing left but his wits to get a step ahead of disaster, and between cartoon-dumb redneck accomplices and slicker-than-snakes backroom kingpins, every plan in this book gets a tool chest of wrenches thrown in it. Okay, here’s your car metaphor: the rest of this year’s thrillers look like sad little Pintos puttering along in the dust of Cosby’s ‘69 Camero." 

Gabino Iglesias offered this take on the NPR website: "Racial tension is at the core of Blacktop Wasteland. Cosby, a Black man from southeastern Virginia, knows racism well. He understands what it means to be Black in places where things like the use of the Confederate flag (which comes up in the novel) are still being debated today. This knowledge, and the heartfelt way in which Cosby writes about being the other now as well as historically, make Blacktop Wasteland the kind of book that should be part of every conversation about why we need diverse books."

And here's another fan, Carole E. Barrowman, the Journal Sentinel, Star Tribune, and Morning Blend. Barrowman, who is also a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Alverno College, is a big fan and will be in conversation with Cosby at Boswell on August 4, 7 pm. She teaches a seminar on the art of mystery - wouldn't you love to audit that class? Broadcast via Zoom, you can register for this event right here! And don't forget, Blacktop Wasteland is on sale for 20% off the list price through at least August 10.

Coming next Monday, August 10, 4:30 pm
Stef Wade, author of The Very Last Leaf
A virtual launch party

Milwaukee children’s book author Stef Wade virtually visits for a launch celebration of her latest picture book that asks, how do leaves know when it’s time to fall?Broadcast via Zoom, registration will be required. Here's the link, so click it to register! And purchase your copy of The Very Last Leaf from us for 20% off list price, through at least August 17.

Lance Cottonwood is the best and brightest of the leaves, but even the top students on the tree have worries. Can Lance conquer his fear of falling and just let go when the time comes for his final exam, or will he let his worries take over? This funny and encouraging picture book tells an engaging story and deftly addresses social and emotional struggles many kids encounter each day. These delightful characters and rich autumnal colors make a perfect book for any period of transition in life. Kirkus calls the illustrations charming and says The Very Last Leaf is “a reassuring story that should leave readers feeling a bit more self-confident.”

Stef Wade is co-creator and writer for the former cooking and home blog Haute Apple Pie. She is author of A Place for Pluto. A graduate of Marquette and DePaul Universities, she is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

More on the Boswell Upcoming Events page. And don't forget that you can watch previous events on our virtual author conversation page.

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