Review: Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby

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Rating: 9.5/10

Synopsis

A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance.

Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.

The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.

Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.

Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.

Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby’s Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change – and maybe even redemption.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reader copy of Razorblade Tears for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

I wasn’t sure Cosby could top Blacktop Wasteland, but Razorblade Tears took everything that was great about his previous and added a massive amount of heart, tenderness, and love to go along with all of the grit and hard-nosed violence to make this one of the best novels I’ve read in 2021. This cements Cosby as a must-read in contemporary fiction.

I’m finding myself lacking for words again like I did with Blacktop Wasteland. I finished and felt extremely satisfied with the read, but words just completely fail me when I need them the most. It is a read that is self-contained and ends perfectly. Cosby takes two (2) men with checkered pasts, teams them up for a pedal-to-the-metal thrill-ride, and doesn’t care about the path strode to get there.

It is a story about past regrets that can never be absolved. It isn’t until Isiah and Derek have died that Ike and Buddy Lee realize just how much they have lost, especially considering the aversion they both had to their sons’ lifestyles. It also doesn’t help that both of them spent time behind bars, leading to further embarrassment to their sons. Sort of a “don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone” and now will forever be marred by what could have been.

While Ike and Buddy Lee are a couple of the biggest anti-heroes you’ll find in fiction, you can’t help but root for them from the very beginning. There is just so much honesty there with how much they regret their relationships, but still cannot overcome who they really are inside… it cuts deep. This is what I like most about Cosby’s writing. Characters. Man, can he write them so well and have me wanting revenge just as badly.

Also, Macmillan Audio. Keep Adam Lazarre-White for every single one of Cosby’s novels. He is 2 for 2 in my book as PERFECTION in narration.

If you enjoyed Blacktop Wasteland, this is an auto-buy in my opinion. If you haven’t, well, from the time you read this review, you have less than a month to rectify that as well as preordering Razorblade Tears. If you enjoy crime fiction, Cosby tops the list.

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