Thriller Review: RAZORBLADE TEARS by S.A. Cosby

Thriller Review:  RAZORBLADE TEARS by S.A. CosbyRazorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby
Also by this author: Blacktop Wasteland
Published by Flatiron Books on July 6, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.



S.A. Cosby’s high octane crime thriller Blacktop Wasteland was one of my favorite reads of 2020, and as high as my expectations were for his follow up novel, Razorblade Tears, I was pretty sure there was no way he could top Blacktop Wasteland.  I was dead wrong though because Razorblade Tears is one of the most powerful and provocative books I’ve ever read.  It’s a story about loss and grief, revenge and justice, and it’s also a story about regret and about learning from the mistakes of your past.

Set in Virginia, the story follows ex-cons Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee Jenkins.  On the surface it would appear these two men have nothing in common aside from their criminal pasts.  Ike is a Black man who used to run with a gang, while Buddy is, as he refers to himself, redneck, white trash. What these two men do have in common though is their sons, a married gay couple, both of whom were brutally murdered.  What they also have in common is that both men let their homophobia prevent them from having loving relationships with their boys and now they’re filled with regret because they can no longer make things right between them.

Most of the book focuses on Ike and Buddy Lee’s quest to bring their sons’ killers to justice and their road to justice is paved with violence, blood and gore as well as coarse language as Ike and Buddy Lee encounter some pretty rough crowds.  To put it mildly, it’s an intense read that isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s also a fast-paced adrenaline rush that I devoured in a day because I just had to know who was responsible for the murders and whether or not Ike and Buddy Lee would bring them down.

Razorblade Tears, as its name implies, is also a story that is filled with pain, grief and raw emotion and it’s this angle that really took this book to the next level for me. These two fathers know they made terrible mistakes when it came to their sons and how they refused to just love them and accept them for who they were.  Both Ike and Buddy Lee desperately wish they could go back and do things differently.  I enjoyed reading their journey, both as they became unlikely friends bonding over this tragedy and as they both try to learn from their mistakes and become better men. This personal journey of growth made for such an interesting contrast with the gritty violence of their revenge quest.

With Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears, S.A. Cosby has proven he’s a force to be reckoned with in the crime thriller genre.  I highly recommend both books if you’re looking for a powerful read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.


About S.A. Cosby

S. A. Cosby is a writer from Southeastern Virginia. He won the 2019 Anthony Award for Best Short Story for “The Grass Beneath My Feet”, and his previous books include Brotherhood of the Blade and My Darkest Prayer. He resides in Gloucester, Virginia. When not writing, he is an avid hiker and chess player.

26 replies
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, normally I don’t go for violent reads, but the story itself was so good that the violence itself didn’t put me off at all.

  1. trin carl
    trin carl says:

    Wow with the mention of White Trash-I already know this book is going to have a lot of tone, lol. sounds like a great crime thriller. Will it be anything like Janet Evanovich’s work?
    trin carl recently posted…Snow in britain

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Right? Buddy Lee is quite the character, lol. He drove Ike crazy sometimes but I found him comical at times even though the story itself was so tragic. The only Janet Evanovich books I’ve read are the Stephanie Plum books and this book is definitely not at all like those.

  2. sjhigbee
    sjhigbee says:

    Fabulous review, Suzanne! And that title is one of the most disturbing and effective that I’ve come across in a long time. Glad you have enjoyed such a powerful, emotional read. Not for me, particularly right now – but I will mark this one down for happier times:).

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I agree about the title. It’s a pretty powerful image. I thought the same of the title of his last book, Blacktop Wasteland.

  3. verushka
    verushka says:

    The characterisation in this sound AMAZING — I want to know how these two men work together and their bonding over their tragedies.

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