Also by this author: Blacktop Wasteland
Published by Flatiron Books on July 6, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from 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.