Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby [8/10]

Razor Blade Tears” is a classic revenge crime novel overlaid with modern twists and executed with such panache that it stands out as memorable. When a gay couple in Richmond, Virginia, is gunned down gratuitously, seemingly without motive, the two fathers, both ex cons, one black, one white, find themselves uniting to exact bloody justice. The sinuous plot is masterfully unfurled, the hardscrabble settings come to life on the page, and the dialogue sparkles with noir flourishes, but the heart of Razor Blade Tears is the examination of the motives and prejudices of the fathers. Neither a good man in the classic sense, both twisted up with hatreds and regrets, together they carve out a joint, monumentally bloody path to redemption. The author lays down lyrical, hardboiled prose, especially powerful during the many Kill-Bill-style action scenes. I came to this marvelous novel cold, having read neither of the author’s prior two novels, but I am heading back to them right now.

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