Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Cosby: Gritty, Grimy, Glorious

Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Cosby, is a gritty, grimy, glorious crime novel, with a side of social commentary, and with a pretty inventive premise: Two ex cons, one Black, one White, team up to avenge the murder of their sons...who happened to be married to each other. The sons were both estranged from their fathers because their dads were less-than-accepting of them being gay. 

So this starts out as a buddy drama, but decidedly without the buddy. These two guys, Ike and Buddy Lee, have to overcome their aversion to each other before they can make any meaningful progress in finding out who killed their sons. Buddy Lee is your typical Southern Virginia hard-drinking, trailer-living, good 'ole boy — a smart ass with some less than modern views on race relations. Ike has turned his life around after a long stint in prison, started a landscaping company, and is now living the straight and narrow...if nearly completely humorless.

The only thing these two tough guys really have in common, other than each doing jail time, is that neither of their sons much liked them. But they agree to team up to honor their memory as they start to realize that maybe them not accepting their sons as they were may have contributed to their deaths. 

As they get into their own investigation, they run afoul of a murderous motorcycle gang with pretty obvious connections to the murder. The cat and mouse game begins, and the key becomes a missing woman named Tangerine who holds not just the answer to who killed their sons, but also has a secret that could destroy many other lives.

This has everything you want in a crime novel: Breakneck pace, over-the-top violence, wise cracking ex-cons with hearts of golds, some obvious plot holes and convenient coincidences (what crime novel doesn't?!), a motorcycle gang, and so much more. I loved it. I don't dip into crime fiction too frequently, but this one landed just right.

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