Audiobook review: Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Two of my takeaways, after finishing this book: I need to read more books by Cosby and Razorblade Tears should be a movie.

What it’s about

From the Goodreads description:

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.

My thoughts

I was a little blown away by just how much I loved this book. I definitely don’t gravitate toward crime thrillers, but I am so glad I requested this one on NetGalley.

Razorblade Tears is a John Wick-esque, ultra violent, action-packed revenge story. It’s chock full of uncomfortableness—racism, sexism, homophobia, hate—and it’s very gritty and a lot gory. It’s also a brilliantly written story about love and family, and a quite successful tale of redemption. I was on the edge of my seat, anxious, and infuriated in equal parts through most of this book. Ike and Buddy Lee are neither one relatable characters for me and their methods are pure insanity, but I felt so much for both of them and was rooting for them all the way.

This is my first experience with S.A. Cosby’s work and I just love the style. Cosby doesn’t add filler and fluff, but his prose is anything but stark. Intelligent, descriptive writing and an amazing knack for making complicated, scary characters compelling.

The audiobook is superbly narrated by Adam Lazarre-White. This was my first book with him reading, and I’m thrilled to see that he also narrates Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland, as I plan to listen to more by both author and narrator.

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for my copy in exchange for this honest review.


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