Razorblade Tears

Flatiron. Jul. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781250252708. $26.99. M
On the surface, the only thing Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee Jenkins have in common is that they’re both ex-cons. Ike, who’s Black, has changed his life since leaving prison and now owns a successful landscaping business. Buddy Lee, who’s white, is still a good ol’ boy who drinks heavily and runs around. When Ike’s and Buddy’s sons married each other, both fathers rejected them. That was before someone shot Isiah and Derek dead in Richmond, VA, in what appeared to be a targeted attack. When Isiah and Derek’s tombstone is vandalized, Ike wants revenge. He teams up with Buddy Lee, and they plan to have one violent confrontation with the murderer. Instead, the fathers learn that someone with powerful connections is behind the murders. Over the course of their violent spree, Ike and Buddy are forced to uncover their own feelings of grief, pain, and failure when it came to their relationships with their sons.
VERDICT Cosby follows his award-nominated Blacktop Wasteland (an LJ Best Mystery selection for 2020) with another stand-alone mystery that’s already been optioned for a film. His story of fathers and sons, of men learning to respect others’ lives, has an unexpected depth for such a violent, confrontational book. This powerful book should be in every library.
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