Mysterious Book Report No. 462
by John Dwaine McKenna
There are legions of fiction writers in the world today, who toil diligently at their chosen craft and produce innumerable works that are exciting, memorable and entertaining. They satisfy our need to educate ourselves and explore unfamiliar societies while experiencing another person’s world through their eyes—all from the comfort of our favorite reading nook. But only a few—a mere handful—of those writers however, have the ability to transcend genre and elevate their work into art . . . as they redefine the rules of the category. Razorblade Tears, (Flatiron Books, $26.99, 319 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-25270-8), by S.A. Cosby, is just such a novel. It melds hard-boiled crime fiction together with a gradual acceptance, understanding and compassion by two hard and tough ex-convicts who couldn’t be more different from each other as the story begins.
Ike Randolph, who’s the owner of a successful landscaping and lawn maintenance company, is a hardened ex-con who did an eight-year jolt in the Virginia State Penitentiary for manslaughter . . . and the father of Isaiah Randolph—a gay black man who’s married to Derek Jenkins—a white man, and together, they’re the parents of Arianna, a three-year-old girl. But when Isaiah and Derek are both shot and killed on a downtown Richmond sidewalk, the police don’t seem very enthusiastic or eager to solve the crime. Their lack of progress frustrates Ike, who takes a wait and see attitude and hopes for the best. That’s when he’s approached by Buddy Lee Jenkins, the father of Derek, as well as a self-described redneck and an ex-convict. Buddy Lee is out for vengeance and enlists Ike in his crusade to find justice for their murdered sons. Neither father is sympathetic to gays, the gay lifestyle, or particularly fond of mixed race marriages. But their mission gradually changes from revenge and vengeance, to a journey of understanding and acceptance. And that is what elevates this novel from a simple murder mystery with a twist to something akin to literature. As the pair of ex-convict fathers—who are both stone-cold killers—go about avenging Isaiah and Derek’s murders, they also embark on a voyage of willingness to accept other lifestyles and other people. If you love murder mysteries, hard-boiled crime fiction and stories with a twist . . . take an open-minded look at this terrific story !
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