“Superb...Cuts right to the heart of the most important questions of our times.” —Michael Connelly,
#1 New York Times bestselling author
“A tour de force – poignant, action-packed, and profound.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance.
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.
Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby's Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change - and maybe even redemption.
“Razorblade Tears is superb. No doubt, S. A. Cosby is not only the future of crime fiction but of any fiction where the words are strong, the characters are strong and the story has a resonance that cuts right to the heart of the most important questions of our times.”
—Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A tour de force – poignant, action-packed, and profound.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Following Blacktop Wasteland was one hell of a challenge, but S. A. Cosby doesn't merely deliver, he ups his game with Razorblade Tears, a story that addresses the big questions while never losing sight of the characters at its core. Taut, tense, and thoughtful, Razorblade Tears confirms Cosby as one of the most important new voices in contemporary fiction, period.”
—Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead
"A powerful blend of pulsing action, sensitive and subtle character interaction, and uncompromising but highly nuanced reflection on racism and homophobia…Few novels marry tough and tender, head-banging and coming-of-age, as seamlessly as this one does, but that's no surprise from a supremely talented writer who keeps getting better.”
—Booklist, starred review
“A lean, mean crime story...Fast on its feet, by turns lethal and tender…This is a bloody good yarn with two compelling antiheroes you’ll root for from the start.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“Simultaneously a contemplative mystery and a stunning thrill ride. A master of his craft, Cosby balances incredibly complicated characters with enveloping suspense and some of the most captivatingly violent scenes that you will ever read…Cosby’s writing is both fearless and sympathetic, exhibiting his formidable intellect alongside vivid imagery, sharp wit and intricate plot lines. Razorblade Tears transcends genre boundaries and is a must-read for anyone looking for a mystery that provokes and thrills in equal measure.”
—BookPage, starred review
“S.A. Cosby blew us away with last year’s searing heist thriller/rural noir Blacktop Wasteland, and with Razorblade Tears he’s done it again. In a heartbreaking tale of love, murder, vengeance, and acceptance, two ex-cons, one Black and one white, team up to find those responsible for the death of their sons, who were married to each other…Shattering and beautiful, this is a must-read for genre and literary fiction fans alike.”
“S. A. Cosby is a once-in-a-generation storyteller — and he's only getting started. In Razorblade Tears, Cosby delivers a jaw-dropping thriller of vengeance, cruelty, and heart. His iconic voice, cinematic prose, and brilliant plotting will have you hearing an 80-piece orchestra at full crescendo as you race towards an ending so explosive, you'll literally duck for cover. This book is far more than a work of art; it's the gold standard.”
—P. J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus
“The mystery community has been raving about Blacktop Wasteland, in my mind, the best novel of last year. Believe it or not, this book is even better...This book is not only an exciting thriller, there is much depth to the writing, as well. Race, LGBT, class structure is all covered here…The plot is totally compelling and the pacing is relentless, overall. I could not put it down...Highly, highly recommended.”
—Deadly Pleasure Magazine
“The very definition of a white-knuckle ride…don’t know when I last read such a bruising book about bruised people.”
—Ian Rankin, New York Times bestselling author
“S. A. Cosby's terrific follow-up to Blacktop Wasteland is another rustic noir centered on a Black man with a checkered past who feels forced to jeopardize his straight-arrow status.”
“Gripping and fast-paced, this is an immensely entertaining read. The laconic protagonists, on a mission to avenge their sons’ murders and make amends for their own shortcomings as fathers, meet some fantastically nasty bad guys, and the results are deeply satisfying. There is a real humanity in the storytelling which elevates this thriller to another league. Highly recommended.”
—Alex George, bestselling author of The Paris Hours
“Graphic, explosive, cinematic story-telling at its finest… Razorblade Tears is crime fiction as raw, gutsy and hardcore as it comes . . . definitely not for the faint of heart… Highly recommended for fans of hardcore crime fiction and great, heartfelt storytelling everywhere.”
“A nuanced take on contemporary race and LGBTQ issues of a type not commonly found in crime fiction. Chalk up another winner to Cosby.”
Praise for Blacktop Wasteland
“A fast-paced, fresh take on noir that tears through the underbelly of Virginia.”
—New York Times
"One of the year's strongest novels. The noir story quickly accelerates and doesn’t lose speed until it careens to its finale. It’s a look at race, responsibility, parenthood and identity via pin-perfect characters with realistic motives. Cosby invests Blacktop Wasteland with emotion while delivering a solid thriller."
“I loved Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby. The epigram tells you all you need to know about this fast-paced, bareknuckle thriller: 'Drive it like you stole it.'”
“Violence-tinged heists, muscle cars, and dead-end poverty in America generate the full-on action and evocative atmosphere in this beautifully wrought tale.”
"S.A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is the buzz book of the summer, and for good reason—this nailbiter of a thriller has everything, including road chases, fast cars, robberies gone south, carefully calibrated underworld shenanigans, standoff after standoff, and some deep family bonds."
“Cosby never misses a note in this high-energy read...A superb work of crime fiction, uncompromisingly noir but deeply human, too, much like Lou Berney's November Road (2018).”
—Booklist, starred review
“Blacktop Wasteland is an urgent, timely, pitch-perfect jolt of American noir. S. A. Cosby is a welcome, refreshing new voice in crime literature.”
—Dennis Lehane, bestselling author of Since We Fell and Mystic River
“Diamonds and fast cars, trailer park dreams and late night illegal street racing, S. A. Cosby reinvents the American crime novel. Black and white with bills unpaid and no exit in sight, his characters feel the pull of family and swagger with the melancholy ache of wanting to be someone. Blacktop Wasteland thrums and races—it’s an intoxicating thrill of a ride.”
—Walter Mosley, bestselling author of Trouble Is What I Do
“Sensationally good—new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart. More than recommended.”
—Lee Child, bestselling author of Blue Moon
“For fans of: Bullitt, The Fast and the Furious and gritty Elmore Leonard-style noir…[Cosby] never lets up on the gas. The result is a high-octane, white-knuckle thriller that will have readers whipping through the pages at breakneck speed…Cosby’s tightfisted prose fuels this story with heart-pumping (and often brutal) action that begs to be adapted for the big screen but never loses its compassionate edge.”
“High-octane neo-noir thriller…The gritty, brutal narrative is complemented by the author’s sublime use of sensory description and regional imagery. In addition, the epic, jaw-dropping chase sequences that figure prominently are reason alone to read this pedal-to-the-metal but profoundly sorrowful novel. Cosby is definitely a writer to watch.”
"Beautifully wrought and worthy of envy...Call shotgun, and then buckle up. Blacktop Wasteland is a ride that will stick with you long after the engine has cooled."
"We're in Elmore Leonard land…Bug's got a conscience not typical of the thriller genre, but other than that, this novel recalls almost perfectly the classic heist thriller in the vein of Richard Stark's "Parker" novels. It'll go like hot cakes.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“It’s fitting Blacktop Wasteland opens with a drag race. This is the literary equivalent of a muscle car—sleek, a little dangerous, and when it kicks into gear, you hold on for dear life. Lucky for you, Cosby is an expert wheelman.”
—Rob Hart, bestselling author of The Warehouse
“Every once in a while a writer comes along with an incredible voice. Think Elmore Leonard, or Chester Himes. With Blacktop Wasteland, add S. A. Cosby to that list.”
—Steve Cavanagh, bestselling author of Thirteen
“Powerful, gritty, and lyrical, S. A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is the unflinching portrayal of a man who’s deeply aware he needs to make a better life for himself and his family, but can’t — or won’t. This story is an emotional gut punch, and you’ll find yourself rooting for Beauregard while he’s ripping your heart out. Cosby is a mesmerizing new voice in crime fiction you won’t soon forget. This is literary noir at its finest.”
—Jennifer Hillier, award-winning author of Jar of Hearts and Little Secrets
“With Blacktop Wasteland, Anthony award-winning author S. A. Cosby cements his position as one of the leading crime fiction voices of his generation. The story crackles with a dynamically flawed main character, vivid description, unexpected reveals and dialogue so real you'd swear you were eavesdropping. I couldn't wait to finish yet never wanted the book to end at the same time. There's no doubt that Cosby is an authentic and much needed voice in today's crime fiction.”
—Kellye Garrett, Anthony, Agatha, and Lefty award-winning author of The Detective by Day series
“This book shook me in the best way possible. Cosby’s gritty, powerhouse novel evokes some of the modern masters - Mosley, Pelecanos, and Lehane - with a tone and vibe that is wholly unique. Epic but also grounded and painfully relevant, Blacktop Wasteland is a crime novel for today, and S. A. Cosby is a writer we’ll be hearing from for quite some time. I loved this book.”
—Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Blackout and Miami Midnight
“Blacktop Wasteland is a guaranteed thriller-of-the-year with muscle and heart and characters who will linger long after the last page is read. S.A. Cosby writes with grit and grace. Do not miss this one.”
—Michael Koryta, bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead
“There is a sweet spot in a vehicle, whether it’s a car or a book, a perfect point of harmony between torque and horsepower or character and plot—Blacktop Wasteland is that sweet spot. S. A. Cosby’s new novel reverberates with a throaty roar, pegging the needles with a welcomed strip of rubber laid down in a silk-scarf, lace-backed driving glove mystery world.”
—Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries
“Buckle up. S. A. Cosby is about to take you on a high-speed spin through the rural black south. Muscle cars, backroads racing, double crossing deals and that elusive big score. Red Hill County is my kind of place!”
—Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Revelators
“Blacktop Wasteland will let the world at large in on what the crime fiction underworld already knows: S. A. Cosby is a major, original talent. Searing, twisted and jaggedly human, this Southern noir heist novel leaves scars.”
—Jordan Harper, Edgar Award winning author of She Rides Shotgun
"A roaring, full-throttle thriller, crackling with tension and charm...Cosby immediately displays a talent for well-tuned action, raising our heart rates and filling our nostrils with odors of gun smoke and burned rubber. But the real draw here is his evocative depiction of rural Virginia and its denizens. Cosby's voice is distinctive, and he plays a sharp-tongued Virgil as we descend into the Hades of bucolic poverty."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A classic, character-driven heist tale that inhabits that world, but delivers heart-pounding entertainment."