It has been fifteen years since Ike Randolph walked out of Coldwater State Penitentiary. He changed his life and built a business. He has a good life now, but he is still a black man in America with all that entails. Cops on the doorstep does not bode well.
Their arrival means that his world has changed forever. His son, Isiah Randolph, is dead. Murdered along with his married partner, Derek Jenkins. The son of Buddy Lee Jenkins, who also did time in prison. Neither father, to various levels, ever accepted the fact that his son was gay. Now that each son is dead, each father has to face that reality with so much left unsaid. Each father separated by race and so much more is dealing with a bottomless pit of regret as well as smoldering rage.
As the days turn into weeks, it becomes clear that the police are not finding out who did it. The excuse is that the people who knew Isiah and Derek will not talk to them. That could be true. The fact that they were gay in Virginia might be a factor as well. Maybe law enforcement does not see them as people who matter. It is Buddy Lee that gives voice to the idea that they unite start talking to the folks that knew them on a daily basis and find out who killed their boys. Having given air to the smoldering rage in both men, it is not long before they are putting the skills learned the hard way many years ago to use in the here and now.
United in grief and suppressed rage, the fathers are not at all alike. Their disparity extends far beyond race and class while at the same time each is symbolic of the struggle facing America today. Yet, where it counts, love for the son and what should have been, means they become united in the pursuit to get answers. Answers that will not bring their boys back, but will give them at least some shred of peace. Propelled in a hunt for some sort of justice against the people who killed their sons, each father is forced to confront his bias and far more in Razorblade Tears: A Novel by S.A. Cosby.
This is one of those books that my review does not do justice. I am sure it is going to win a slew of awards. I cannot recommend it enough. It is an incredible book that works on all levels and keeps you thinking and feeling long after the last page.
Make sure you check out Lesa Holstine’s review.
Razorblade Tears: A Novel
S. A. Cosby
Flatiron Books (Macmillan Books)
eBook (also available in audio and hardback)
With Scott’s assistance in making the Libby App work, my eBook reading copy came from the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2021