Ike tried to remember a time when men with badges coming to his door early in the morning brought anything other than heartache and misery, but try as he might nothing came to mind.
The two men stood side by side on the small concrete landing of his front step with their hands on their belts near their badges and their guns. The relentless June sun made the badges glimmer like gold nuggets. The two cops were a study in contrast. One was tall but wiry Asian man. He was all sharp angles and hard edges. The other, a florid faced white man, was built like a powerlifter with a massive head sitting atop a wide neck. They both wore white dress shirts with clip-on ties. The powerlifter had sweat stains spreading down from his armpits that vaguely resembled maps of England and Ireland respectively.
Ike’s stomach did turgid somersaults. He was fifteen years removed from Coldwater State penitentiary. He had bucked the recidivism statistics ever since he’d walked out of that festering wound. Not so much as a speeding ticket in all those years. Yet here he was with his tongue dry and the back of his throat burning as the two cops stared down at him. It was bad enough being a Black man in the good ol’ US of A and talking to the cops. You always felt like you were on the edge of some imaginary precipice during any interaction with an officer of the law. If you were an ex-con it felt like the precipice was covered in bacon grease.
“Yes?” Ike said.
“Sir, I’m Detective LaPlata. This is my partner Detective Robbins. May we come in?”
“What for?” Ike asked. LaPlata sighed. It came out low and long like the bottom note in a blues song. Ike tensed. LaPlata glanced at Robbins. Robbins shrugged. LaPlata’s head dipped down then he raised it again. Ike had learned to pick up on body language when he was inside. There was no aggression in their stances. At least not any more than what most cops exuded on a normal twelve-hour shift. The way LaPlata’s head had dropped was almost . . . sad.
“Do you have a son named Isiah Randolph?” he said finally.
That was when he knew. He knew it like he knew when a fight was about to break out in the yard. Like he knew when a crackhead was going to try and stab him for a bag back in the day. Like he knew, just knew in his gut, that his homeboy Luther had seen his last sunset that night he’d gone home with that girl from the Satellite Bar. It was like a sixth sense. A preternatural ability to sense a tragedy seconds before it became a reality.
“What’s happened to my son, Detective LaPlata?” Ike asked, already knowing the answer. Knowing it in his bones. Knowing his life would never be the same.
by S. A. Cosby
A BLACK FATHER. A WHITE FATHER.
TWO MURDERED SONS. A QUEST FOR VENGEANCE.
*SUNDAY TIMES THRILLER OF THE MONTH*
'Superb...Cuts right to the heart of the most important questions of our times.' MICHAEL CONNELLY
'The very definition of a white-knuckle ride' IAN RANKIN
Ike Randolph left jail fifteen years ago, with not so much as a speeding ticket since.
But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.
Ike is devastated to learn his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Though he never fully accepted his son, Ike is broken by his death.
Derek's father Buddy Lee was as ashamed of Derek being gay as Derek was of his father's criminal past. But Buddy Lee - with seedy contacts deep in the underworld - needs to know who killed his only child.
Desperate to do better by them in death than they did in life, two hardened ex-cons must confront their own prejudices about their sons - and each other - as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.
A provocative revenge thriller and an achingly tender story of redemption, this novel is a ferocious portrait of grief; for those loved and lost, and for mistakes than can never truly be undone.
'Cosby's talents for pungent dialogue and Chandler-esque phrase-making were praised in his previous novel,.. and they're evident again in this pulsating follow-up' Sunday Times THRILLER OF THE MONTH
'A stellar performance' Sunday Times Crime Club
'Cosby's prose barrels along like a pick-up still angry it's not a Ferrari, and his phrase-making is up there with the great artists of noir' The Times BEST THRILLERS OF THE MONTH
'It's a rare trick to combine violence with social commentary, but Cosby pulls it off' Daily Mail
'Raw, powerful and pacey, Razorblade Tears more than fulfils the promise of Cosby's superb debut' The Guardian
'This is as close to a thriller masterpiece as it is possible to get...it is a tale of grief and redemption, but ends with a heartbreaking poignancy that brings tears to the eyes' Daily Mail
'Every once in a while a writer comes along with an incredible voice...add S. A. Cosby to that list.' STEVE CAVANAGH
'Utterly brilliant....Beautiful, violent, operatic, relevant, poignant, gripping & important. This book is a mirror. It shows us our world as it is. Masterful' WILL DEAN
Praise for S. A. Cosby:
'Sensationally good' LEE CHILD
'I loved BLACKTOP WASTELAND' STEPHEN KING
'Stunning. Can't remember the last time I read such a powerful crime novel' MARK BILLINGHAM
'S. A. Cosby is a welcome, refreshing new voice in crime literature.' DENNIS LEHANE