Book Review | Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby

Monday, February 6, 2023
Summary: 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 of his father's criminal record. 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.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Thoughts: Honestly, this book was much better than I thought it was going to be. I definitely did not go into this expecting a five star read. But, it was so incredibly good. I read this with Rebecca at Knit by God's Hand, and she gave it five stars, as well.

Ike and Buddy Lee have the best character development. They both start out as extremely homophobic, even though they both had gay sons. The death of their sons (who were married to each other) bring them together in an unexpected way. When the cops can't find out who killed them, Ike and Buddy Lee join forces to find out for themselves.

Both Ike and Buddy Lee have a criminal history, so they know what they are risking by investigating their sons' murders. They are all in, though, because they want to know what happened. They both have skills and connections that can help them from their criminal pasts.

Buddy Lee doesn't realize it, but he is extremely racist. This comes through in a lot of the comments he makes to Ike. Finally, Ike calls him out and they have a conversation about how Buddy Lee never realized because these same comments/jokes were told by his grandfather and he never thought his grandfather was a bad person.

Both of them encounter several LGBTQ+ people throughout their investigation, and though both of them are homophobic and don't understand this "life choice," eventually both of them start to come around and be more accepting.

There are two twists in this book (both in the same chapter) that I did not see coming. One is what Buddy Lee did to convince Ike to start investigating the murders. The other is who put out the hit on Derek and Isiah. The person who put out the hit was kind of expected. I didn't totally see it coming, but I had considered it. But, never in a million years did I think Buddy Lee would have been behind what he did (I don't want to spoil it!).

There is a lot of violence in this book, so keep that in mind if you want to read it. I personally think the ending was great. Buddy Lee thinks of Ike as a brother. Ike is accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, even hiring a transgender women to work in his shop. I really liked that they both were changed and more accepting by the end.

Highly recommend this book. It talks a lot about racism and homophobia. Ike talks about a lot of the stuff he has to face as a black man, specifically a black man with a criminal history. We learn about the LGBTQ+ community a bit and the troubles they face in society as well.

Probably the best read of the year so far. I can't wait to read more books by this author.

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