Two young men, who are deeply in love, married, and fathers to a young girl. Two fathers, who cannot accept their sons as they are nor the life they are creating. Two senseless murders that remove any possibility of reconciliation or the chance to say what should have been said. Two unlikely partners, intent on discovering who killed their sons, and why both of them will stop at nothing to secure vengeance.
In Razorblade Tears, S.A. Crosby follows Ike and Buddy Lee, both ex-convicts and proudly “conventional” men, as they seek the identity of their sons’ killer. The murder took place on a public street, and yet there are no witnesses. None of the victims’ friends will talk with the police. Based on the details given to him by law enforcement, Ike believes this was an execution, but he has no idea why anyone would want these young men dead. Buddy Lee is insistent that Ike join him in finding out who killed their sons. While Ike initially resists, he finally agrees. Neither man is a detective, but both men have been the subject of police investigations. In addition, they are both motivated by what they feel is local law enforcement’s unwillingness or inability to solve the case. However, neither man is ready for where it will take them, or the people they will encounter along the way. As they learn more about the lives their sons were creating and living, they are exposed to perspectives completely outside of their own range of experience. This is also true as Ike, an African American man, and Buddy Lee, a white man, get to know each other. Ike explains systemic racism to Buddy Lee, and how and why the differences in their realities manifest. Buddy Lee attempts to modify his behaviour and provide explanations to Ike for the “knee jerk” reactions he exhibits that are the result of a lifetime of learning and indoctrination. Each man comes from a decidedly different world with the only shared experience being a truth they already knew but never wanted to accept: how little they actually knew the sons whom they had soundly rejected. In some ways, parts of the book could be used as a primer for the underlying issues of both racism and those affecting the LGBTQ community. Part “buddy” book, part mystery, and part thriller, Razorblade Tears combines all of these elements into a compelling read of regret, self-examination and revenge. S.A. Crosby’s new novel is a multifaceted read that will appeal to many different readers.
You can also read the interview with S. A. Crosby here.