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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.
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."