Ike is a black ex-con who is on the straight and narrow path, living respectably as the owner of a landscaping business. Buddy Lee is white, a racist ex-con who seeks escape in the bottle.
They have little in common except as fathers to their gay sons, Derek and Isaiah, who were married. Their sons were viciously murdered, execution style, leaving behind their 3-year-old daughter Arianna.
When the case grows cold, Ike and Buddy Lee band together to seek vengeance for their sons’ murder. It’s too late to atone for their homophobia and their failures as fathers, but they can avenge their sons’ deaths.
As they travel a path to learn what happened to their sons, they both embark on a journey of introspection and inner growth. They have many discussions about racism, sexuality, prejudice and regrets for the past. Witty dialogue and pithy one-liners balance the heavy themes.
You will need a strong stomach for this one. The violence is graphic, often sickeningly so, and the body count is high. The conversations between Buddy and Ike sometimes sound like a “woke” monologue, and many of the characters are stereotypical, but I appreciated that the author tackled prejudice and LGBQT themes in such a unique way. I loved Ike and Buddy Lee’s redemptive journey from prejudice to love. Ike and Buddy Lee are anti-heroes whose methods can’t be condoned, but whose hearts are in the right places. Finally.
*This was a buddy read with Marialyce, and while we both enjoyed the book we both viewed the telling of the story differently. Do check out her review!
*The audiobook was flawlessly narrated by Adam Lazarre-White.
*I received a digital audio for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
It’s hard to go to a place where our senses are not bombarded with violent images. We find it in our movies, our games, our books, and in our lives on a daily basis.
In the book, Razorblade Tears, there is much violence. It’s an integral part of the story as two fathers brought together because of the murder of their sons are on a mission to find the people responsible. The sons, Issiah and Dereck, one black the other white are married to one another. The fathers, Ike and Buddy Lee, vow to find the killer/killers and vow to being their own type of justice to the people who so viciously murdered their sons. Both of these men know how to be killers themselves as they both had served time and were no neophytes in the world, they were willing to enter.
The themes of this book dealt with the learning curve the men went through, with initially no acceptance of their sons’ sexual choices. It also showed the dichotomy of one man, Ike, seeming to grow out of the environment that put him into prison to a successful business owner. The other father, Buddy Lee, didn’t follow the same trajectory. He crashed and burned so many times, become a drunk living in a rundown trailer. Some might refer to him as white trailer trash. They were people who never would have foreseen a union and friendship form between them and yet given the mission they are on, they found unity in their strength.
There is an enormous amount of violence, and the author does revel in its depiction. He also inserts much of the topics of today, homosexuality, transgenderism, and race. It is a sharp look at these topics and the writing he placed upon the pages of this book is shattering, gritty, and in your face. His book is a definite figurative punch to the gut. I found I could just take so much and needed to put it aside for a while.
I have read the author’s Blacktop Wasteland which was powerful but this one often made me cringe at times with the amount of violence portrayed.
I did think it was of a high caliber because of the amazing writing, but can see why this book might not be for everyone. However, it is definitely a book of forgiveness, acceptance, and redemption.
This author is definitely one I would have on my must read list and do recommend this story most highly.