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Tony Gentry

Local Noir Author S.A. Cosby – Wow!

Updated: May 17

If you haven’t heard the inspiriting interview with S.A. Cosby on Fresh Air, you’re in for a treat. Somehow had missed this Matthews County author’s rise to fame with a trio of deeply local noir novels, but really appreciated his thoughts on the living history of racial and class struggle in our neck of the woods.

On Friday, in Columbus, OH for a conference, just had to get down to one of my favorite bookstores, The Book Loft in German Village, and while there grabbed Cosby’s 2022 Razorblade Tears. What a dazzling and canny novel, which while launching a catapulting tale of parental vengeance also serves a corrective lesson on race, gender, class, and love. Sweet, too, that he builds that story in our part of Virginia, naming names and driving streets and hitting bars we all know. His brief description of Chesterfield County, where I live, just nails it. Cosby understands, respects, and dissects – with bravura style – the tangled knot of Virginia’s history, as it lives and breathes in our daily lives. Quite literally, I could not put the book down, finishing it at midnight last night, and drifting off to sleep committed to finding and reading everything Cosby has written.

The Fresh Air interview mentions his newest one, next on my book pile: All the Sinners Bleed.

My only caveat, for the squeamish among us: Razorblade Tears is a violent book. Gardening implements are used, shall we say, creatively. Try not to let that hold you back. Cosby is a wise man with a wicked pen, and if you haven’t visited Matthews County and Richmond and its surrounds in his pages, you know less about our Old Dominion than you might.

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