As I started Razorblade Tears I decided not to learn anything about the author until I finished the book.
Initials preserve anonymity. As I read I asked myself - Is S.A. a man or a woman? Is S.A. white or Black? Is S.A. LGBTQ?
Through the book I debated these questions in my head but resolutely would not find out the answers until done.
Is S.A. a man or a woman?
Until recently I would have assumed a woman by the use of initials for I had read numerous women writers who concealed their gender on covers by initials. It is no longer, if it ever was, a valid assumption. A very recent example of a male author using initials is Canadian author, J.T. Simens, who is Jeremy Siemens.
Another assumption leading me to think Cosby was a man is the level of violence. I have found few women have a high body count in their crime fiction. In a quick run through of the 1,125 books I have read over the past 22 years I found only 3 women authors with books have a high violence quotient - Cara Black, Janet Evanovich writing with Steve Hamilton (The Bounty) and Mo Hayder.
With the leading characters being men my first thought is that the author is male. It is not strong reasoning but I think of authors usually featuring their own gender.
In reading I felt S.A. was a man. Cosby created vivid characters in Ike and Buddy Lee. They were very convincing men. I could not provide good reasons but I thought Cosby was male.
Is S.A. white or Black?
S.A. knows the languages of white and Black Americans.
Whether it was Ike or Buddy Lee their voices felt authentic to me.
As I was reading I realized I thought Cosby was white. Once more it was feeling rather than specifics.
Is S.A. LGBTQ?
On orientation I initially thought LGBTQ as S.A. so vividly describes the turmoil of gay men with fathers who resent they are gay. On further reflection I thought straight as S.A. understands Ike and Buddy Lee’s homophobia. Yet additional reflection left me more uncertain.
I have terrible gaydar.. I am continually surprised by who is straight and who is LGBTQ.
I never developed a conclusion on orientation for Cosby.
After completing the book I looked to the author photo and the short bio on the cover and a New York Times article on Cosby.S. (Shawn) A. Cosby is a man. Shawn is Black. His wife is Kimberly Redmond Cosby.
Cosby, S.A. - (2022) - Razorblade Tears