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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby

(27. - 1210) - All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby - Titus Crown was surprised when he, a Black man, was elected Sheriff of Charon County in Virginia. The racism of the South is always present. The Sons of the Confederacy are planning a parade in support of a Confederate statue to Ol’ Rebel Joe.

Crown is obsessed with order. His clothes are arranged by colour alphabetically and he is distressed if any of the items on his precisely arranged office desk are moved:

After his mother died when he was thirteen, he became possessed by a desire to give his life structure …. Structure became his religion. Discipline was his crucifix against chaos.

However, the world is filled with chaos in ways both small and great. His girlfriend disorders his clothing to loosen him up. A young Black man, Latrell Macdonald, goes to the local high school where he shoots the white Jeff Spearman, the popular Geography teacher. Latrell is killed as he rushes at the police outside the school.

Titus is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Columbia University and a former FBI agent. As a child he enjoyed reading Greek mythology.

Pastor Jamal Addison is concerned over Latrell being shot by white deputies. The Black community is split over Titus becoming Sheriff: 

To a lot of Black folks, including Jamal, he was now Blue instead of Black.

I was as shaken, as disgusted, as devastated as the police were by the child pornography found on the phone and computer of Spearman. There are videos of Spearman and an unknown man, the Last Wolf, brutalizing and killing children. Spearman and the Last Wolf wear grotesque wolf masks. Latrell is with them. The community has a hard time believing Spearman was a monster and serial killer.

Cosby sums up the wicked:

“Terrible people can do good things sometimes. But they like doing the terrible things more.”

While Cosby does not focus on the torture of the victims there are graphic descriptions. 

Of the 14,000 residents of Charon County who could be the Last Wolf? Who could be so depraved yet give no outward sign? Titus says:

“It’s someone we thought we knew.”

Titus has his own secret from a confrontation in Indiana when he was in the FBI. The psychic scars reach far into his soul. He has told no one in Charon County.

The Charon County of Titus is full of troubled, difficult, nasty people. There are but a few good people in the book.

Gillian “Gilby” Hayes is at least 80 years young and the owner of a restaurant serving “down-home, unadulterated, nurtionally dubious Southern cuisine”. Titus likes her. She makes everyone feel at home.

Titus is a hard man who has rejected faith because his mother died despite his teenage prayers. He cannot believe in a God who does not prevent evil. He has lost hope. As Titus cannot forgive, especially himself, the burdens he bears are heavy.

He is a sensitive man with a conscience. Hard and sensitive are an awkward combination for a Sheriff.

I do admire Cosby for including Christians in the book. Most contemporary crime fiction ignores religious life. I regret he does not find any good in the churches of Charon County.

He visits the Holy Rock of the Redeemer Church whose pastor, Elias Hillington, keeps “a collection of snakes”. A neighbour said they have “hooting-and-hollering services” and then bring out the snakes. Hillington preaches fire and brimstone and “railed” against “the liberal agenda”. He vigorously states none of his congregation could have abused the dead children.

Titus’s old girlfriend, Kellie Stoner, comes from Indiana. She is making true crime podcasts. She is beautiful and profane and magnetic. His current girlfriend is loving, beautiful and running a flower shop.

The Last Wolf, certain of his superiority, toys with Titus.. Titus is convinced he is daring the police to catch him.

The Last Wolf calls Titus. He uses a digital voice modulator.

Danger escalates and the tension is fierce. The Last Wolf nails a lamb with its throat cut to the door of the home of Titus and his father.

Titus sends out a message of his own to the Last Wolf.

The Last Wolf and Titus close in upon the other.

Not only the Last Wolf is spiralling. 

Titus knows the cost to a lawman who turns avenger.  

His girlfriend, Darlene, ends their relationship. She says he has tried to love her but…. She concludes:

“Find someone that makes you smile.” 

The writing is wonderful. The descriptions are skilfully done. The characters are well developed. The emotions are real. Yet I am not sure I will read another Cosby book. The darkness is so deep and the lightness so sparse. There are shades of black in noir. All the Sinners Bleed is the blackest of black.


Cosby, S.A. - (2022) - Razorblade Tears and Who is S.A. Cosby?


  1. I had a similar thought, Bill, as I was reading your post. This sounds like a well-written, powerful book. But I think I'd find it hard to read, and like you, shaken by the terrible things in it. It's sickening to know that that sort of thing happens, although I know it does. I may read it at some point, but...not now.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I would be very interested if Cosby would write a thriller mystery that was not noir. I know he has the talent.