My Darkest Prayer by S.A. Cosby

Today I am sharing my thoughts on My Darkest Prayer, by S.A. Cosby which was recently re-released in paperback. I love the author’s writing and loved venturing back into his world. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 05 January 2023
Publisher: Headline

About the Book

“I handle the bodies.”

Whether it’s working at his cousin’s funeral home or tossing around the local riffraff at his favorite bar, Nathan Waymaker is a man who knows how to handle the bodies. A former marine and sheriff’s deputy, Nathan has built a reputation in his small Southern town as a man who can help when all other avenues have been exhausted. When a beloved local minister is found dead, his parishioners ask Nathan to make sure the death isn’t swept under the rug.

What starts out as an easy payday soon descends into a maze of mayhem filled with wannabe gangsters, vicious crime lords, porn stars, crooked police officers, and a particularly treacherous preacher and his mysterious wife. Nathan must use all his varied skills and some of his wit to navigate the murky waters of small town corruption even as dark secrets of his own threaten to come to the surface.

My Thoughts

I’m just going to say this from the off – if you are a lover of audiobooks then you really do want to get all of the SA Cosby titles in your collection as the narrator, Adam Lazarre White, is absolutely brilliant. He really brings the stories to life, capturing the spirit of the story along, making the action and tension buzz and really giving the characters an almost physical presence. If you are more of a traditionalist, a book-book kind of person, then fear not. This book is absolutely compelling, packed with larger than life characters you will both love and hate, and a story that absolutely grabs you from the moment you start reading. I would happily recommend any of SA Cosby’s books, and this is just another stunning example of why he is one of my go to writers of American noir.

In My Darkest Prayer we meet Nathan Waymaker, former marine, disgraced Deputy Sheriff, who now spends his days working at his cousins Funeral Home. He’s not a man who goes looking for trouble but it seems to have a habit of finding him. I liked Nathan right off the bat. Narrated in first person from his perspective, we get a real flavour of the man, both his flaws and his redeeming qualities. His has a real presence about him, something that comes across loud and clear in Cosby’s portrayal and I can understand why people feel both drawn to him and also afraid. He is approached by members of a local church to check into the death of their Pastor. They do not believe he would have committed suicide, and all the evidence suggests that they are probably right. But it’s not simply a case of stepping on the toes of his former colleagues in the police department. Someone far more dangerous has Nathan in their sights and the cost of his investigation could prove fatal.

I loved the tension that threaded throughout this book, that constant feeling of threat that was punctuated by the more than occasional bout of violence. This is a novel with a dark undertone, one that contains quite a bit of sex and bad language, but it felt fitting of both setting and circumstance. SA Cosby uses language brilliantly to create the essence of the setting, the divisions in town between the have and the have nots. The divide that exists down racial lines and the corruption that is wielded by the people in town who hold both the money and the power. But it’s not all darkness and there are many scenes that set me chuckling. I particularly loved the dynamic between Nathan and his good friend, and trusted killer for hire, Skunk. The way in which they interact, the absolute understanding and trust in one another, really bleeds from the page and I really did like Skunk’s matter of fact, and verbally understated approach to the situation.

Gritty, compelling and laced with danger, this perhaps lacked the emotional pull I felt with Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland but then it was a different kind of book. There is a distance between Nathan and his investigation, and whilst it does become personal towards the end, Nathan’s motivations start out as purely a way to make some money. The pacing never wanes though and the sense of place is as strong as ever. As we draw towards the dramatic conclusion, the tension skyrockets and I found myself flying through the final chapters, completely caught up in a need to see justice done, whatever form that may take.

Definitely recommended for fans of the author or of a nice, dark, gritty but of American noir.

About the Author

S. A. Cosby is a writer from Southeastern Virginia. He resides in Gloucester, VA.

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