Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rich Zahradnik - Lights Out Summer - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

In March 1977, ballistics link murders going back six months to the same Charter Arms Bulldog .44. A serial killer, Son of Sam, is on the loose. But Coleridge Taylor can't compete with the armies of reporters fighting New York's tabloid war--only rewrite what they get. Constantly on the lookout for victims who need their stories told, he uncovers other killings being ignored because of the media circus. He goes after one, the story of a young Black woman gunned down in her apartment building the same night Son of Sam struck elsewhere in Queens. The story entangles Taylor with a wealthy Park Avenue family at war with itself. Just as he's closing in on the killer and his scoop, the July 13-14 blackout sends New York into a 24-hour orgy of looting and destruction. Taylor and his PI girlfriend Samantha Callahan head out into the darkness, where a steamy night of mob violence awaits them. In the midst of the chaos, a suspect in Taylor's story goes missing. Desperate, he races to a confrontation that will either break the story--or Taylor. Book 4 in the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series.

My Review

"Stereotypes had a bad way of making you wrong."

But for poor Martha Gibson that sentiment no longer applies…because she's dead.

And the sad thing is no one seems to care that a young, black woman has been murdered, not when the press and the police are fixated on one thing: stopping the Son of Sam killer from killing again. Unsurprisingly, her case falls through the cracks, until a lowly news wire reporter named Taylor makes it his mission to tell her story.

"There was a White city and a Black city. He knew too little of the Black city."

Taylor is no rookie to witnessing racism in action in the city, but he becomes thoroughly disgusted by it when he starts investigating Martha's case. Just how did a college-educated woman get stuck cleaning toilets for a living? She started off well, rising from secretary to a sales position for a company located in the Empire State Building…until her boss started making unwanted sexual advances on her.

"He came on real strong. She said no. He fired her."

Holding fast to her principles, Martha was left with no other choice than to take a job as a maid on Park Avenue, until her predatory ex-boss came after her and assaulted her in an alleyway.

"Did she go to the cops?" Taylor questions a witness.
"You kidding? Black woman. White man. Black witness."

A rhetorical no.

Of course, she didn't. That's why she's dead. But did her ex-boss kill her? That's what Taylor is trying to find out.

Martha was a girl who didn't make enemies. She didn't make mistakes. She only talked about people if she had something good to say. And yet it quickly becomes clear to Taylor that Martha didn't know how she fit, or was supposed to fit, in 1977 New York.

No one else seems to know either, when her death is mocked by:

1) The tabloid press
"A black woman was murdered? We're looking a different reader."

2) The mother of her ex-boss
"A news story about her?" She laughed. "They can't even read."

3) Her friends and family
"A white man is doing a story on a black woman from Queens by coming up to Harlem?"

The story subtly addresses the question, has anything really changed?


Lights Out Summer can be pre-ordered at:
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback, $29.95 audio
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 288
Release: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812139
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series (Lights Out Summer, A Black Sail, Drop Dead Punk, Last Words).

The first three books have been shortlisted or won awards in the three major competitions for novels from independent presses. A Black Sail was named winner in the mystery category of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Drop Dead Punk collected the gold medal for mystery ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Last Words won the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs and honorable mention for mystery in the 2015 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards.

"Taylor, who lives for the big story, makes an appealingly single-minded hero," Publishers Weekly wrote of Drop Dead Punk.

 A Black Sail received a starred review from Library Journal, which said, “Fans of the late Barbara D’Amato and Bruce DeSilva will relish this gritty and powerful crime novel.”

Zahradnik was a journalist for 25-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter.

Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1960 and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where he writes fiction and teaches kids around the New York area how to write news stories and publish newspapers.

Links to connect with Rich:
Web Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. Thank you for reviewing my book. I'll be stopping by to see if your readers have any questions or comments.