Thursday, August 10, 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

The Son of Sam killer is on the loose.

A massive blackout results in a night of looting and destruction.

People are broke, and jobs are scarce.

It's just a few years after the end of the Vietnam War and, "It didn't matter how much sacrifice. Everybody's trying to forget. Not trying. Succeeding. America only loved a winner."

And in 1977, New York City certainly wasn't winning.

Even a former member of the NYPD admits, "Crime I can take. This madness is…evil." It seems people are willing to kill over anything—a rent-controlled apartment, dominance in the drug trade, embezzling a family out of its Park Avenue fortune. It's as if a population of 15 million people are "banished to an outer circle of Dante's hell, with New York moving ever inward."

It pains lifelong residents to look back on a time in the not-so-distant past when people actually helped each other. Back then, New Yorkers believed they could cope with anything…now they don't. And that's the difference, and what causes these downward spirals to happen.

How does a corrupt, bankrupt city turn itself around? Is it economic opportunity? Is it good leadership? Do ethics and morals only hold sway in times of prosperity? The book brings up topics of conversation that are worth discussing because New York did turn manage to turn things around. Let's face it the Times Square of 1997 sure looked a heck of a lot different than the one from 1977.

A reporter makes an apt remark that, "he never imagined how fast a newspaper could disappear—be forgotten. Not until he'd seen it happen. When was the last time you saw…people lined up to buy a newspaper?"
Yet when the Son of Sam killer releases an exclusive letter just in time for the Sunday edition: "Everyone stayed in line, calm, polite. Surprising in New York these days, maybe people needed to hear about a maniac and mayhem to decide to be civil."

I guess when the circus comes to town, it's not likely to pack up and leave anytime soon.


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.