Monday, August 1, 2016

Rich Zahradnik - A Black Sail - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

On the eve of the U.S. Bicentennial, newsman Coleridge Taylor is covering Operation Sail. New York Harbor is teeming with tall ships from all over the world. While enjoying the spectacle, Taylor is still a police reporter. He wants to cover real stories, not fluff, and gritty New York City still has plenty of those in July of 1976. One surfaces right in front of him when a housewife is fished out of the harbor wearing bricks of heroin, inferior stuff users have been rejecting for China White, peddled by the Chinatown gangs.

Convinced he’s stumbled upon a drug war between the Italian Mafia and a Chinese tong, Taylor is on fire once more. But as he blazes forward, flanked by his new girlfriend, ex-cop Samantha Callahan, his precious story grows ever more twisted and deadly. In his reckless search for the truth, he rattles New York’s major drug cartels. If he solves the mystery, he may end up like his victim—in a watery grave.

My Review

I like that Taylor is a reporter with a heart. Although in New York City, that's a dangerous combination. The story does a good job in showing just how competitive the newspaper business was in 1976, long before it had to worry about being supplanted by digital media. So it's no surprise that Taylor itches to be the first to shed light on the crime being committed day in and day out. However, he's more selective than most. He cares about the stories that none of the big papers cover, the victims no one cares about.

That's because he allows himself to be hemmed in by the facts... and his conscience. It's admirable that he won't run with a lead unless he can verify it. However, sometimes when he does, a person who doesn't deserve it, winds up getting hurt. And it's to Taylor's credit that he has a hard time swallowing the guilt that comes along with that. Instead, he ends up carrying it around with him, like a dark cloud hovering over his head with only a few, intermittent bursts of light filtering in, every now and then, mostly brought about by his ex-cop girlfriend and his comical dog.

Frustrated and unsatisfied with where his career is heading, at times a palpable sense of depression overwhelms him. Yet this apparent weakness goes to show how human the guy is. The paper he used to work for folded. Now he's doing AM radio spots for a wire service that are meant to make crime in the Big Apple sound scary and threatening to those who've fled to the suburbs. He's basically writing filler for the real estate advertising, paying for his work. Truth be told, it'd get any old school newspaperman down.

But he doesn't let it stop him. He wants justice for a woman whose body he personally witnesses getting pulled out of the harbor, and he's determined not to rest until he does. Even if it costs him his job, his sanity, even his life. Because that's the kind of reporter he is, and it's why you'll enjoy reading about him.


A Black Sail can be pre-ordered at:
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 264
Release: October 1, 2016
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812115
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 (A Black Sail, Drop Dead Punk, Last Words).

The second installment, Drop Dead Punk, won the gold medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). It was also named a finalist in the mystery category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie 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 IndieFab 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.

Zahradnik was a journalist for 30-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.

In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York's Center for Fiction.

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 writes fiction and teaches kids how to publish newspapers.

Links to connect with Rich:
Web Site

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for the review! I'll be stopping by to see if your readers have any questions.

  2. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt and sailing. ;)

  3. This sounds like quite a gritty tale. Love the title & cover.

  4. Connie - Love the look of your site, but I don't see a means of submitting a book for review. I might be overlooking it! :-) Would love to have you do a book review or interview.