A Black Sail
on Tour September 2016
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.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Camel Press
Publication Date: Oct 2016
Number of Pages: 264
ISBN: 1603812113 (ISBN13: 9781603812115)
Series: Coleridge Taylor Mystery, 3rd (Stand Alone Novel)
Purchase Your Copy of A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik on:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or check it out on Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
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.
O&A with Rich Zahradnik
Welcome and thank you for stopping by CMash Reads.
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
The first book in the series is set in 1975 and this one, the third, is set in July of 1976 so I draw a lot from events that were current at the time. The second book, for example, deals with the financial collapse of New York City. This one features the Bicentennial celebrations in New York as the backdrop. My personal experiences as a journalist also inform the series.
-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I start with the beginning and see where the journey takes me. I outline lightly—a couple of sentences on the next four or five chapters I will write. I definitely don’t know the end until I get close.
-Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
I take traits and emotional reactions from different people I know and incorporate those into characters. But no character is based entirely on a real person. My protagonist, a journalist, has some of my traits, but in many ways is different from me. Taylor is a much better reporter than I ever was. He is far more focused on getting the story—sometimes to his detriment.
-Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
After about an hour of coffee drinking, email, social media and other chores, I start writing. I try to complete a chapter a day when writing the first draft. With revisions, I’m looking to do two or three chapters a day. I close email and social media windows and only open them during quick breaks.
-Tell us why we should read this book.
People should read this book if they enjoy mysteries that keep them guessing and keep the pace moving fast. Those who enjoy visiting a particular place and time—and perhaps seeing it anew—will also like A Black Sail.
-Who are some of your favorite authors?
Michael Connelly, Georges Simenon, Derek Raymond, Graham Greene, Tony Hillerman, William Gibson, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Charles Dickens.
-What are you reading now?
Plum Island by Nelson DeMille, The Orient Express by Graham Greene, Reporting World War II Vol. 1: American Journalism 1938-1944 edited by Samuel Hynes, Weird Heroes Volume 2 edited by Byron Preiss.
-Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m just finishing a stand-alone thriller called “The Causeway,” in which three people witness a drug murder as a hurricane is approaching a barrier island off New Jersey. With the storm raging, they must escape over the causeway back to the mainland before the murderers can catch them. In the next couple of weeks, I will start writing book 4 in the Coleridge Taylor series. This one will be set during the summer of 1977, when the serial killer Son of Sam terrorized the city and a blackout in July resulted in looting, millions of dollars in damages and more than 3,000 arrests.
-Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Mark Ruffalo to play Taylor.
-Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Love movies and watching soccer (attended three world cups and still played pick up until three years ago). Swim for fitness. Still read comic books. As a volunteer, I teach journalism to middle school and high school kids, primarily in New York City schools.