A Black Sail

Coleridge Taylor Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
264 Pages
Reviewed on 08/04/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

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.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

A Black Sail (Coleridge Taylor Mystery) by Rich Zahradnik is a beautifully written crime story; absorbing, fast-paced, and laced with literary gems that will make the overall reading experience fun and enjoyable for fans of mystery and murder. Coleridge Taylor is a police reporter covering Operation Sail. It's the eve of the U.S. Bicentennial and while the entire New York Harbor buzzes with activity, Taylor tumbles onto a very juicy story. The dead woman pulled out of the harbor, wearing bricks of heroin, is a glaring pointer to what seems to be an obvious situation, but it is only the surface of a crime that will try Taylor’s wits and put his life and that of his girlfriend, ex-cop Samantha Callahan, in grave danger.

In A Black Sail, Rich Zahradnik registers success on multiple levels. First, the writing is superb, and the pace mimics the rhythm of a heartbeat, with intense action and surprises that are dizzying. Second, the plot is well conceived and the author seems to have done a wonderful job in researching into the social issues of the historic moment against which this story is set. Third, the characters are gorgeously sculpted and compelling in various ways, and it will be hard not to sympathize with Callahan’s lifelong dream of a successful career in a world ready to admit only male candidates. Taylor has a charm and a recklessness about him that keeps readers worried whenever he steps into dangerous zones. Overall, Zahradnik is a great entertainer, a writer to keep an attentive eye on if you are a fan of crime novels and mystery.

Jack Magnus

A Black Sail: A Coleridge Taylor Mystery is an investigative sleuth mystery novel written by Rich Zahradnik. Taylor's not too keen on his newest assignment. It found him hanging over the side of the Patrolman Crane, a NYPD Harbor launch, spewing out his insides to the amusement of Greg Mott, an officer and NYPD scuba team member. Taylor had been assigned to cover the Tall Ships and the rest of the harbor festivities for the upcoming Bicentennial. While he'd much rather be digging his investigative teeth into a murder or other crime, he had no choice but to accept any puff piece his boss and friend at the City News Bureau assigned him. It was not the New York Times or even the Post or the Daily News, but after the New York Messenger-Telegram had folded, Taylor had few options. He had worked his way into investigative reporting the hard way, from being a copy boy on up and had put 18 years of his life into that paper. When it closed, he was left with nothing. Then, a murder seemed to pop up right when Taylor least expected it. As he fought to vanquish his seasickness, a call of a possible drop was received, and Mott suited up to take a look underwater. While he expected to find a cache of drugs, he found rather more than that. A woman's body was dredged up and a string of packages were taped around her waist. And while neither his boss nor the police were willing to do anything with this puzzle until after the big weekend, Taylor was determined to get the story before anyone else did.

Rich Zahradnik’s investigative sleuth mystery novel, A Black Sail: A Coleridge Taylor Mystery is a gripping and fast-paced hard-boiled detective story set in metropolitan New York in the late 1970s. This is the third volume in the author’s Coleridge Taylor mystery series; however, I had no trouble getting fully involved in this story as a stand-alone novel. Zahradnik’s story is richly detailed in the history of New York at the time of the great Bicentennial celebration, and I enjoyed reliving the excitement most felt at seeing all those ships sailing towards Manhattan. Anyone who’s lived or worked in New York will feel their appetites reviving as Taylor and his companions eat the best local delicacies New York has to offer while they’re working this case, and feel inevitable twinges of nostalgia as they travel to City Island, walk the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, drive past the water along the Belt Parkway underneath the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and visit the quieter realms of Westchester County and Dobbs Ferry. Taylor and his companion, Samantha, are marvelous characters, as is Novack, Taylor’s friend and now boss. Zahradnik’s plot is first-rate, and his investigative sleuth exhibits the tenacity, imagination, and drive that makes this story work so well. I’m planning on backtracking and reading the first two books in the series. I hope that Zahradnik has more mysterious cases lined up for Coleridge Taylor. A Black Sail: A Coleridge Taylor Mystery is most highly recommended.

Gisela Dixon

A Black Sail (Coleridge Taylor Mystery) by Rich Zahradnik is the third book in the mystery series of journalist/newsman/detective Coleridge Taylor. Taylor has a nose for mystery and crime and it is not long before he stumbles upon a dead body, a murdered woman, which leads to his next case. Set during the turbulent '70s when mafia and drug wars were everywhere in New York, the story begins as Taylor is covering news of the Bicentennial celebration and happens to be present when a body is fished out of the water, a woman with drugs on her. Taylor soon figures out that this could be the lead to put him on the trail of the drug lords and the inter-gang rivalry between the Italian mafia and the Chinatown members. He is joined on his quest by his girlfriend, Samantha, an ex-police officer herself, and Mason, their faithful Labrador. As the chase heats up, Taylor soon finds himself in the midst of things to the point where his own life may be at stake.

A Black Sail (Coleridge Taylor Mystery) by Rich Zahradnik is a fun whodunit and keeps a fast pace throughout. I enjoyed Taylor’s character, one with strength and courage, as well as being laid back and easy going when the situation warrants. His teamwork with Samantha works well in this book and the writing style is equally dramatic and lively so that the story moves at a steady pace and never falters. Although this is fiction, I enjoyed reading the realistic descriptions of the New York of the '70s with mafia, heroin trade, crime, and gang wars. This is a book that mystery lovers would enjoy!