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A Black Sail
     

A Black Sail

by Rich Zahradnik
 

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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

Overview

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.

Book 3 of the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

4 Stars: "Coleridge Taylor is a character fans can firmly stand behind. His dogged pursuit of the truth and commitment to helping others while exposing his foibles is what makes him so sympathetic and complex. Zahradnik ratchets up the action in this novel, which quickens the pace and keeps readers engaged.... a truly enjoyable read."

--Keitha Hart for RT Reviews

"Taylor is a very likeable protagonist, with all his faults and hang-ups, and I was happy to see that Samantha Callahan as well as Mason the dog, were back to soften up Taylor's gruff exterior.... If you love a good murder mystery, check out this series--I promise you'll be hooked in no time flat."

--Ellen Feld for Feathered Quill Book Reviews

Library Journal
★ 10/01/2016
In July 1976, newspaper reporter Coleridge Taylor is covering Operation Sail, the parade of tall ships in New York Harbor celebrating the bicentennial of the American Revolution. When the police launch on which Taylor is a passenger pulls a body from the river, his inside source, Marty Phillips, suspects it's the opening salvo in a drug war between the Italian Mafia and the Chinese tongs. Heroin is a way of life in the Big Apple. The FBI and the NYPD vie to solve the murder, but there is more bubbling below the surface than the usual interagency rivalry. And Taylor will come close to dying to find out how rotten things can get. This latest series outing (after Drop Dead Punk) offers a blast from the time machine back to New York City's bad old days in the 1970s. Taylor, while out to get the story and get back to the crime beat, is complex and has a good heart. VERDICT Fans of the late Barbara D'Amato and Bruce DeSilva will relish this gritty and powerful crime novel. Zahradnik won the 2015 Independent Publishers Award Bronze Medal for his debut, Last Words.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781603812115
Publisher:
Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2016
Series:
A Coleridge Taylor Mystery , #3
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
571,149
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.54(d)

Read an Excerpt

Almost out of gas, he huffed up the steps and walked through the big doorway. The cathedral was a long, soaring tunnel of rose light framed by two rows of identical pillars climbing to the ceiling--or maybe the sky. The light brightened to the white of daylight at the far end, where the high altar looked to be about a mile away. The sightlines were spectacular--which meant they were terrible for Taylor. He doubted heroin dealers respected the idea of sanctuary. Did anyone anymore? Inhaling through his nose and exhaling through his mouth to make as little noise as possible, he walked along the left aisle and slid down behind a pillar near the altar. He grimaced. His whole right side ached.

Stone against his back, Taylor tried to get his bearings. He felt small. And alien. The cathedral was another world from the Greek Orthodox churches his mother had taken him and his brother to as kids. Even the large ones were dark, foreboding, their walls crowded with icons of flat-faced saints. Those churches always had the mystical wall separating the worshippers from the altar and the priest in his beard and long robes. Here there were no dividers. You could see everything. What would his mother have thought of this place? He couldn't remember if she'd ever been. All these years and he still missed her, saddened by all she'd missed of his life.

He waited and listened.

St. John's was the biggest cathedral in the world. Or so he'd been told. New York specialized in the biggest, and as with all its citizens, the memory of all those giant things might as well have been planted at birth. He wouldn't change his mind about the cathedral until he got real proof. He was stubborn that way.

Was it stubbornness put him in this situation? Or plain stupidity? When the Chinese guys had showed up, it'd looked like confirmation of what he'd heard had appeared right in front of his nose. He couldn't believe it. He'd needed to get close enough to make sure something big really was happening in the heroin trade--something no one was talking about. So what had he done? Stared like a tourist at the foot of the Empire State Building.

Amateur hour. The result: a colossal mess.

Had the driver of the garbage truck been shot? Why else would the truck have veered? Then there was Mary. She was in serious shit now. If only she'd left when he told her. Reggie knew she'd fingered him. The tong members knew. Junkies, the most disposable human beings in the city, disappeared when they snitched. No one went looking for them.

Feeling stupid was too much like feeling sorry for himself. He didn't have time for that. Better to focus on his next move before some other bad thing happened. He had to find Mary before they did. As much as he hated the thought, he'd also have to go in to the local precinct and report what he'd seen. This added more urgency. He needed to get to Mary before he dealt with the local cops, who could tie him up for hours.

Meet the Author

Rich Zahradnik has been 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 lives with his wife, Sheri, and son, Patrick, in Pelham, New York, where he teaches kids how to publish online and print newspapers. For more information, go to richzahradnik.com.

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