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Rich Zahradnik Books In Order

Publication Order of Coleridge Taylor Books

Last Words (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Drop Dead Punk (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Black Sail (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lights Out Summer (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Rich Zahradnik is an American author of fiction. He is well known for his Coleridge Taylor Mystery series, a popular series that started in 2014 with the publication of Last Words by Camel Press. It was released on October 1st of that year.

Drop Dead Punk is the second book in the series, followed by A Black Sail and Lights Out Summer, which was released in 2017. Last Woods was awarded an Honorable Mention in the genre of mystery in the IndieFab Book of the Year Awards by Foreward Reviews. It was also awarded the Bronze Medal in the IPPYs for the genre of mystery and thrill ebooks. It made its way to being a mystery book finalist at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in 2015.

Rich Zahradnik wasn’t always a full-time fiction novelist. He worked as a journalist for over thirty years and enjoyed working as a reporter as well as an editor for a lot of major media news. This included papers, magazines, wire services, broadcast, and online news. As one might expect with this kind of lead-in, he worked at all the big networks and was an editor at Fox Business Network, Bloomberg News, CNN, AOL, and The Hollywood Reporter. Zahradnik would write analysis and news stories about a variety of topics within news as well.

Last Words is the first book in the Coleridge Taylor series. The setting is New York City in March of 1975. The city is speeding towards bankruptcy and the Bronx is on fire. While all of this is going on, our main character is appearing. Coleridge Taylor is a newsman and he makes his way around police precincts as well as ERs in the hopes that he will finally be able to get that big scoop. If he can just score a big news story it may be enough to move him from writing the obituary posts at the Messenger-Telegram. Taylor is desperate to get out of exile.

Even worse, he’s been demoted from the police force thanks to his invention of sources. Taylor is thirty-four years of age and ever since that happened he’s been kind of lost. But when he accidentally runs across a dead body, it might be the best thing that ever happened to him. The break came from Bellevue and he has found a body in the Meatpacking District. From what he can tell it’s that of a homeless teen.

Being demoted is never fun and even though you might not think that a corpse appearing would be a good thing in your life. Taylor is pretty instinctive and he thinks that something is off about the whole thing. For one, the boy looks pretty clean– too clean for a dead person. He’s also wearing a field jacket from the Army. Taylor decides to do a little research; it turns out that the jacket didn’t belong to the dead man. It belonged to Mark Voichek, a hobo.

It turns out that the dead teenager was a rich kid that had grown up with a silver spoon. He was a spoiled kid from high society and the son of an official for the city. Taylor tries to protect the hobo Mark Voicheck, but this might just land him high on the list of a group of people that might just be willing to kill to cover their tracks– and none of them want any news about them leaking to City Hall.

Only Laura Wheeler, a lovely young woman in the newsroom, is on his side. But time is not, and he’s running out of the precious commodity fairly quickly. He’s got to act or he’s going to be the featured dead person on the obits page instead of sitting down alive and writing them. The first book in this mystery series is exciting and fresh, so be sure to pick up this book and see what’s so great about it today!

Drop Dead Punk is the second book in the Coleridge Taylor series. It was published in 2015. The main character of Coleridge Taylor is back. He’s a newsman to the core, and he’s looking for a good news story while on the police beat. This reporter is never short of stories in the active and crime-ridden scene of NYC in the 70s. He’s aware that there is one news story that is getting the front page all to itself, and it’s saying that New York is on the edge of bankruptcy. Not only that, but the Daily News reported that President Ford had told the city that it should drop dead.

Taylor is desperate to do what he can to make his own life better. He calls a houseboat that is dry-docked and borrowed to boot his home. That’s bad enough, but he suspects that the paper he reports for might be slowly being phased out. On top of that, his father can’t stop drinking and it keeps getting him arrested.

He gets a breakthrough when he has a source that tips him off to two dead bodies in Alphabet City. It turns out that they belong to an unlikely duo– a cop and a punk. They look pretty rough to have killed each other. It turns out that Johnny Mort was a “good kid” despite being a punk– actually looked out for the stray dogs in the neighborhood.

But he’s being accused of mugging some strange woman with a gun. And now an officer named Sam Callahan is being said that she left her police partner to die. But Callahan’s story is that the police radio misled her on purpose– she was framed. It can be really difficult being a woman that belongs to the NYPD and works as an officer patrolling only five years after it was allowed.

Now she’s being betrayed by her department. Taylor’s going to have something to say about it as he falls more deeply in love with the beautiful cop that is educated, smart, and brave. But could he have been falling for someone who was a target all along? Pick up Drop Dead Punk to find out and see how this awesome story ends for yourself!

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