A Black Sail

A Black Sail

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.


"Starred Review: 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."

Library Journal

"★★★★ 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 Book Reviews

"The pace is of necessity quick and varied, Rich Zahradnik's characters are well established and interesting, and the plot is intense and convoluted. There is a wonderful retro dime novel flavor to the protagonist and the telling which really suits the New York City setting. And Zahradnik's knowledge and use of the huge variety of watercraft is smoothly researched and presented. Gritty, tough, and well done – this one's a treat."

Diana Borse for Reviewing the Evidence, September 2016

"★★★★★ A BLACK SAIL 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... The writing is superb, and the pace mimics the rhythm of a heartbeat, with intense action and surprises that are dizzying. Overall, Zahradnik is a great entertainer, a writer to keep an attentive eye on if you are a fan of crime novels and mystery."

Readers' Favorite

"Taylor is a very likable protagonist, with all his faults and hang-ups… If you love a good murder mystery, check out this series—I promise you'll be hooked in no time flat."

Feathered Quill Book Reviews

"I like that Taylor is a reporter with a heart...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."

The Character Connection

"Rich Zahradnik weaves a tale that truly engrosses the reader. We get caught up in the mystery, diving further into the story to find out more about what’s happening. His easy and quite pleasing way of storytelling allows us to envision the environments he creates for his characters. We also feel their uncertainties, confusion, and the myriad of emotions they feel along the way."

Lissette E. Manning

"I liked the parallels that were drawn to the present day. In 1976, there are bombings in Boston. There's discord with Russia. There's a strong racist element among those in power. And there's a presidential election, looming in the fall... And that's what great storytelling, like this book, gets us to do—think, look beyond the surface and question the status quo."

The Plot Thickens

"This is a novel that really captures the essence of a specific time and place in American history, and does so through the lens of a crime story... Everyone's on the take, out for their own self-interest. It makes you ponder the question the book ultimately raises: Can one man really make a difference?"

City Girl Who Loves to Read