Drop Dead Punk

Drop Dead Punk

Coleridge Taylor is searching for his next scoop on the police beat. The Messenger-Telegram reporter has a lot to choose from on the crime-ridden streets of New York City in 1975. One story outside his beat is grabbing all the front page glory: New York teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, and President Ford just told the city, as the Daily News so aptly puts it, “Drop Dead.” Taylor’s situation is nearly as desperate. His home is a borrowed dry-docked houseboat, his newspaper may also be on the way out, and his drunk father keeps getting arrested.

A source sends Taylor down to Alphabet City, hang-out of the punks who gravitate to the rock club CBGB. There he finds the bloody fallout from a mugging. Two dead bodies: a punk named Johnny Mort and a cop named Robert Dodd. Each looks too messed up to have killed the other. Taylor starts asking around. The punk was a good kid, the peace-loving guardian angel of the neighborhood’s stray dogs. What led him to mug a woman at gunpoint? And why is Officer Samantha Callahan being accused of leaving her partner to die, even though she insists the police radio misled her? It’s hard enough being a female in the NYPD only five years after women were assigned to patrol. Now the department wants to throw her to the wolves. That’s not going to happen, not if Taylor can help it. As he falls for Samantha—a beautiful, dedicated second-generation cop—he realizes he’s too close to his story. Officer Callahan is a target, and Taylor’s standing between her and some mighty big guns.

Drop Dead Punk won the gold medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards. It was also named a finalist in the mystery category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.


"The New York City financial crisis of 1975 provides the dramatic backdrop for Zahradnik's frenetic sequel to 2014's LAST WORDS...Taylor, who lives for the big story, makes an appealingly single-minded hero."

Publishers Weekly

"★★★★ DROP DEAD PUNK provides hours of engrossing entertainment. The protagonist’s choices, both good and bad, illustrate the depth and complexity of this utterly relatable character. As the action develops and intensifies, the pace moves from moderate to fast. The 1970s New York City backdrop seems well researched. Book two of the Coleridge Taylor series is a thoroughly satisfying read that will keep readers guessing until the end."

RT Reviews

"★★★★★ Author Rich Zahradnik has done an amazing job at creating characters that the reader will truly care about, and if that's not a sign of a great writer, I don't know what is. Any reader who enjoys mysteries, an exciting read, a little bit of romance, or simply a great read will love DROP DEAD PUNK. I highly recommend this novel, and am excited to read more from Rich Zahradnik as soon as possible."

Tracy A. Fischer for Reader’s Favorite Reviews

"There were plenty of twists and turns and unexpected connections (pay attention!) that are the cornerstones of a good crime mystery...Add in the author’s real-life experiences as a reporter for over 30 years that seep through the pages, and you have a definite winner. I thoroughly enjoyed DROP DEAD PUNK and look forward to the next book in this new series. Quill says: If you like a quick-reading crime mystery that will keep you guessing, check out DROP DEAD PUNK. You won’t be disappointed!"

Feathered Quill Book Reviews

"I think Coleridge Taylor not only has a highly interesting job, newspaper reporter, but is one of the most interesting characters to come along in quite a while. Mr. Zahradnik has written a story that will keep you going in circles as Taylor tries to sort through all the clues. DROP DEAD PUNK is quite an engrossing book. Don’t start this book late at night as it will cost you sleep as you try to finish it before you go to bed."

Vic's Media Room

"A well-written, fast-paced suspense thriller set in the month in 1975 when New York City's financial concerns nearly teetered over the precipice into bankruptcy..."

Mallory Heart Reviews

"This was a really fun book for me. I loved the 'hot off the presses' feel to the book...The mystery had me pointing the finger at different characters, and I was not always right. I would really like to read the first book in the series to see how these characters started out."

Deal Sharing Aunt

"As you follow the story and uncover the clues, finally reaching the end, you come up for air. It was the writing, how the author kept me curious and anxious for the characters, especially Taylor, and excited to get answers to my questions, plus how easily and quickly the story flowed, that got this a high recommendation from me. Five stars. "

FUONLYKNEW.com, Laura's Ramblings and Reviews

"Intrigue, lies, betrayal, murder, and one reporter trying to uncover it all. Zahradnik takes this and runs with it, creating an intricate and fast-paced novel that had me on my toes. I found myself trying to unravel the mystery alongside the main character. Each new plot twist had me more and more involved in the tale."

Pure Jonel, Confessions of Bibliophile