Lights Out Summer

Lights Out Summer

Winner of the 2018 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Private Eye Novel.

In March 1977, ballistics link murders going back six months to the same Charter Arms Bulldog .44. A serial killer, Son of Sam, is on the loose. But Coleridge Taylor can’t compete with the armies of reporters fighting New York’s tabloid war—only rewrite what they get. Constantly on the lookout for victims who need their stories told, he uncovers other killings being ignored because of the media circus. He goes after one, the story of a young Black woman gunned down in her apartment building the same night Son of Sam struck elsewhere in Queens.

The story entangles Taylor with a wealthy Park Avenue family at war with itself. Just as he’s closing in on the killer and his scoop, the July 13-14 blackout sends New York into a 24-hour orgy of looting and destruction. Taylor and his PI girlfriend Samantha Callahan head out into the darkness, where a steamy night of mob violence awaits them.

In the midst of the chaos, a suspect in Taylor’s story goes missing. Desperate, he races to a confrontation that will either break the story—or Taylor.

Book 4 in the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series.


"Well-plotted...Zahradnik nails the period, with its pack journalism, racism overt and subtle, and the excesses of the wealthy at places like Studio 54, as he shows how one dogged reporter can make a difference."

Publishers Weekly

"[A] descriptive, fast-paced story that is very well researched. Readers will fly through the pages in order to reach the climactic conclusion. "

—RT Book Reviews

"★★★★★ LIGHTS OUT SUMMER is a gripping multiple-murder mystery overlaid with tremendous atmosphere and action. Here’s hoping a fifth Coleridge Taylor adventure is in the works."

Rachel Jagareski for ForeWord Clarion Reviews

"★★★★★ [A] fascinating and dramatic historical mystery novel. Taylor's character is a little gritty and brutally honest, but so relatable...The author's ability to weave his story in and out through so many social classes and so many different situations is refreshing."

Alyssa Elmore for Readers' Favorite

"An intricate piece, LIGHTS OUT SUMMER is a mystery with multiple layers to be peeled back before the killer is revealed....Be ready to sit on the edge of the seat as the mystery unravels."

Belinda Wilson for InD’Tale Magazine

"The perfect visual and suspenseful mystery led by a believable and easy-to-like character."

Feathered Quill Book Reviews

"Taylor tries to compete with the other papers to get recognition for the murder he is investigating, but sadly no one seems to care. His fight for justice creates a gripping murder mystery chock full of action and brimming with social consciousness. "

Tribute Books Mama

"It’s wonderful to see Rich broaden the world he’s created around this determined character. [...] The author has painted the emotions and situations these characters find themselves in so vividly that you can imagine yourself standing beside them as they dive deeper into the world around them. If you have yet to experience this series, I truly recommend it. More, please! "

Lissette Manning,

"The beauty of the story is that the author makes the reader care. The characters are delineated well. They are real people. [....] You just may get hooked on the Coleridge Taylor mysteries. "

The One True Faith Blog

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