Monday, August 14, 2017

Rich Zahradnik - Lights Out Summer - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

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.




My Review

The "Yes Virginia" editoriala front page editorial affirming the existence of Santa Claus in exquisite language. Yet it said moreAffirmed the idea of hope.

Think about it—it's only 1977 and Taylor is already mourning the glory days of newspapers. Why is a career newsman so forlorn nearly twenty years before digital media? Because for him, facts are stubborn things. You blow your credibility with your sources, you're done. You don't jump on the bandwagon. You go after the stories no one else is doing. Yet not many reporters follow these hard and fast rules. They run in a pack, chasing the one big bad guy, they're told to chase.

Remember half the stories in the Post are made up now that Murdoch owns it. Might as well be crime fiction… No flipping out because the Post has some fantastic story. Fantastic because it's fantasy.

So when the Son of Sam killer strikes New York City—shooting defenseless young white girls in the dark—every news outlet in the five boroughs is giving extensive daily coverage to the story—but not Taylor. He'd rather look into the murder of a black woman, that occurred on the same night as one of the Son of Sam killings, the one no one is talking about.

However, Taylor's not exactly what you would call a big-time reporter. He works for the City News Bureau, a wire service that supplies quick news bites for radio stations. In fact, his late father used to say he was nothing more than "a scribbler with a high school degree." So when temptation comes calling in the form of a job offer from the New York Post, proudly boasting a healthy circulation of over half a million, it feels "like any bargain with the devil…it offered something he wanted so badly."

Because realistically, Taylor doubts that he can keep doing what he's doing, and make a living out of it. He knows the Post would think he was nuts to care about a story no one cares about. That's not what sells newspapers. So after wrestling with the decision for a while, he comes to realize that it's not that he can't compete with the big guys—it's just that he doesn't want to. In his mind, all victims deserve to have their stories told, instead of the mass media making the decision to focus on a single case just "because the victims look like your family."

If you chased what readers wanted, not what they needed to know, you'd do anything. Bend facts. Break them.

So Taylor chooses to fight the good fight, and give a voice to the people, everyone else in the city is quick to write off. Who needs Panavision when you can do so much more with a close-up?

***

Lights Out Summer can be pre-ordered at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback, $29.95 audio
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 288
Release: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812139
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series (Lights Out Summer, A Black Sail, Drop Dead Punk, Last Words).



The first three books have been shortlisted or won awards in the three major competitions for novels from independent presses. A Black Sail was named winner in the mystery category of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Drop Dead Punk collected the gold medal for mystery ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Last Words won the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs and honorable mention for mystery in the 2015 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards.

"Taylor, who lives for the big story, makes an appealingly single-minded hero," Publishers Weekly wrote of Drop Dead Punk.

 A Black Sail received a starred review from Library Journal, which said, “Fans of the late Barbara D’Amato and Bruce DeSilva will relish this gritty and powerful crime novel.”

Zahradnik was a journalist for 25-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter.



Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1960 and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where he writes fiction and teaches kids around the New York area how to write news stories and publish newspapers.



Links to connect with Rich:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog


About the Giveaway

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Sharon St. George - Spine Damage - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Paulo Ferrara, a young Portuguese man, lies comatose in the Intensive Care Unit of Timbergate Medical Center, shot in the spine. The neurosurgeon who would normally be in charge of his care has left town to attend to an injured daughter, and the only other neurosurgeon, the rude and egotistical Dr. Godfrey Carver, is about to be suspended for not completing his continuing education requirements. The unpleasant duty of ensuring that the staff obey the rules lies with Aimee Machado, the medical center's forensic librarian and Continuing Education Coordinator. Aimee and her pilot boyfriend Nick live together on her grandparents’ llama farm. While dealing with Dr. Carver, Aimee learns the circumstances of Paulo’s injury and enlists Nick’s help. Aimee is half Asian and half Portuguese, and her parents live on Faial, one of the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal. Faial is the closest neighbor to Pico, home of Paulo and his family. Paulo came to rural Northern California in search of his fifteen-year-old sister Liliana, who vanished two weeks ago. Nick’s wealthy employer Buck Sawyer takes an interest in the girl’s plight as well, especially when they learn that she left the Azores on a superyacht. Not only is Buck a yacht owner, but he is also on a crusade against drug trafficking, and Paulo and Liliana have clearly stumbled onto a criminal operation of some kind. The trail leads Aimee and Nick from Timbergate, to the Azores, to San Francisco. Paulo’s condition is deteriorating, and he might never be able to explain what got him shot. Can Aimee, her brother Harry, and Nick unravel the mystery in time to save Liliana? Book 4 in the Aimee Machado Mystery series, which began with Due for Discard.




My Review

The human trafficking of young girls is the ugly secret of life on the high seas.

Liliana Ferrera, a fifteen-year-old girl, willingly boards a fancy super-yacht that's docked in her hometown, a small island in the Portuguese Azores, thinking she's going to America to meet her online boyfriend and finally pursue her interest in fashion design. For Liliana, it's all about breaking free of parental control and doing what she wants to do with her life, but little does she know that she's in way over her head and in a heck of a lot of trouble.

The boyfriend she never met could very well be a creep, who's catfishing for an unsuspecting kid. The boat she's on could be in the hands of an ISIS terror network or any number of major crime organizations. Ultimately, she could end up anywhere in the world, and not even know it. Impetuous and headstrong, "she knew she was exquisite looking. That was obvious. What she apparently didn't know was how her beauty might put her life in danger."

It's a known fact that violent crimes committed in international waters frequently go unreported. Young girls are lured onto these yachts with the promise of employment as a maid or galley worker in exchange for their passage. Some are convinced that they're being hired as models, as Liliana is led to believe, when she's really been classified as "unblemished merchandise," or code for still a virgin.

When the auctioneers release a photo of her to prospective buyers, she appears happy and unharmed, ensuring that if the photo ever falls into the hands of the police, they'll simply classify her as a runaway, with little chance of ever being rescued. When the bidding for her starts at half a million dollars, she quickly becomes a valuable commodity for the rich men who charter flights and arrive in limos, ready to quietly haul away their human cargo and avoid detection by the authorities.

When an undercover DEA agent happens to stumble upon a drugged Liliana during an unrelated raid, she sums the situation up best by saying, "Just when I'm convinced human beings can't think of anything worse to do to each other, someone comes up with another creative way to prove me wrong."

***

Spine Damage can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $16.78 paperback
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 328
Release: May 15, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603815819
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Sharon St. George’s writing credits include three plays, several years writing advertising copy, a book on NASA’s space food project, and feature stories too numerous to count. She holds dual degrees in English and Theatre Arts, and occasionally acts in, or directs, one of her local community theater productions. Sharon is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and she serves as program director for Writers Forum, a nonprofit organization for writers in northern California.

Links to connect with Sharon:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


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