Lights Out Summer
Rich Zahradnik

Book cover image

Narrated By: Donald Corren

Duration: 8 hours and 4 minutes

What to expect

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.


Crime and mystery: hard-boiled crime, noir fiction

Listen to a sample

“Former journalist Zahradnik does an excellent job capturing this moment in time for New York’s print media, when several papers were folding and Rupert Murdoch was coming on the scene.”

Library Journal

“The personable protagonist, reporter Coleridge Taylor, takes the reader on a journey to not only find a killer, but highlight the complexity of human nature.”

RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

“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.”