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Rich Zahradnik

Sixty seconds with Rich Zahradnik...

Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series, of which LIGHTS OUT SUMMER is the most recent.

Zahradnik was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He 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.

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RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Zahradnik: I'm a writer of stories who loves reading stories.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

Zahradnik: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Zahradnik: Geologist, wildlife biologist, novelist, journalist (in that order; I went to school for journalism)

D.A. Mishani

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David C. Taylor

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October 7 2017

Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, celebrated here with a menu similar to that in the US at the end of November, but with very little prospect of snow. So here's to wish all our Canadian readers a very happy holiday.

Admittedly, we don't start off with cheerful holiday fare. Chalk it up to the current Zeitgeist but there's a lot of dystopian fiction about. South African Deon Meyer has weighed in with a solid 500+ page account of an attempt to reestablish a civil society following an apocalypse. It's heavy going in spots, but I found FEVER worth the effort.

Charles Todd continues his Bess Crawford series with A CASUALTY OF WAR, in which Bess combines her nursing vocation with her taste for detection. PJ Coldren notes with approval that Bess continues to grow and change in her ninth appearance.

Rich Zahdradnik's charmingly named journalist/ detective Taylor Coleridge returns to NYC in the late 70s at the height of the Son of Sam serial killer frenzy in LIGHTS OUT SUMMER, a title that refers to the city-wide blackout of that year. Diana Borse observes that this series continues to improve as it gains in focus and strength. Rich appears as our guest in the Sixty Seconds With... feature, where he speaks for himself.

There's the West of film and story, and then there's the actual West. The two do not always resemble each other as closely as they might. Texan Cathy Downs has a few emendations to suggest to Welsh writer JM Gulvin who has set THE LONG COUNT in her native state back in the 1960s. On the other hand, Sharon Mensing has no such complaints about Craig Johnson's THE WESTERN STAR, which takes us back to Longmire's early days as deputy sheriff. Although there is less natural description than typical of this series, Sharon enjoyed the portrait of a younger Longmire who is edgier than in his most recent manifestations.

Two Canadian authors and two very different Canadas are present this week. Michael Redhill's BELLEVUE SQUARE is set in contemporary Toronto and represents a sophisticated and highly urban take on the doppelganger phenomenon. While I confess to a certain bewilderment regarding this one, it certainly kept me reading right to the end. Ottawa journalist Ron Corbett's debut novel RAGGED LAKE is set in the slightly stereotypical fictional "Canadian" landscape of the underpopulated North, but Corbett, who is also the author of several highly-regarded wilderness guides, clearly gets out of Ottawa now and then. Sharon Mensing was particularly impressed with the quality of the natural description.

Vidar Sundstøl's THE DEVIL'S WEDDING RING is set in present-day Norway, but harks back to a darker ancient history of rite and ritual. Barbara Fister had a few reservations but on the whole enjoyed this eerie journey back to Norway's past.

Though by day Ronald H. Balson is a Chicago attorney, he sets his latest novel, THE TRUST in Belfast. It's a real page-turner, says Susan Hoover. The redoubtable Vera Stanhope makes her eighth appearance in Ann Cleeves' THE SEAGULL. I may be in the minority but I much prefer Vera on the page to on the screen and Jim Napier reports that this one is definitely among the best crime novels of this year. Catriona McPherson is the author of the Dandy Gilver series of light-hearted mysteries, but she does have her darker side. This is on display in HOUSE. TREE. PERSON., which Lourdes Venard calls a "solid, stay-up-all-night psychological thriller," and places her along side the likes of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell.

Caryn St Clair confesses that she'd forgotten how much fun David Handler's Stewart Hoag and his adorable dog can be, but she can be forgiven - it's been ten years since they last appeared. But now they are back, in THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES, set in the early 90s in Hollywood and as charming as ever.

Diana Borse found Kaira Rouda's psychological thriller BEST DAY EVER swiftly moving and steadily interesting, a book she can happily recommend for an entertaining read. Another engaging read is PASSPORT TO MURDER by Mary Angela, which Meredith Frazier calls a believable cosy filled with interesting characters.

If you like to listen to books, the audio version of Peter Robinson's SLEEPING IN THE GROUND comes with Karla Jay's recommendation, both for the book itself, the twenty-fourth appearance of Inspector Banks, and for the narration by James Langton.

That's it for now. If you'd like to know more about what's being published in the UK, check out CRIMEREVIEW.

We'll be back at the end of the month and hope to find you here as well. In the meantime, as the days grow shorter, find the time to read a good book. And keep in touch if you would like to. We would like to hear from you.



P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.

Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

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