Lights Out Summer: A Coleridge Taylor Mystery

Rich Zahradnik. Camel, $15.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-60381-213-9
In Zahradnik’s well-plotted fourth Coleridge Taylor mystery (after 2016’s A Black Sail), Taylor, a journalist who works for a small wire service in New York City, ignores the Son of Sam story everyone is chasing in 1977 and instead goes after the largely ignored murder of Martha Gibson, a 24-year-old black woman who was shot dead in her Queens apartment. Gibson earned a college degree from City College, and worked her way up from secretary to a sales position at a company headquartered in the Empire State Building. When her boss sexually harassed her, she quit and took a job as a maid for the DeVries family on Park Avenue. The police aren’t interested in Gibson’s apparently senseless shooting, but Taylor gets several possible leads from Martha’s drug-using sister, Abigail, whom Martha was supporting, as well as members of the DeVries household. 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. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/07/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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