Tiger Stone….

2 May

Another GSP release from Author of the Week: Cody Stanford.

The Tiger Stone by Cody Stanford

Private eye Kimball Glock hunts for a stolen diamond through the jazz-magic streets of postwar New York City. Kimball uncovers the stone in the teeth of a shapeshifting tiger-boy who hides from a witch bent on the child’s enslavement. Tough guy Kimball is shattered by his selfish betrayal of the boy before being swept by magic both dark and light into a final battle for the weretiger’s soul.


A time once in New York City when magic fell like snow; the postwar years when nylons wrapped women’s legs again and skirts hugged billowing hips. Automobiles, so big they made my apartment look like a mousehole, rumbled through the city both at reveille and lullaby. Neon tubes and incandescent bulbs were the night shepherds of jazz, hustling the music like impish American kids. Music was in the air, but murder was always on the ground.

Magic touched me one cold January, but not the nostalgic magic of long-gone postcards. This was magic more ancient and evil, like wizened, long-dead apple hearts. I found murder and magic shining in a diamond that was and a tiger that wasn’t; in a mother who profaned the title and another woman who earned it. When I bother with business cards, they read Kimball Glock, Private Detective. It never crossed my mind when I first met the Princess that before long I would wind up married to a witch.

Erol Sadler was already dead when I reached his apartment, five floors up on Broome, Lower East Side. I kept my hat and overcoat on in case I had to leave quickly. Erol’s life lay tossed about his place like so much trash. I had come for a diamond. So had Erol’s assassin, who left Erol dead on his stomach. A line of blood dotted the top of Erol’s balding dome like red bugs marching for the forest of his salt-and-pepper head ruff. The mess of trash ended by the bedroom door, where the murderer must have found the diamond. Perhaps it had been hidden in the oddments spilled from an overturned coffee can or buried among wrinkled bills fluttering from an old cigar box. I cursed my luck. I was now in a war for the diamond, but I was naïve about who else was after it. The witch had hired me, though at that time I still called her the Princess. Without the shiny rock, she would withhold the rest of my payment. The gem was lost again. How long would it take to find the diamond now, to solve a murder as well as a robbery?

I pondered asking the Princess for a higher fee when I flinched in double surprise. The diamond appeared right in front of me, sparkling amber-white-black; beautiful and priceless. It was all mine if I could merely figure out how to pry the stone loose from the sharp teeth of the approaching tiger cub.

* * *
At first she was the Princess, because the week before I found Erol, she slinked into my office with that moneyed air of ownership that flew far above my world. A Princess who came to the Lower East Side to hire me. Likely she possessed dark and dirty secrets worth money, if they were but kept secret. Jaleh Zadeh was her name. She had long black hair and whiskey skin; my type for certain, like my lady Angela DiMarco, feisty and full of mystery. Jaleh Zadeh’s eyes were polished onyx flame. When she entered my office, she fingered a break in the frosted glass on the door, a corner shattered during a door-slamming fight with Angela. Jaleh looked like the kind of woman who caused a lot of broken glass, too.

The Princess purred my name, hackling up to a growl; “Mr. Kimball Glock,” deep in her throat like a stuck raspberry seed. “I am missing my diamond and my son.”

I stood from the chair behind my desk and stubbed out a cigarette in a pile of butts that hid an ashtray somewhere underneath. “How old is your son?” I said.

“Eight, if he’s still alive. He was taken from me three years ago.”

“Who took him?”

“The same man who stole my diamond.”

I tried to be clever. “And how old is the diamond?”

“Five thousand years.”

What the hell? I was lucky if my sort of clients owned paste diamonds hidden in their panty drawers. “When was the gem taken?”

“Two days ago.”

“You’re sure the same man took the diamond and the boy?”

The brief lowering of her gaze told me she might be reaching for some high melodrama that didn’t exist. “Possibly.”

“Which is more precious to you?”

“What sort of horrid question is that, Mr. Glock?”

“Call me Kimball. If I find them both in a burning building, I want to know which one to grab first.”






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