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Monday, 2 December 2013

Torn from the news – ‘endangered species’

Spanish Eye contains 22 cases from Leon Cazador, half-English, half-Spanish private eye.  Its just been published by Crooked Cat Publishing.

The vast majority of these cases are based on true events…  The short story ‘Endangered Species’ was first published in magazine format in 2006: here is a very brief excerpt:

Endangered Species

 “She ensures you get the best product
your money can buy.”

He had large eyes, big ears and, surprisingly, his middle finger was very long on each hand.

“He looks cute,” I said, lowering the photograph of the little aye-aye. His hair was black, and he had a long bushy tail. His eyes seemed to be expressing surprise at finding himself in a cage rather than the diminishing rainforests of Madagascar. Perhaps the daylight conditions affected him, too, which wasn’t strange really, as his kind is nocturnal. “But,” I added, shaking my head in mock concern, “my fiancée wants something a bit more exotic. Know what I mean?”

“A pity, Señor Santos, because we have many aye-ayes.” Lazaro Perez shrugged his broad shoulders as if the fate of his primates was of little concern to him.

It was a hot day, as usual, and we were glad of the air-conditioning in the roadside bar. Condensation formed little globules on the sides of our small glasses of Mahou beer. The plates had recently contained tasty tapas but were now empty, save for the odd breadcrumb.

Brushing a few crumbs off the table, Perez slid across another colour photograph. “This, I think, will be more to your fiancée’s taste, no?”

In times like these, I wondered what in my childhood had influenced me to lie so well. While I certainly had a lady close to my heart, I had no fiancée. My calling required that I adopted an alias from time to time, and as far as Perez and his business associates were concerned, I was Carlos Ortiz Santos, rather than my true self, Leon Cazador. What was one’s true self, though? I shook off such heavy introspective thoughts and studied the photograph.

For the rest, please read Spanish Eye

From time to time news reports echo the Cazador tales, and this is but one of them. According to some reports, the US is the third biggest market for products obtained from this illegal trade: every Chinatown is a magnet…

Yesterday, it was reported that Prince William stated, ‘Each one of us can help by raising our voices to support [the fight against this evil]. We have to be the generation that stopped the illegal wildlife trade.’ Next February, he and others will set up a summit to urge the governments of 50 countries to fight back. See my blog of ________________.

And here’s an excerpt from my book Blood of the Dragon Trees:

‘Tigers are being hunted to extinction,’ Andrew Kirby said, ‘but I’m sure you know that.’

            Condescending swine, Laura thought, and nodded.

‘Well, tiger bone is supposed to help rheumatism. The poor animal’s nose is used for treating epilepsy and its brain gets rid of pimples and cures laziness!’

            ‘You’re kidding me, aren’t you?’ She lowered her Dorada glass, and licked the foam off her upper lip. ‘This is the twenty-first century, you know.’

            He shook his head and said ruefully, ‘I wish I was kidding. Believe it or not, Chinese stores in UK sell this banned stuff – and a lot more besides. And similar shops exist throughout Europe.’

She put out a hand and rested it on Andrew’s. ‘That’s absolutely awful. Maybe they’re only wild animals, but they’re beautiful creatures and don’t deserve to be slaughtered for idiotic reasons like removing pimples!’

            Andrew sighed. ‘If it were only so simple. For over a thousand years, the poor old tiger has been known for its supposed healing powers – pills, creams, plasters, powders in traditional Chinese medicines. And it’s not just tigers they rely on for their medicines: leopard and rhino are slaughtered to pander to their needs.’

            ‘I know the rhino isn’t the most attractive of creatures, but even I have heard that the white rhino is close to extinction.’ She smiled, gazing into memory. ‘Their babies, like the hippos, are cute, just miniatures of their parents…’

            ‘Cute doesn’t cut it where big money’s involved, Laura. Not so long ago, 150 rhino horns, valued at over two million pounds, were seized in a couple of London lock-ups.’

Spanish Eye paperback - UK here
Spanish Eye paperback Amazon com here

Spanish Eye uk kindle here

Spanish Eye Amazon com kindle here

Blood of the Dragon Trees uk paperback here

Blood of the Dragon Trees uk kindle here

Blood of the Dragon Trees Amazon com kindle here

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