Friday, April 2, 2021

Glenn Stout's "Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid"

Glenn Stout wrote his first free-lance story in 1986 for Boston Magazine and since that time has never been without an assignment. A full-time writer and author since 1993 he has authored, co-authored, edited or ghostwritten 100 books for both general trade and juvenile audience, primarily focusing on sports and history.

Stout applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid: America's Original Gangster Couple, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid is the first page of Chapter Seven, “A Movie Thriller.” It begins: “Whittemore [AKA “The Candy Kid”] was white hot. Being wanted for murder gave him status in the underworld far above that of other two-bit stickup artists, bootleggers and hijackers. He was a somebody now, his picture in the papers and his name on everyone’s lips. Margaret [Whittemore, Richard’s wife, AKA “Tiger Girl”] was white hot too, and almost as well known as her husband. But notoriety didn’t pay the bills or fuel Whittemore's efforts to avoid arrest. They both needed money…” picking up the story just as America’s original crime couple were about to become nationally known figures.

The page 99 test fortuitously drops the reader right smack into the middle of the story of the Whittemores, two working-class kids from Baltimore who decided to reach for their vision of the American Dream without regret. Richard has just escaped from the Maryland State Penitentiary, killing a guard in the process. He is beginning a life on the lam, subject of a nationwide manhunt and preparing to rejoin his young wife, Tiger Girl, who has been waiting for her husband since he was arrested and jailed just a week after their wedding. Unable to find work, and enthralled by the excesses of the era, they decide its time to live like the swells they see partying non-stop in the speakeasies and cabarets of the Roaring Twenties. Together, they make the decision to put together a gang that in another year would embark on a crime spree that would see the crew steal over one million dollars in cash and jewelry – primarily diamonds – and make them famous from coast-to-coast, anti-heroes to a generation of Jazz-mad young Americans enthralled by their romance and bold reach for infamy. For a brief time, as they spent blood money like water, they lived life as if they were stars in their own movie, every desire fulfilled.
Visit Glenn Stout's website.

--Marshal Zeringue