A Novel by Thomas A. Taylor


Tiger’s Heart A novel by Thomas A. Taylor Copyright: Thomas A. Taylor First published in 2011 in the United States of America ISBN: 978-1-105-32730-8 Cover photograph by Stephen Jaffe Cover design by Thomas A. Taylor Artwork by Eric Davis-Fernald The cover depicts a real, world-class protector whose identity is secret, because she continues to protect atrisk VIPs all over the world. She is a former Marine with deployments in Iraq, a fitness trainer, and an awardwinning bodybuilder. Tiger’s Heart is a work of fiction. Other than the occasional use of historical public figures, events, and quotations of historical record, the characters, events, and dialog herein are fictional and are not intended to represent, refer to, or disparage any known person or entity, living or dead.


Other books by Thomas A. Taylor

Fiction Mortal Shield Armored Men

Nonfiction Dodging Bullets – A Strategic Guide to World-Class Protection Just 2 Seconds – Using Time & Space to Defeat Assassins


Praise for Tiger’s Heart: Gavin de Becker, Bestselling Author, The Gift of Fear: “Every page of Tiger’s Heart arises from real-life experience. Tom Taylor gives us a fascinating inside journey through the kinds of things we read about in the news - and the things we never get to read about because they’re kept secret. A great read that delivers authentic insight.” Dave Grossman, Lt. Col. (ret.), author of On Combat and On Killing: “Tom Taylor is one of the great warrior-wordsmiths of our times and Tiger’s Heart continues to give us great characters, gripping plots, and authoritative insights into the workings of the law enforcement community. Kacey Underwood is a character we have learned to love and respect in Taylor’s first two books, and now she is called upon to face new challenges with courage, integrity, and humor. It just doesn’t get any better than this!” John Giduck, JD, Ph.D., President of Archangel Group and author of Terror at Beslan, SHOOTER DOWN!, and When Terror Returns: “With Tiger’s Heart, Tom Taylor has resurrected and corrected Orwell’s famous quote, by proving that we in America sleep safely because men AND WOMEN stand ready to protect us. In a spellbinding fashion, drawing on his own years spent putting his life on the line protecting others, Taylor wraps the challenges, threats, fears and victories of a warrior’s existence in the romantic visage of heroine Kacey Underwood. A book for men and women alike!”

John Weisman, bestselling author of KBL: Kill Bin Laden: “When it comes to writing about the ins and outs of highrisk protection, Tom Taylor is the master: full stop, end of story.” Dr. James P. McGee, Director of Psychology and Forensic Services Sheppard Pratt Hospital (1983 – 2002): “Tom Taylor is the elite in the annals of protective security and he also writes a hell of a yarn. Tiger’s Heart grabs you on page one and never lets go, and you’ll be blindsided where it ends.” John Rose, CEO of Holston International Training & Consulting: “All great story tellers transport the reader to the scene visually and allow them see the action as it unfolds. Tom Taylor does this one better: he puts the reader into the head of the main character, Kacey Underwood, as she takes the reader on her traumatic journey. Get comfortable. You will want to read Tiger’s Heart in one sitting!” Hans van Beuge, CEO of Savior Protective Services: “Tom Taylor is revered by protective agents worldwide as an authoritative, master practitioner on all matters pertaining to protective operations. He is also a superb writer and I seriously recommend arming yourself with Tom’s latest high-velocity thriller, Tiger’s Heart. It is definitely top caliber!”


DEDICATION To the public figure protectors at Gavin de Becker and Associates, the National Governor’s Security Association, and the Missouri Highway Patrol Governor’s Security Division. World-class protectors all. In particular, this book goes out to all the female protectors in the world. This one’s for you, my sisters.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Gavin de Becker is a bestselling author, a good friend, and my boss. In his usual altruistic way, he took time out of his busy schedule to review Tiger’s Heart and provided amazing feedback that greatly improved my work. His inspiration touches every chapter. BDU is a master class tactical trainer in protective ops and a regional director for Gavin de Becker and Associates. He turns new agents into effective protectors and protects at-risk public figures wherever they travel. BDU reviewed Tiger’s Heart and provided feedback on the methods and tactics used by the protectors in the story. Thanks to the unnamed professionals who provided ideas and feedback on the book. If even one protective operation for a public figure gets better because of this story, then it was all worth the effort.


FOREWORD BY JEFF MARQUART (co-author of Just 2 Seconds – Using Time and Space to Defeat Assassins): I have known the author, Tom Taylor, for nearly 15 years. Tom is a different kind of writer: He is the real deal. He has protected many of the world’s most at-risk public figures over his 39-year career, and he writes with a creativity and perspective of someone who’s actually done it – all of it. Tiger’s Heart is a story of courage and true heroism. And it’s a story of hope and loyalty and brotherhood among Sheepdogs, the warriors who put their lives on the line every day to protect others from the world’s Wolves. It is the story of Kacey Underwood. You see, the author knows that being an effective Sheepdog, one who’ll be present and effective in a brief moment of extreme trial, requires one to see everything in the environment as it is. Not how one would like it to be or how it appears to be or how one expects it to be based on experience – even vast experience. “When you are given diamonds mixed with gravel, you may either miss the diamonds or find them. It is the seeing that matters.” - Indian Sage, Nisargadatta Maharaj Do Wolves really come in Sheep’s clothing? Almost always. It is in the seeing that matters. Effective Sheepdogs must see what is, and act upon it with a level of courage and confidence that is required of very few professions, and the kind of heart possessed by few people – a Tiger’s Heart.

For most people, a bad day at work can mean being fired. For warriors like Kacey Underwood, a bad day at work can mean being fired at. Tiger’s Heart offers a peek into the real world in which Sheepdog warriors like Kacey Underwood operate every day. Not a glamorous Hollywood version, but a real, gritty one. One that can be the precise opposite of glamorous: one that is often ugly. Real-life Wolves don’t always come neatly dressed to match Hollywood stereotypes, nor do the stories of real heroes. The author has seen some extraordinary things – real things - and that distinction means everything, because it results in the most rewarding journey for the reader: one that could happen. Or maybe it did happen. If I knew, of course, I wouldn’t tell. Prepare for a wild ride. And keep your eyes wide open. You’ll be surprised what you might see.


AUTHOR’S NOTE None of the public figures in this story are meant to portray any VIPs that I’ve protected in my career. The equipment and tactics are all real. All of the information on Secret Service codenames and procedures described in the story has been well documented from open sources of information, including documentaries made with the cooperation of the Secret Service. I have not included certain protective operational secrets that are considered confidential or would endanger any specific public figure. Nothing I have written here will reveal anything terrorists don’t already know. Thomas A. Taylor


O tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide! (William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part 3)

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Who will watch the watchmen? (Juvenal, Satires)


Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 43 Highway Patrol, State Section 43.330 1. The director of the governor’s security division (GSD) shall provide transportation, security, and protection for the governor and the governor’s immediate family. 2. At the discretion of the superintendent, the director of the governor’s security division may also provide transportation, security, and protection for other public officials. Section 43.150 Removal or discipline of members of patrol, procedure. 1. After a probation period of one year the members of the patrol shall be subject to removal, reduction in rank or suspension of more than three days only for cause after a formal charge has been filed in writing before or by the superintendent and upon a finding by a majority of a board of six members randomly selected from troops or divisions other than that of the accused.


Chapter 1 November 13, 0835 hours Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) General Headquarters (GHQ) Professional Standards Division (PSD) Jefferson City, Missouri “Please state your name and position for the record.” “Lieutenant Kacey Loveless Underwood, director of the Governor’s Security Division.” “And you are currently assigned to protect Governor William Ulysses Stovall and his family?” “Yes.” “And you currently reside in Jefferson City?” “That is correct.” Lieutenant Kenneth Frye looked up from his notes and examined the officer before him. Kacey Underwood’s response had seemed to hold a tone of contempt. She stared back at him with a blank face. Frye had never worked with Underwood, but he was aware of her reputation. She was a sharp officer, totally professional with a cool exterior. She never showed emotion on the job, no matter how chaotic the situation. He appreciated that, especially for someone in her position. She rubbed shoulders every day with the governor and other elected officials. An officer in such a position could wreak havoc if they said the wrong thing or acted inappropriately. But under that armored shell, Frye had heard Underwood

could wield a sharp tongue. She seemed a little tense and Frye decided to break the ice before they got to the point of this … what was this? … an interview? No, he decided. No way to sugarcoat it. This is an interrogation. He wondered how long it would take to crack open her shell. Next to Frye sat a stack of reports that described all the events they would discuss today. They were written in typical police jargon: I came, I saw, I conquered. But there was a wealth of information not included in those reports and it was his job to flesh it out. To verify everything they included, find relevant information that was not included, and decide if Lieutenant Underwood had violated Patrol or GSD policy at any step along the way. Since the PSD commander had decided Frye would be the lone interrogator, he would have to play both good cop and bad cop roles. A twoheaded monster: the angel whispering encouraging words in her right ear, while the devil shouted fearful words in her left. “Loveless?” he asked with a hint of a smile on his angel head. Underwood’s eyebrows lowered, like she was about to attack him. “It’s my grandmother’s maiden name,” she said defensively. “Loveless seems like such a sad name. Why would parents put that on a child?” “My guess is Kacey Orgasm Underwood was already taken,” she responded coolly. Frye realized his question had moved Underwood in the wrong direction. “Didn’t mean to offend you. I’ve just always found names so interesting.”

Underwood leaned forward slightly, closing the distance between them. “Oh, you mean like a guy named ‘Frye’ being assigned to grill his fellow officers for misconduct?” Gee, if your parents had only known you’d be taking cops down for a living they might have named you Kenneth Scalp-hunter Frye or something! Frye put his elbows on his desk and rested his chin on a steeple of fingers. After a moment, he pointed the steeple in Underwood’s direction. “Sorry, Kacey. Let’s get back on track…” “You started it,” she growled. “I might want to file a complaint.” Her eyes moved over to the digital video camera, recording her every word and mannerism. She realized her left leg was pumping up and down and she stopped it. She imagined she looked nervous on camera. Or guilty! He rolled his eyes. “You can take that up with my boss later, if that’s your decision.” He looked down at his notes. “And you are currently married to Sergeant Justin Wayne?” “Does that have to go into the record?” she asked. Frye shrugged. “Lieutenant Underwood, it may not be important to the investigation, but I’m not that familiar with your division and I’d like to get some background first.” “Yes. I married Justin last year after I was named division director. He transferred from Troop C to Troop F and currently commands SERT here.” The Patrol had four twenty-member Special Emergency Response Teams (SERT) stationed around the state. The teams were trained and equipped to

respond to a variety of critical incidents ranging from hostage situations to high-risk warrant service. Its members had gained national attention about two years before when Islamic terrorists had attacked an event hosted by Governor Stovall at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Sergeant Justin “Duke” Wayne had led a SERT force assigned to provide added protection to the GSD detail. “Did you first meet Justin during the attack at the Arch?” Underwood frowned again. “This sounds like ‘Match-dot-com’ or something.” She wondered if Frye was trying to fix her up with his ugly cousin. Frye arched an eyebrow at her. “Please humor me for a just few more minutes.” Underwood took a deep breath. Cool down, Kacey, she scolded herself. After a moment, she said, “No. Justin and I knew each other a few years before the attack. We didn’t start dating until after.” Idiot! she thought. Why did you put that in the record? Think before you answer! Frye nodded. “Why don’t you give me some history on your coming to the governor’s detail? You could have been a troop commander or something. Why pick that assignment as a career path?” Underwood’s heart skipped a beat. Is this guy trying to piss me off or what? Some people were clueless about the challenge of protective operations. She saw Frye as someone on the outside of the bus looking in. Underwood knew she would have to drag Frye through the entire interview, explaining every detail, every decision, every reason GSD did things the way they did. Or -- more accurately -- Frye would drag her, as he

explored the path that had led them both to this meeting. Underwood maintained a cool exterior. “Lieutenant Frye,” she said quietly, like a mother addressing her five-year-old who had just asked if he could get his own American Express card. “I might ask you the same question. Being assigned to GSD is an honor. It’s kind of like … oh, I don’t know … like being assigned to PSD. It’s not for everyone, but it’s an important job and requires a special person to do it well.” Frye didn’t respond. Underwood looked him over as she gathered her thoughts. She knew Frye had a spotless career. You couldn’t find a blemish in his personnel file with an electron microscope. She was convinced you couldn’t even find a skid mark in his undies. If he ever leaves the Patrol, he could star in a tooth paste commercial, she decided. He was damned near perfect. It would be one reason they picked him for the job. You couldn’t have dirty officers investigating the misdeeds of other officers. She had heard he was deeply religious. She had also heard he was a relentless investigator. Once he got on the trail of an officer accused of misconduct, he was the Terminator. She wondered if she drew her .40 Glock and put a round or two between his eyes, if she would see a patch of shiny metal under the torn skin and a red glow inside his eyes. “I get it,” he said. “I didn’t mean anything by it.” This office made Underwood nervous. It smelled like her doctor’s office. She decided to get on with it. “I was recruited into GSD seven years ago by Lieutenant Simon Godwin. I came into the detail as a corporal and was promoted to sergeant after David Armstrong took

over. After Sergeant Don Romanowski was killed at the Arch attack, I was named assistant division director. When the governor appointed Major Stuart Moss as colonel, Moss promoted Armstrong to captain and moved him into his office as special assistant to the superintendant. Am I going too fast for you?” She imagined his next question might be: So, Lieutenant Underwood, can you explain why it is that you only seem to get promoted when those above you get killed or ousted? Why is that? Frye smiled. “I’m trying to keep up. So you took over the division … when? After Moss became colonel?” “Yes,” she responded. “And that was after Colonel DeWitt was forced to resign, because of an infidelity scandal.” Ha! Put that in your record, Sparky! Frye tensed and his ears reddened. It was no secret that he had pole-vaulted through the ranks on DeWitt’s coattails. She might as well have leaned across the desk and stabbed him in the chest with his own silver letter opener. “Yes … yes, it was,” he muttered. His jaw clenched as he studied his notes. His eyes raised and she thought she detected a red glow behind them. She smiled. I believe the ball’s in your court, her look said. “For the record, Lieutenant Underwood, do you understand your Miranda rights, as I have explained them to you?” “I do.” “And I have explained that you have the right to have your attorney present for this questioning and you have declined to have counsel here?”

“That’s correct.” Frye was all-business now. No more Mr. Nice Guy. “Also, I have instructed you to submit to a polygraph examination to be carried out tomorrow at Troop F to verify anything you tell me today?” Underwood swallowed. She had not taken a polygraph since she was hired by the Patrol. She didn’t completely trust the process. “Yes,” she tried to state confidently. If she refused to take the test, they could dismiss her on those grounds alone for violating administrative rules. Insubordination and failure to obey the order of a superior. It was the catch-all net with which they scooped up both the guilty and the innocent. No one ever escaped. “Good,” Frye stated, sounding like a spider drawing her deeper into his web until she had no way of escaping. Frye held up a small card and read the Garrity warning from it. “I wish to advise you that you are being questioned as part of an official investigation of the Highway Patrol. You will be asked questions specifically directed and narrowly related to the performance of your official duties or fitness for office. You are entitled to all the rights and privileges guaranteed by the laws and the Constitution of this State and the Constitution of the United States, including the right not to be compelled to incriminate yourself. I further wish to advise you that if you refuse to testify or to answer questions relating to the performance of your official duties or fitness for duty, you will be subject to departmental charges, which could result in your dismissal from the Highway Patrol. If you do answer, neither your statements nor any information or evidence, which is gained by reason of such statements, can be used against you in any subsequent

criminal proceeding. However, these statements may be used against you in relation to subsequent departmental charges.” Frye fixed his gaze on her. “Do you understand the Garrity warning as I’ve explained it?” Underwood’s stomach turned over. “Yes, Lieutenant Frye. I do.” Frye put the card down and pulled a report out of his stack of papers. “I am referring to an incident report dated November 2 of this year. In it you describe a situation that occurred during a presidential visit to Columbia, Missouri. Do you remember the report?” Underwood gave him a long look. Of course I remember it. I wrote it two weeks ago. “I do.” “According to your report, this was your first physical contact with the victim.” Victim? Victim! How about “predator?” Underwood’s eyes wandered around the pictures behind Frye’s desk, giving her a moment to calm down. Frye smiling with his family. Frye smiling with his first Patrol car. Frye smiling with former superintendant Andrew DeWitt. “Would you like me to repeat the question?” “It was my first physical contact with him in the context you mean.” Frye nodded, pulled off his reading glasses, and closely examined Underwood’s face. “Why don’t you tell me about that day?”


Chapter 2 November 2, 1044 hours Columbia Regional Airport, Missouri The long presidential motorcade, codenamed Bamboo, twisted slowly across the open tarmac, leaving Air Force One behind. A few thousand screaming wellwishers and a hundred angry protesters bade them farewell from behind the runway fencing. One of two Secret Service counter-sniper teams for this detail watched them through powerful binoculars from the roof of a private hanger. The motorcade drove along a lane that ran between a small building to their left and the Central Missouri Aviation hanger to their right. It passed through a gate guarded by several airport police officers, and made a right onto South Airport Drive. “Are we going to have any trouble today?” asked the Secret Service shift leader from the right front seat of the armored SUV follow-up vehicle. Kacey Underwood knew he was talking to her. “You guys are safe here,” she replied loudly due to the noise level. “I own this town. We spent all night rounding up all the nut jobs for you.” The shift leader chuckled. The others in the vehicle did not. Kacey was squeezed into the middle of the second seat, sandwiched between two agents. The agent on her right looked as big as Marko Vanhala, the largest member of GSD. The other agent was a fit looking blonde female agent, taller than Underwood. They each held an H&K MP-5 submachine gun in a barrel-up ready position

and they looked as intent as if they were going into battle. Some of the Patrol SERT officers used the same weapon and Underwood had fired the weapon assigned to her husband. If things got dicey and one of these agents was shot down, Underwood would retrieve their weapon and join the battle. She knew the agents also carried SIG P229 handguns. It was different from her Glock 23, but she’d be able to get by if it came to that. The male agent stared out the right window and the female agent stared out the left side. Behind Underwood, another agent sat facing the rear with the back glass open. He held an M-4 assault weapon pointed out the window to engage any adversaries from that direction. Suddenly, a voice over the radio asked, “Did Lieutenant Underwood make it into the follow-up?” Everyone in the car recognized the voice of the special agent in charge (SAIC) of the Presidential Protection Division (PPD), Kirk Livingston. A few agents in the car glanced at Underwood with a new found sense of respect. Wow! The boss is asking about her personally! Underwood always made it a point to introduce herself to the agent-in-charge of any Secret Service detail she was working with. She had met Livingston twice before and he now knew her on sight and respected the professional manner in which she took care of her protectee. “She made it in Halfback,” the shift leader replied, using the vehicle’s codename. “Good,” Livingston said. “Is anybody watching that building to the left?” Another voice came on the link. “Hercules One has it covered. All clear.” Hercules was the Secret Service

codename for the counter-sniper teams. As the motorcade reached the intersection at Route H, Underwood saw a hundred or so well-wishers standing on the far side of the intersection, watching the motorcade go past. Two motorcycle officers had blocked the intersection and were eyeing the crowd. The pilot car, about a quarter of a mile ahead of them, had already moved down to the next intersection at US 63, where the motorcade would go north toward Columbia. She saw the motorcade lead car, a Highway Patrol Crown Vic with the Secret Service lead advance agent inside, make the left onto Route H and drive slowly past the crowd. Next came two identical armored SUVs. She knew the first was the spare limo, the vehicle that held a few top staff, including the president’s private physician and the military officer with the “Football” of bomb codes. If the president’s vehicle broke down, he would be moved to the spare limo to continue on. Underwood saw the vehicle ahead of hers -- the president’s vehicle codenamed Stagecoach -- turn left. This vehicle held the driver and SAIC Livingston in front, and the president, Governor Stovall, and Mrs. Stovall in the rear. As they waved out the windows, the crowd erupted excitedly. Most of the people in the crowd were waving small signs that said, Welcome Mr. President or Re-elect Governor Stovall. Underwood was stunned to see her sister and a female friend of hers, smiling and holding a large sign that said, Welcome Lt. Kacey Underwood! You rock! Their sign was larger than any of the others. The shift leader scanned the crowd as they drove past, then did a double take at Underwood’s sign. “I’ll be damned,” he stated with awe. He turned and looked back at Underwood. “You do own this town!” Now everyone in

the car laughed. Underwood’s face reddened. “See? I told you,” she said with a grin, but she was pissed. I sure hope the governor didn’t see that! She decided that after this detail was over, she would hunt down her sister and bust her knee with her ASP baton. Maybe both knees. “Why didn’t you guys bring The Beast?” Underwood asked to change the subject. “The Beast” was the distinctive, heavily-armored Cadillac sedan Underwood normally saw the president riding in. “We don’t always take that on trips,” the shift leader responded. “For something like this, we use something more low key like these SUVs to transport Renegade,” he said, using the president’s codename. “Also the clearances at the venue were too close for The Beast to negotiate.” “Bike on your right!” the rear agent called out. An instant later, a trooper on a Highway Patrol motorcycle zoomed past them on that side. There were several troopers on Kawasaki police motorcycles assisting with the motorcade. They took turns blocking a ramp or intersection while the motorcade went through, then leapfrogging ahead to the next position. It was an amazing metallic dance, choreographed to the music of gunned engines and humming run-flat tires. “I liked your sign, L.T.” said Sergeant Marko Vanhala’s voice in Underwood’s earpiece. Vanhala had recently been promoted to assistant director of GSD. “If Ringmaster saw that you’ll never hear the end of it.” Ringmaster was the codename for Governor Stovall and Rosebush was the codename for First Lady Patricia Stovall.

She clicked her wrist mike twice, rather than respond. I’m definitely breaking both of my sister’s knees, she vowed. Vanhala was riding in the governor’s armored Lincoln Navigator, codenamed Monitor, which was positioned just behind the “secure package” of the president’s motorcade. Between Halfback and Monitor, the Secret Service had placed the WHCA (White House Communication Agency) SUV with its bomb-jamming technology, another SUV with the Secret Service CAT (Counter-Assault Team) agents, and the control vehicle, containing the ID (intelligence division) agents. The Patrol had teamed up Sergeant Matt Youngblood, the Patrol’s most senior officer in the Eastern Federal District JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force), to work with the ID agent. It would be their job to identify and handle any problem people in the crowds. While the control car was the last vehicle in the “secure package,” which would break away from the rest of the motorcade in the event of an attack on the president, Underwood knew Monitor would stay with them no matter where Stagecoach went. At some point today, they would transfer Ringmaster back to his own car, and break away from the president’s visit. That might happen after the main event or after Air Force One went wheels up. She never knew for sure. Only the president decided the manifest of Stagecoach. If he wanted to ride alone, only the agents in front rode with him. If he wanted Ringmaster to ride with him all day, it was unlikely Stovall would refuse the invitation. Sergeant Bobby Davenport was driving Monitor, and the governor’s senior staff members rode in back. Chief-of-staff Bradley Naylor and press secretary Paul

Oliver Fleming were no big fans of the GSD detail, viewing them as a constant drag on the governor’s rapidly moving operation. But after their boss had been attacked twice by terrorists and received nearly a hundred death threats each year, they had grown to tolerate the hassle of having a tight ring of security around Ringmaster, wherever he went. Stretched out behind Monitor came the rest of the motorcade: two staff vans, carrying White House staff; four press vans, containing the White House press corps; two guest vans, containing special guests, other elected officials, and VIPs; the motorcade ambulance, codenamed Horsehide; and the motorcade tail car, a marked Highway Patrol car. All together there were 27 vehicles, including the motorcycles. Add to that another 40 troopers to guard intersections, overpasses, underpasses, and large culverts the motorcade would pass by. In addition, there were probably another 80 to 100 local, county, state, and federal law enforcement personnel in and around the event site, who would ensure that everyone went home alive. As the motorcade snaked down the on-ramp to US 63 north, Underwood heard the blades of a Highway Patrol Bell Jet Ranger helicopter codenamed Huntsman, chopping the air overhead as it flew cover for the motorcade. From an altitude of about 500 feet, Huntsman flew slightly ahead and off to the side of the motorcade so it would not crash into their cars if it was shot down or had a malfunction. Underwood knew the route to their destination was nearly 16 miles long and would normally take about 30 minutes. Even though their motorcade was traveling non-stop, she knew it would drive no faster than 50

miles-per-hour. “Bike on your left!” called the rear agent, as another motorcycle zoomed past. As soon as the motorcade had cleared the ramp, Underwood heard Livingston call for a “shell-game switch.” Since the crowd near the airport had seen the president in the second SUV, a terrorist in the crowd might have called attackers along the route to attack that vehicle. Underwood saw the spare limo move into the passing lane, the identical primary limo moved ahead, and the spare limo pulled in behind. Now there was a car between her and her protectee. A moment later, Underwood heard the route car, which traveled about five minutes ahead of the motorcade, call out an abandoned vehicle on the northbound shoulder of US 63 just north of the Route 163 intersection. She knew the route car contained a TSD (Technical Services Division) agent with a bomb dog, which would have swept and cleared the vehicle as containing no explosives. The agent advised Livingston he had placed an “X” of blue tape on the back window of the car to identify it as cleared. Overhead, Huntsman acknowledged they had the suspect vehicle in sight. Just to be safe, when the motorcade reached that position, Stagecoach went to the passing lane, the spare limo moved forward to cover its right side, and Halfback covered the rear of the president’s vehicle. Once they were past the threat, the vehicles returned to their original positions. Underwood realized she had been holding her breath while they passed the car on the shoulder. She relaxed her muscles and took a deep breath.

“We just talked to Wiedemann and Sawyer at the Dock,” Vanhala advised her. A “Dock” referred to an arrival or departure area. In this case, their destination was the Hearnes Center on the campus of the University of Missouri. Underwood had participated in a walkthrough of the site the day before with the Secret Service advance team. It was the same set-up as other special events she had done there in the past. The motorcade would turn off East Stadium Boulevard onto Mick Deaver Memorial Drive. Only the secure package would enter a ramp on the west side of the Hearnes Center that went down to their underground Dock. Since space was limited, the rest of the motorcade would stage at the top of the ramp until after the arrival was complete. The motorcade agent would then have the rest of the motorcade back down the ramp in reverse order, pointed out. The secure package vehicles would be turned around as soon as the president entered his holding room so they were ready for an immediate departure, if necessary. After the event, everyone would run to their vehicles, then the secure package would pull up the ramp past the rest of the motorcade, which would follow behind once they cleared the ramp. It was a complex arrangement, but typical for past presidential motorcades at this site. Vanhala continued, “Sawyer will be at the top of the ramp in case you have to jump out there. Wiedemann will meet you at the Dock and lead you, Ringmaster, and Rosebush to the Bunker. I’ll catch up.” The “Bunker” referred to the holding room where they would hang out until the event started. “Also, Captain Armstrong is there. He said to let him know if we hit any snags.” “Copy that,” Underwood responded. Corporal Alex

Wiedemann had been assigned to GSD for nearly four years. Trooper Eric Sawyer was new to the division. But he was a sharp kid and Underwood wanted to give him the experience of a high-profile event. They each had a “stash car” parked outside the Hearnes Center in case extra transportation was needed after the event. As the motorcade took the East Stadium Boulevard exit, Underwood knew they were a little over two miles from the Hearnes Center. “Vanhala to Wiedemann.” There was no response, likely because Wiedemann was in the underground Dock. “Vanhala to Sawyer.” “Sawyer, go.” “We are five minutes out.” “Copy five minutes out. The Dock is secure. But there are about a hundred protesters on the parking lot east of Faurot Field. They’ll be on your right as you approach my position.” Vanhala responded, “Copy one hundred protesters. Copy that, L.T.?” Underwood clicked her wrist mike twice. Fasten your safety belts, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the wonderful world of executive protection.


Chapter 3 November 13, 0911 hours Missouri State Highway Patrol General Headquarters Professional Standards Division Jefferson City, Missouri Frye studied Underwood’s face as she paused in the story. “So, you didn’t encounter any problems before arriving at the Hearnes Center?” Underwood scanned her memory of the event. “None that I recall.” “The cars went down the ramp, as expected.” “Yes. And we moved into the Bunker without delay.” “Who else was in that area?” “From our operation?” “Yes.” Underwood envisioned the scene. “Wiedemann led us down the hallway. Ringmaster and Rosebush were next. I was behind them. Marko caught up and had my tail. Sawyer and the governor’s senior staff arrived last.” Frye’s eyebrows went up. Marko had her tail? “It’s an expression,” Underwood explained. “It means Marko was guarding the back of our formation.” “I see.” “When we got to the Bunker, Captain Armstrong was outside the room.”

“Did he talk to the governor?” Underwood nodded. “Yes. Governor and Mrs. Stovall think the world of David Armstrong. They were upset when he left the detail, even if it was for a promotion, but Colonel Moss assured the governor he would make Armstrong available, when needed.” “How nice.” Underwood looked startled at Frye’s response. What the hell did that mean? “Please continue.” “Could I get some water?” Frye took off his reading glasses and put them aside. “Of course. How rude of me.” He fiddled with his phone for a moment, listening to the handset. Underwood heard a warbling tone outside their door, from the desk of Frye’s secretary. “Yes?” answered a muffled voice. “Nancy? Could you bring us two bottles of cold water?” Frye hung up without thanking her. He began humming and looking through his notes, planning his next assault of Mt. Underwood. Maybe he’d loop his climbing rope around her neck and walk right up her cold face. Too aggressive, he decided. Better to traverse around and sneak up on her from behind. There was a light tap at the door and “Nancy” produced two bottled waters, as though she had pulled them from a fresh spring under her desk. PSD had a private refrigerator hidden somewhere in the office. “Thanks, dear,” Frye called after her as she disappeared through his door.

Underwood opened her bottle and drank deeply. She was dry from talking. Her voice was already getting raspy. She’d be down to a whisper before the day ended. “You were describing what happened next …” Frye pried her gently. Underwood remembered the rally. “Once the governor was inside the Bunker, we posted Wiedemann and Sawyer on the door, and Marko and I went out to walk the route to the stage so we could see the final setup and look at the crowd.” “How was it arranged?” “From the Bunker, you walked about a hundred feet to a tunnel entrance onto the arena floor. The Secret Service had a pipe-and-drape curtain blocking the crowd’s view into the tunnel. Once they stepped through the curtain, they’d go up several steps to a forty-foot-long raised walkway that led to a sixteen-by-sixteen-foot stage. There were three bar stools on stage for the president and the Stovalls, plus the microphone and a teleprompter.” “Where was your detail posted during the event?” “On the floor around the stage. Marko and I were on each side of the stage, and Wiedemann and Sawyer were posted at the tunnel entrance.” “You were right there mixed with Secret Service agents?” No, we told those guys to stay in their cars, she wanted to say. Hadn’t Frye ever been to one of these events? “That is correct,” she said after a pause. Right in there with the big dogs. “But your detail wears a special pin, so the agents

know who you are?” Yeah, we pin them to our Hell’s Angels jackets, so they don’t mess with us. “That is correct.” “I see. How large was the crowd? This was a campaign rally, correct?” “Yes, a rally with about eight or nine thousand screaming people.” “And they were packed in around the stage?” Like sardines. “The Secret Service had an eight foot buffer zone from the edge of the stage to the crowd barricade. The crowd was packed in on all sides of the stage and walkway.” “So they had built an island in the middle of a sea of people?” How poetic! Yes, and a muscular Secret Service agent in a Speedo lit torches around the stage and blew a conch shell to start the rally! I had my gun hidden under my flowered Mumu. “That is correct.” “And there were agents stationed in the crowd, as well?” “Yes, doing counter-surveillance on suspects. We all knew there would be protesters hidden in the crowd. But the Secret Service had screened the attendees for weapons, so there shouldn’t have been any weapons.” “Except your weapons?” No, we sold those to the protesters. “I was referring to the crowd. Of course, everyone on the detail was armed.” Frye paused. “I would imagine there is a greater threat when the governor is around the president.”

“Our threat index goes up 100 percent when we enter the president’s kill zone.” “So if there was an attack on the president, you’d be in the middle of it.” Wow! That never occurred to me. “Someone doesn’t say, ‘I’m going to kill the governor while he’s standing beside the president.’ We’d most likely be collateral damage in an attack on the president. It’s what we call the ‘Governor Connally Scenario.’ Texas Governor John Connally was shot through the back in 1963 for no other reason than he was sitting in the car with President Kennedy when JFK was assassinated. You can never get complacent and think ‘the governor is safe because of all the Secret Service agents around us.’ In an attack, those agents will disappear in a flash as they evacuate the president. Not one agent is assigned to see that Ringmaster is protected. That’s why Marko and I always carry the Football.” Frye looked confused. “You carry Missouri’s nuclear missile codes for the governor?” Yeah. In case Illinois or Arkansas pisses us off. “It’s just our code for the health records. We both carry an encrypted thumb drive on a chain around our neck. It has the full medical records for Ringmaster and his family.” “I see. Smart idea. What was the First Lady’s mood that day? I mean how was she handling the stress of the crowd?” What?!?! Underwood couldn’t believe he had just asked that. “I beg your pardon?” “I’ve heard she is very uncomfortable around large

crowds since the Arch attack.” Actually, since the first attack in Kansas City, but that’s none of your damn business! “Lieutenant Frye, if you think I’m going to violate the privacy of my protectees on record so everyone on the planet can read it next week on Wikileaks, you are sadly mistaken.” Frye bristled at the suggestion. “Are you implying I would leak the results of an internal investigation to the press?” Underwood would not budge. “Well, you can read just about any top secret government document there or in the New York Times.” Frye was incredulous at the idea. “To my knowledge, we’ve never had a sensitive internal investigation report leak to the press.” What about the insensitive ones? Underwood shook her head. “Let’s move on to another topic.” Frye stared at her over his glasses, like she was a rude student in his classroom. She didn’t know it, but he had just tested her loyalty to the First Family. And she had passed with flying colors. Frye looked back at his notes for a moment to let her cool off. He removed his glasses and chewed on the end of the one earpiece. Now that she has set the table, it’s time for the main course. “Okay, Lieutenant Underwood. Please tell me what happened after the rally ended.”


Praise for Mortal Shield: Gavin de Becker, bestselling author of The Gift of Fear: “A terrific novel .… You’re about to board the precarious roller coaster protectors ride every day—sometimes smooth as you climb up high, sometimes getting to take in the impressive view for a moment, and sometimes diving into a steep freefall, with turns you learn about only after they’ve spun you around a few times.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of On Killing and On Combat: “A rip-roaring read from someone who has actually done it and seen it. If Tom Clancy had actually been there, placing his life on the line for politicians, and if he wrote a fiction book about it, this would be the book!” Robert Oatman, author of The Art of Executive Protection: “Tom Taylor has given us a real thriller and an invaluable inside look at executive protection from a true practitioner’s perspective.” Dr. James P. McGee, Director of Psychology and Forensic Services Sheppard Pratt Hospital (1983 – 2002): “In addition to being a terrific yarn, Mortal Shield is also a great primer in protective services.” Former Special Agent, U.S. Secret Service: “Mortal Shield describes the ‘oil and water’ relationship that is all too common among public figures and those who must protect them. Taylor has the experience, the

knowledge, and the willingness to tell this story only as a cop can tell it. And he proves once again that cops write the best cop stories!” Bridget DiCosmo, SE Live: “There is enough pulse pounding and nail-biting in the just under 300-pager to keep the reader hooked, and the novel moves along at a fast clip. The first scene is razor sharp and sets the pace for an exciting read.” Morley Swingle, author of The Gold of Cape Girardeau and Bootheel Man: “Mortal Shield is a memorable and eye-opening novel … Like Joseph Waumbaugh with street cops, Patricia Cornwell with medical examiners, and Tony Hillerman with Navajo Tribal Police, Taylor knows his material and weaves it into a good story.” Publishers Weekly: “Full of authentic detail about protective operations, Taylor’s debut gets off to a good start…” St. Louis Post Dispatch: “The book teems with technical detail about the intricate choreography of protecting a governor—and the frustration of protecting a governor whose priorities place politics ahead of prudence.” Heather Shaw, ForeWord Magazine: “This is Taylor’s first novel, but there’s nothing amateur about it. It walks and talks just like SOF (special operation forces) . . . Mortal Shield is a kind of anecdotal manifesto of why some people choose a career where

death is not a penalty for failure but the ultimate sacrifice for success. Taylor is at work on a sequel: this is definitely a series that will interest fans of Clancy and Flynn.”


Praise for Armored Men: Gavin de Becker, Bestselling Author, The Gift of Fear: “Armored Men offers the best journey through real protection, providing the exciting parts without the long hours. Tom Taylor is the only novelist who actually knows protection - and that shows on every page.” Jeff Marquart, co-author of Just 2 Seconds - Using Time & Space to Defeat Assassins: “Armored Men reads like a Hollywood action script ... only told by an author who has really done it – all of it. It is a rare treat to read such a compelling and riveting story that is also clearly based in real-world experience. A true insider’s view into the world of those who put their lives on the line for others - for a living.” Bob Duggan, President of Executive Security International (ESI), Ltd: “Seldom do close protection professionals ever get their story told by someone who knows the business better than most who are in it. Taylor knows this story well because he has spent a long career protecting others and he is exceedingly good at it. The fictional elements of Armored Men are riveting and describe a fear and foreboding that we will live with for a generation. It is a story of our times. At ESI, we gift new students this book and urge them to read it and pass it to friends. “ John Giduck, JD, Ph.D., author of Terror at Beslan, coauthor of The Green Beret In You and SHOOTER DOWN!: “Too many years ago America lost the iconic cultural

example of untainted heroes who never hesitated to place themselves in danger to protect the innocent. Tom Taylor has lived that life, that of a modern paladin who daily placed the lives of others before his own. In Armored Men he has brought back a realistic tale of just such men, proving to all that honor, duty, and code continue to exist within the ranks of our nation’s most elite.” John Weisman, seven-time bestselling author of the Rogue Warrior series: “Like all seasoned high-risk protection professionals, Tom Taylor understands that keeping your principal alive starts with thorough advance work, great intelligence, painstaking attention to detail, and thinking like the bad guys. His authoritative, exciting novel Armored Men provides ample evidence he appreciates that action-adventure thrillers demand no less. Well done, Tom!” Tony Scotti, author of Professional Driving Techniques: “Armored Men has exceeded my expectations. Although a fictional account of a Governors Protection Detail, Taylor has found a way to bridge the gap between fiction and reality to the point where the book is hard to put down. The realism of the team’s motorcade operations could be used in a classroom environment. The book could and should be used as a textbook.” John Farnam, author of The Farnam Method of Defensive Handgunning: “Taylor’s writing style is engaging and suspenseful, and

the knowledge-base is impressive. I couldn’t put it down.” Dr. James P. McGee, Director of Psychology and Forensic Services Sheppard Pratt Hospital (1983 – 2002): “Taylor is a legendary figure in the world of executive protection and Armored Men tells what that world is really like. His novel is so authentic it should be classified TOP SECRET!” John Rose, CEO of Holston International Training & Consulting: “Taylor has done it again! Strap in for a wild heartpounding story that will have you cheering for the good guys and wishing you could join the fight against the villains. You ask where all the heroes have gone. They are here in Armored Men!” Hans van Beuge, CEO of Savior Protective Services: “Armored Men is total high-speed, low-drag infotainment. For anyone in protective operations or wishing to be thoroughly entertained, Rule No. 1 is read everything written by Tom Taylor. The book is sensational.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Thomas Taylor worked on protection teams for fours governors while with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. In 1989, he was selected to be Commander of the Governor’s Security Division, a position he held for eight years. He has worked senior positions in protective operations for the Pope, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, and every U.S. President since Gerald Ford, handling protective assignments in Israel, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, Ireland, India, Italy, Greece, Turkey, The Philippines, Thailand, Canada, The Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. Following the September 11 attacks, Taylor was named the Patrol’s Anti-Terrorism Coordinator. After leaving the Patrol, he headed a team of anti-terrorism specialists that evaluated the vulnerabilities of Missouri’s most critical assets. Taylor served two terms as president of the National Governor’s Security Association (NGSA). In that capacity, he was Senior Security Consultant for the National Governor’s Association (NGA) in Washington, D.C., and helped formulate security plans for NGA events nationwide. Taylor has trained hundreds of people in dignitary protection and survival tactics and is a regular instructor at the Advanced Threat Assessment and Management Academy at UCLA’S Conference Center. He was selected to serve on the Development Team for the MOSAIC Threat Assessment System currently used by the U.S.

Supreme Court, the CIA, the US Marshals Service, and agencies protecting governors of twelve states. Thomas Taylor currently works as Special Projects Manager for Gavin de Becker and Associates, a firm that advises and protects high-risk public figures. He served as detail leader for the large security team protecting Arnold Schwarzenegger during his campaign for governor of California. The Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM) in Florida published Taylor’s book, Dodging Bullets - A Strategic Guide to World-Class Protection, in 2000. His name appears in the acknowledgments of Gavin de Becker’s bestsellers The Gift of Fear and Fear Less, and also the 1998 Secret Service report Protective Intelligence and Threat Assessment Investigations, for his assistance in reviewing these documents. In 2008, Taylor co-authored a groundbreaking book on public figure protection, Just Two Seconds – Using Time and Space to Defeat Assassins, as well as his debut novel, Mortal Shield. His follow-up novel, Armored Men, was published in 2010.


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