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A Novel by Thomas A. Taylor
Praise for Last Came Anarchy: Jeff Marquart, co-author of Just 2 Seconds - Using Time & Space to Defeat Assassins: “Tom Taylor has done it again! Each of his books has been better than the previous work, and Last Came Anarchy is his best yet. I know you'll agree.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of On Killing and On Combat: “Tom Taylor is our generation's Joseph Wambaugh, and Last Came Anarchy is his best yet! A real cop and a great wordsmith, writing gripping page-turners that give a powerful insight into the reality of the world we live in. If you like Brad Thor and Tom Clancy, you'll love Tom Taylor!” Hans van Beuge, CEO of Savior Protective Services, Australia: “Tom Taylor extricates the Missouri Governor and his Security Division off the X once again in his latest thriller. Written in his masterful, trademark style, Last Came Anarchy is classic Taylor, fully-loaded with an incendiary-paced storyline based on realworld violence and danger. Not just a novel, more like a literary Close Protection simulator!” John Giduck, Ph.D., J.D.: “Tom Taylor has produced a work of ‘seeming’ fiction so real that it may yet prove to be haunting in its prescience. Only someone who has spent a career studying the motivations and behaviors of society’s predators could accomplish the creation of a story line and antagonist in such detail. If made into a movie, Last Came Anarchy will be the blockbuster of the year.” John Weisman, bestselling author of KBL: Kill Bin Laden: “Once again, Tom Taylor has written the sort of truth that is best told in fiction. Last Came Anarchy is an executive protection specialist’s handbook, masquerading as a novel.”
Tony Scotti, CEO of Tony Scotti Associates: “By far this is Tom’s best book. The attention to detail is incredible, and like all good novels it builds to a ‘can’t put the book down’ ending. Last Came Anarchy is a must-read book, not only because it’s a great novel, it’s also packed with valuable ‘lessons learned’ that can only come from someone with Tom’s background and experience.” John Rose, CEO of Holston International Training & Consulting: “In Last Came Anarchy, Tom Taylor keeps the reader on the edge of their seat through the twists and turns faced by professional protectors saddled with a less than noble protectee. Last Came Anarchy would make one hell of a movie!” Dr. James P. McGee, Director of Psychology and Forensic Services Sheppard Pratt Hospital (1983 – 2002): “Last Came Anarchy is another great read from Tom Taylor. The plot is right out of today's headlines and it has the authenticity of a ‘live-from-the-scene’ news report.”
Other books by Thomas A. Taylor
Fiction Mortal Shield Armored Men Tiger’s Heart
Nonfiction Dodging Bullets – A Strategic Guide to World-Class Protection Just 2 Seconds – Using Time & Space to Defeat Assassins
LAST CAME ANARCHY
A Novel by Thomas A. Taylor
LAST CAME ANARCHY A novel by Thomas A. Taylor Copyright: Thomas A. Taylor First published in 2012 in the United States of America ISBN: 5800082075034 Cover photograph by Cadillacpix (Website: http://cadillacpix.com) Cover design by Thomas A. Taylor Artwork by Eric Davis-Fernald LAST CAME ANARCHY 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.
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.
Foreword by Gavin de Becker Bestselling Author, The Gift of Fear Public figures constitute a small fraternity whose members face unusual and sometimes alarming challenges. Though they’d all be wise to meet at least a minimum standard of precaution, not all do – and just as it usually shows when people have protection, it also shows when they don’t. Some public figures believe information about safety and security should never be discussed publicly, but the topic will occasionally be on the agenda for journalists regardless of whether a public figure places it there. Examples you’ll probably recognize include: “... walks around without guards; shuns security precautions; lives like a regular person; resists security advice; drives himself to and from work; on a typical day, walks through the park near his home.” When the general public observes a prominent person, they also observe whether adequate attention is paid to safety and privacy. In fact, the way the topic of security is promoted or presented can be an important precaution – or a significant risk. Photos and news stories that depict public figures in the privacy of their homes send a clear signal of a public life without boundaries. If a public figure decides it’s important to be photographed or filmed at home, it is wise if balanced by some reference to precautions, e.g., “The serenity of the thirty-acre property is closely guarded by sophisticated security program.” Presentations without such balance foster a false intimacy, which is part of the process that leads to unwanted pursuit. Bizarre though it might seem, the greatest intimacy most assassins ever attain is with those they attack. How a public figure lives, what he does, where he goes, how he approaches famousness will all be explored and speculated upon by journalists. The useful question is, How can the topic be presented so that it serves safety and deters
unwanted pursuers — instead of inviting them? I refer to this as creating a strong public posture on the topic of security. The challenge is to strike a critical, delicate balance regarding what type of information, and what level of detail, to reveal to the public. While presenting a strong public posture on security has proven to be an effective deterrent to unwanted pursuers, revealing too much information can provide adversaries with meaningful advantages. While protective strategists seek to draw the line with surgical precision, news media and activist organizations seek to blur the line at every opportunity. They want to know everything. They pursue and pry and pay for the most detailed private information they can obtain, and they print it without regard for the safety of public figures or their families. Few people ever consider that public figures and public officials –the human beings on the television screen- are not ours. Nor are they case studies. They are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. Boundaries, particularly boundaries related to safety, are appropriate and necessary. In Last Came Anarchy, Tom Taylor navigates this delicate topic, along with many other real-world challenges faced by those who protect public figures. You’ll see it all in these pages through the eyes of someone who has lived his life as a worldclass protector. In short, Tom Taylor is the real McCoy. Last Came Anarchy is a fascinating and compelling thriller that also teaches. You’ll stand at the edge of the cliff alongside the protectors who lean over that cliff every day. Sometimes, they even jump off and repel down the side. Hold on tight.
AUTHOR’S NOTE While the majority of the “Occupy” protest groups around America have conducted peaceful protests, there have been others that have not. In some major cities, the Occupy groups have become violent and destructive, clashing with police and resulting in hundreds of arrests. For purposes of this story, I have invented a parent group called “Occupy Missouri” under which local Occupy groups organize. For example, the “Occupy Missouri - St. Louis” (OMSTL) and “Occupy Missouri - Jefferson City” (OM-JC) groups do not actually exist and should not be confused with such groups as OSTL (Occupy St. Louis) and OJC (Occupy Jefferson City), which do exist. None of the public figures in this story are meant to portray any VIPs that I’ve protected in my career. The threat assessment discussions about assassin profiles are based in fact. The equipment and tactics are all real. 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. 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. Thomas A. Taylor
Last came Anarchy; he rode On a white horse splashed with blood; He was pale even to the lips, Like Death in the Apocalypse Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819, The Mask of Anarchy
Prologue I do begin to have bloody thoughts. William Shakespeare, The Tempest, written in 1610-11 April 21, 0325 hours Walden’s Pharmacy parking lot Springfield, Missouri The young man strode to his car, his eyes scanning the deserted parking lot. The headlights on his Jeep Wrangler flashed as he pressed the key fob. Climbing quickly behind the wheel, he again scanned the area for any sign of surveillance. Seeing none, he opened the bag and removed the packet of photos he had just retrieved from Walden's 24-hour photo service desk. He carefully went through each photo twice. He finally selected the one he would upload to his Facebook page. The photo was one he had taken of himself. His features were concealed by a camouflage hunter's veil, as were all of his photos on the social website. In the photo, he was dressed completely in black and held a pistol in each hand in a posture similar to that of Virginia Tech killer Seung Hui Cho. He had set up the account with a false name and other fake identifiers, such as his birthday, school, and hometown. It was a violation of Facebook rules for someone to set up a fake account, but they hadn’t detected him yet. His profile claimed he was an "anarchist for Allah," although he was not Muslim and had never practiced the faith. One photo on his page showed him in a pose like a ninja warrior, though he had never taken any class in martial arts or self defense. The young man knew a lot about assassins and spree killers. He had studied them for several years. He had spent
hundreds of hours on the Internet, reading articles on Wikipedia, TruTV, and other websites. He was always careful to access his Facebook account from Wi-Fi hotspots in the area, and not from his home. He did not want police knocking on his door, at least until he had completed his task. He had a hit list of important people who needed to be killed that included a corporate CEO, a famous country singer, a local judge, and a high level politician. All the targets represented what the young man believed were the worst, most greedy people in society, who took what they wanted and gave nothing back. Each target was a member of the “One Percent.” In 2008, the young man and his friends had seen a documentary film on HBO entitled, The One Percent about the growing gap of wealth between America’s most elite compared to the rest of society -- the 99 percent. The film got lackluster reviews, but struck him as being the most profound movie he had ever seen. He couldn’t get it off his mind. He recorded the movie onto DVD and watched it over thirty times. He purchased a poster of the movie and put it on the wall of his room, along with a poster from his other favorite film, the 2006 movie “V for Vendetta.” He constantly brought the topic up to his friends until they became sickened of his obsession and began to avoid him. They had drifted away from him, one by one. Even his girlfriend had moved on. He was left feeling bitter and alone. Years later, the “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS) movement began in September 2011. The young man was thrilled there were others like him around the country who were willing to take a stand against the establishment. He traveled to New York City and talked an older couple into letting him put his sleeping bag in their tent at Zuccotti Park, where the protesters had built a tent city. The couple wasn’t there half the time anyway. During the day, he marched with the protesters, usually wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses to conceal his features. Sometimes he wore a “V for Vendetta” mask, which represented the character Guy Fawkes. Fawkes was a member of the Gunpower Plot in 1605 to bomb the House of Lords,
assassinating King James I of England. Fawkes was captured, tortured, and executed after the plot was foiled. The Fawkes mask had become a symbol of all “Occupy” movements in America. But as aggressive and “out there” as many of the OWS protesters were, they weren’t quite aggressive enough for the young man. By the time the New York City police ousted the campers in mid-November, the young man had lost his zeal for this particular group, though not the movement. He drove his Jeep Wrangler back to Missouri the following day and moved back in with his father. But the boiling rage that had grown inside him did not go away. He decided to take his own course. One that would make him a figurehead for future “Occupy” movements. He would strike a blow against the specific factions he blamed for corruption and social injustice in a way that no one could ignore. The young man put the photos back in the package and opened his glove compartment to stow them for safekeeping. As the lid flew open, his father’s Smith & Wesson M&P compact .45 pistol flopped into view with an extra 8-round magazine. Both weapon and magazine were fully loaded with Cor-Bon DPX hollow point ammo, designed for deep penetration and more reliable expansion than most other types of hollow point ammunition. He chastised himself for forgetting the weapon was there. What if a cop asks for your registration, Kyle? “Idiot!” he muttered to himself. Kyle started the vehicle and drove slowly off the parking lot, heading for his father’s house. Who to kill first? he wondered. Everything was nearly in place to start his killing spree. He knew the order would likely depend on the availability of the target. He couldn’t very well ignore a target that fate lured into his sights. He had researched them all thoroughly. He knew where most of them lived and where they worked.
Kyle decided the judge would be first. He was local, requiring no travel outside Springfield, and he was approachable and accessible. Those were really the deciding factors.
BOOK 1: THE SHIELD OF ACHILLES And once the god had made that great and massive shield he made Achilles a breastplate brighter than gleaming fire, he made him a sturdy helmet to fit the fighter’s temples ... the goddess laid the armor down at Achilles’ feet and the gear clashed out in all its blazoned glory. A tremor ran through all the [warriors’] ranks -- none dared to look straight at the glare, each fighter shrank away. Not Achilles ... The glory of armor lit the skies and the whole earth laughed, rippling under the glitter of bronze, thunder resounding under trampling feet of armies. And in their midst the brilliant Achilles began to arm for battle ... so the gleam from Achilles’ well-wrought blazoned shield shot up and hit the skies ... Achilles now like inhuman fire raging on through the mountain gorges splinter-dry, setting ablaze big stands of timber, the wind swirling the huge fireball left and right -- chaos of fire -- Achilles storming on with brandished spear like a frenzied god of battle trampling all he killed and the earth ran black with blood! The Iliad, c. 8th century BC, translation by Robert Fagles, Chapters 18, 19, and 20.
Chapter 1 Known affectionately as “the Beast,” the 2009 Cadillac now in use was put into service for Barack Obama’s inauguration. The Beast lives up to its moniker. Built on top of a GMC truck chassis, the vehicle is armor-plated, with bulletproof glass and its own supply of oxygen. It is equipped with state-of-the-art encrypted communications gear. It has a remote starting mechanism and a self-sealing gas tank. The vehicle can keep going even when the tires are shot out. It can take a direct hit from a bazooka or grenade. The car’s doors are eighteen inches thick, and its windows are five inches thick. Ronald Kessler, In the President’s Secret Service April 28, 1838 hours State Capitol Building Jefferson City, Missouri Achilles crouched quietly in the cavernous garage of the Capitol Building. At this hour, the garage was nearly deserted, making the vehicle seem that much more impressive, like the other vehicles in the garage were giving it some room out of respect. Achilles’ gleaming black skin hid its strategic secrets: 403-horsepower 6.2-liter Vortec V8 engine, all-wheel drive, full OnStar security and navigation package, 6-speed automatic transmission. And then there was the armor! State-of-the-art composite materials were added after-market by one of the top armoring companies in Texas to enable Achilles to withstand nearly all small arms fire, as well as explosions from pipe bombs, grenades, and other small explosives. Like the vulnerable heel of the mythical Greek hero from which the vehicle took its name, Achilles did have a vulnerability from weapons designed to defeat armored vehicles. Shaped charges, RPGs, and large IEDs could defeat the armor, but its three-inch-thick windows could
withstand multiple hits from a .50 caliber rifle. But those weapons were rarely used in America, so Achilles also relied on its stealth capabilities by blending in with the thousands of other new gleaming black, Cadillac Escalades that traveled the highways in America. Everything from the Michelin run-flat tires, which would allow Achilles to drive up to 125 miles at 55 mph, to the explosion-suppressant and self-sealing fuel tank, was completely invisible from the casual observer or the surveilling terrorist. Like the fleet of armored vehicles maintained and used by the Secret Service, the specs, weight, and abilities of Achilles would be a closely-held secret. Achilles’ driver, Sergeant Bobby Davenport, stood twenty feet away, facing the vehicle, drinking in every square inch of the magnificent machine. His critical eye detected a white speck of debris on Achilles’ broad hood. He strode to the vehicle and carefully wiped the dirt away with a white handkerchief. He performed another walk-around, closely inspecting the surface for additional lint. Davenport had worked hard to make Achilles possible and he felt a deep sense of pride and relief that the vehicle was actually now in service. He was in charge of the armored fleet for the Governor’s Security Division (GSD) of the Missouri Highway Patrol. The first armored vehicle obtained by GSD, codenamed Merrimac, was a Chevrolet Suburban, which now had over 175,000 miles on it. Even though the vehicle was maintained in peak condition, it had become outdated with its thick Lexan windows that would not roll down. Even a person who knew little about such vehicles could see it was armored and that was a liability. GSD only used the vehicle now for backup transportation for Governor William Ulysses Stovall, codenamed Ringmaster, and his family. The second armored vehicle GSD had purchased was a Lincoln Navigator, codenamed Monitor, which was more state-of-the-art. But since it was used nearly every day to transport Ringmaster, Monitor had quickly run up the odometer to over 60,000 miles. One year before, Davenport had gone to work on the goal to retire Merrimac,
move Monitor to a back-up role, and bring in a new primary vehicle, codenamed Achilles, named after the half-man/half-god Greek hero. It seemed an appropriate title. While Monitor and Merrimac both had an armor rating of B6+ (CEN) or NIJ-III, Achilles carried heavier armor with a B7 or NIJ-IV+ rating. When the fully-armored vehicle had been delivered three-days before at the Patrol garage, located at Troop F Headquarters outside Jefferson City, Davenport had taken it out on the Patrol driving track to test its handling and performance. Davenport was likely the best driver in the Missouri Highway Patrol. He was the lead instructor for training carried out at the Patrol’s track and he often took GSD members there to improve their abilities behind the wheel of whatever vehicle the governor was riding in. The added weight of Achilles’ armor made it perform differently from a stock vehicle. Davenport started off with evasive maneuvers to get the feel of it, then graduated to more aggressive maneuvers. He had decided against trying a Jturn or Bootlegger turn-around. If he rolled over the $155,000 vehicle before it even had 100 miles on it, he’d be drummed out of his job. Davenport had returned to the garage and turned loose the Patrol’s mechanics and radio personnel on it, who installed an under-the-hood siren, hidden red and blue emergency lights behind the front grill, wig-wag controls for the headlights, and the latest encrypted radio package. When Monitor was put in service, the Patrol had installed a Panasonic Toughbook laptop in the left rear captain’s station and given the vehicle full high-speed Wi-Fi capabilities with access to Patrol databases. Achilles got the next generation with the latest iPads secured in charging stations at the right front seat and at each of the left and right captain’s chairs in the rear. Davenport had gotten word that morning that Achilles was ready for service. He had picked up the vehicle and had it cleaned, fully fueled, and parked in the Capitol garage to surprise the man for whom the vehicle had been designed to protect -- Governor William Ulysses Stovall. A female voice in Davenport’s earpiece broke his
thoughts. “Ringmaster will be down in five minutes,” the voice of Lieutenant Kacey Underwood informed him. She had been GSD director for over a year and ran the day-to-day operation to protect Missouri’s chief executive and his family. “Copy that,” he responded into his wrist mike. His eyes swept the garage, but he detected no threats. “The Dock is secure,” he muttered, adding with a smile, “Achilles nervously awaits your arrival.” “Ringmaster’s going to love it,” Underwood assured him. He’ll question it, she thought to herself, complain about the cost, question the need for it, grouse about the unavoidable press inquiries, but he’s also going to love it. She was ready for Ringmaster’s debate on the issue. Seven minutes later, Kacey’s voice called out, “Ringmaster’s headed down.” “Copy.” Less than a minute later, the garage elevator opened and Lieutenant Underwood stepped out first, glancing around. Ringmaster came out next and followed her toward his normal parking space. When Ringmaster noticed his parking space was empty, he stopped and eyed Davenport. “Where’s my car, Bobby?” Davenport shrugged. “I’m not sure, sir. Guess we’ll have to take this one.” He waved his arm in the direction of Achilles, like Vanna White, introducing the grand prize a contestant had just won. For the first time, Governor Stovall’s eyes fell on Achilles. His look of confusion was replaced by one of awe. He knew the vehicle was in the budget, but he had no clue it had been delivered. “Achilles!” he whispered. “It’s ... it’s ...” “Beautiful?” Underwood asked. “It’s awesome!” he corrected her. He strode to the
vehicle as Davenport opened the left rear door for him. Stovall looked inside, then strode around to try out his favorite position: the right front seat. Underwood beat him around and had the door open. Stovall slid inside and looked around. “Nice!” He rubbed his hand on the ebony-colored leather seat. “TEHAMA leather,” she answered his silent question. She sounded like a car salesman at the local Cadillac dealership, trying to beef up his end-of-the-month sales. Ringmaster looked at her sadly, as though he couldn’t accept the vehicle. Here we go! thought Underwood. “It’s beautiful, Kacey, but the press will roast me for being so extravagant. This thing must have cost a small fortune. In these tough economic times, the voters will have a fit.” Underwood shook her head. “We’ve gone over this before, sir. The taxpayers are only out about $35,000; the cost of a standard SUV for the Highway Patrol. All the remaining costs -the additional $50,000 for this vehicle and another $70,000 to have it armored -- all came from private funds. The press has no right to know the source or amount of those funds. It’s a huge bargain for the state, and they’ll more than recover the cost when the vehicle is serviced out. Even with the miles on Monitor right now, it’s still worth about $100,000.” “Yeah, but they’ll squall about me even needing to ride in an armored vehicle.” “Over sixty percent of public figures are attacked while they are in or around their vehicles. Government figures put the number of terrorist attacks and kidnappings around the victim’s car at 80 to 90 percent. Riding from Point A to Point B is your most vulnerable and dangerous activity. More than 5 million car accidents happened in the U.S. last year; over 30,000 deaths and more than two million injured.” “A big SUV didn’t help Governor Corzine much.”
A high-speed collision in 2007 had left New Jersey Governor John Corzine with a fractured femur, broken collarbone, broken sternum, and 11 broken ribs. “Actually it saved his life,” Underwood stated. “Corzine wasn’t wearing a seat belt and his driver was going 91 miles-perhour. If he hadn’t been in a big, heavy SUV, he’d have been killed. His driver was belted in and wasn’t seriously injured.” Ringmaster was running out of resistance. The strong smell of the TEHAMA leather was luring him in like a seductive narcotic. “But it’s a Cadillac Escalade. It’s not fuel efficient. Couldn’t we have gotten a ... a ...” He stopped, trying to remember the names of other vehicles. Underwood was ready. “I was going to get you an armored Chevy Volt, but it burned up on the parking lot.” Chevrolet had recently issued another recall for all Volts due to a fire hazard. “We test drove an armored Toyota Prius, but with the added weight from the armor it would only go about three miles before the battery was drained, top speed was only 35 miles-per-hour, and it rolled over every time you took a corner...” Ringmaster chuckled, knowing Underwood was being sarcastic. “Okay, okay, I surrender.” He looked around the interior again and started to pull his door closed. “Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get this badass Caddy in gear and head for the Mansion.” “Achilles, sir,” Kacey corrected him. “Its name is Achilles.” Stovall nodded, “Yes, I sense David Armstrong has had his nose buried in Homer’s Iliad, again.” David Armstrong had taken over GSD after Stovall was elected governor. He now served as special assistant to Colonel Stuart Moss, the Patrol’s commander. Technically, Kacey Underwood was Ringmaster’s detail leader, but she now answered to Captain David Armstrong, who maintained a
guiding hand on the GSD team. Ringmaster pulled his heavy armored door closed. Underwood jumped into the seat behind him. Bobby Davenport started the vehicle. Achilles growled to life, its running boards retracted, like it was preparing for battle. Davenport put the vehicle in gear and eased it toward the garage exit. Across from them on the other side of the parking garage, a man stood silently in the shadows of a maintenance area. He hadn’t been able to hear the governor’s conversation with his bodyguards, but the man could figure most of it out. The bodyguards had just presented Governor Stovall with a new vehicle. An extravagant vehicle. No doubt, paid for by the hardworking taxpayers of Missouri. The man watched with great interest, as the vehicle left the garage.
Chapter 2 Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) April 29, 1433 hours Missouri State Highway Patrol General Headquarters Office of Lieutenant Kacey Underwood Jefferson City, Missouri Kacey Underwood was in a good mood. She was nearly finished emptying the inbox of her small office and was toying with the thought of calling it an early day. Governor Stovall was heavily engaged with the legislative session and would be spending much of the week working in the Capitol Building with the House and Senate leadership. There were only a few quick trips around the state on his schedule and she had assistant GSD director Marko Vanhala set to handle most of those trips. Her reverie was interrupted by a light knock at her doorway. She looked up with a slight smile on her face, but the corners of her mouth turned down at the sight of her visitor. Casper Deegan stood outside her open door with a small notepad, pencil, and manila folder clutched in his small weasel hands like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, clutching “my precious.” Deegan was a far-left reporter for the The Kansas City Sun and had shown an impressive ability to spew a constant stream of liberal tripe that castigated law enforcement agencies (in particular, the Kansas City Police Department, Missouri Highway Patrol, FBI, and -- Deegan’s favorite -- Homeland Security), religious organizations, conservatives, and patriotic institutions that supported the beliefs of the founding fathers. Even though Governor Stovall was a Democrat, Deegan’s
columns often hammered him over his use -- or overuse, as Deggan’s column’s claimed -- of state aircraft. He had been a member of the Capitol press corps for as long as Underwood could remember. No member of GSD had ever granted Deegan an interview and she had no intension of breaking new ground with him now. “Yes, Mr. Deegan?” Underwood asked in a voice loaded with suspicion. Whatever reason Deegan had to be in the GHQ building, he had no business being around Underwood’s office. Deegan took a tentative step forward into her office like Underwood might have planted landmines under the carpet for protection. No explosion occurred, so he asked pleasantly, “How are you, Lieutenant Underwood? When will I ever get you to call me Casper?” Underwood now knew he was up to something. He normally treated GSD members like they were flesh-eating zombies or something. “How can I help you, sir?” she asked again. Deegan helped himself to the seat next to her desk before she could object. “I just wanted to bounce something off you.” When she failed to respond, he added, “I’ve come across some information, concerning your detail, and I wanted to confirm it with you.” “Is this an interview?” He tried to smile, but couldn’t pull it off, probably because he so seldom did it. “This is ... an inquiry ...” Underwood held her hand out, cutting him off. “Let me stop you there. If this is about the Highway Patrol, the press office is down the hall. If this is about the governor, direct your inquiry to his press secretary, Paul Oliver Fleming. If this is about GSD protective operations or policy, I have no comment. You know how this works.” Deegan was nodding his head patiently like he fully
understand how things were normally handled, but his inquiry was somehow outside those guidelines. “Yes, yes, I’ve heard all that before. But I’m going to press on a story and I thought you’d like an opportunity to weigh-in.” Underwood ignored the bait. She leaned back in her chair and pressed one hand to her mouth, as though to keep any words from coming out against her will. Deegan took her silence as consent to continue. “I was leaving the Capitol to go home last night ... at about 6:45 ... I was walking through the Capitol basement ... and I saw something very interesting ...” Deegan said each line with a pause in between, closely watching Underwood’s face to gauge the impact of his words. She gave no indication she found his words in any way interesting. After several seconds of silence, he continued. “I’d like to learn more about ... Achilles.” His weasel fingers opened his manila folder and laid two 8”x10” color photos on her desk. The first photo showed Achilles being driven out the gates of the Governor’s Mansion. Ringmaster was visible through the windshield in the front passenger’s seat and Sergeant Bobby Davenport was behind the wheel. Underwood knew she was seated behind the governor, but she wasn’t visible through the darkly-tinted side windows. She knew the photo had to have been taken that morning from across the street of the Mansion, likely from the corner of East Capitol Avenue and Madison Street. The second photo was taken from inside the Capitol garage, likely from a dark recess across from Ringmaster’s parking place. Due to the dim light in the garage, the camera would have been on a setting to get the photo without using a flash. In the photo, Underwood was standing next to the governor’s open door as Ringmaster climbed out of Achilles. The number of his parking space and the license number of Achilles were plainly visible. Underwood’s mind immediately went into damage
control. They’d have to switch back to using Monitor for a week or so until this went away. She also considered switching around the license plates assigned to the detail to put a different plate on Achilles. She was pissed that Deegan or his helpers had gotten the photos without the detail spotting them. Countersurveillance was one of their best defenses. The photographer had clearly used a telephoto lens on both shots, but she was still disappointed. She debated whether to say another word to Deegan. “Any comment?” Deegan asked quietly, like he knew he had painted her into a corner. Underwood’s eyes moved from Deegan’s photos to his face. There were many questions she wanted to ask him: Are you trying to kill the governor? Are you crazy? Do you remember Ringmaster has been attacked twice by terrorists? Do you like your job? Do you know how big a hole Paul Oliver Fleming will tear in your editor’s ass after I call him? Underwood knew all those questions would feel good coming across her tongue, but she knew better than to ask them. Deegan would report whatever she said or whatever she didn’t say. Either way, this meeting would be part of his story. He continued, “My readers will be furious that a governor -- especially one who is making a big show that the bad economy is forcing him to make deep cuts in state services for the poor -- is blowing taxpayer’s money to ride around in such an exotic vehicle. I mean really, Kacey, why not just get him a Rolls or something. It’s the preferred ride for the Royals, after all.” “May I keep these pictures?” she asked quietly. Deegan now managed to grin in victory. “Of course. They are only two of many and I have plenty of copies,” he added needlessly. “When are you going to press?” “Perhaps in a few days,” he said in an aloof tone, as
though he didn’t care whether she commented or not. He stood to leave and laid his business card on her desk. “Here’s my number when you’re ready to comment. Don’t wait too long, Kacey.” “Thank you for coming in, Mr. Deegan.” She wanted to throw him out. “We’ll be in touch with you.” When he was gone, Underwood looked again at the pictures. She imagined the maelstrom that was about to explode. Forget about taking off early! She knew it would be a long day, briefing Captain Armstrong and Colonel Moss. They would not be happy. Then she’d have to brief Ringmaster and Paul Fleming. She doubted Fleming would be able to dissuade the paper from printing the story, but he’d raise hell with them for sure. As she placed the photos back in the folder and started around her desk to head for Armstrong’s office, she pondered the question that bothered her more than the others: How the hell had Deegan learned Achilles’ codename?
Chapter 3 Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead. Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1735 April 29, 1521 hours Missouri State Highway Patrol General Headquarters Office of Superintendent Jefferson City, Missouri Colonel Stuart Moss examined the two photos silently, taking in every detail. Without comment, he passed them to Major Larry Scarborough, who commanded the Support Services Bureau, which included the Public Information and Education Division (PIED). All press inquiries for the Patrol were handled by the officers in PIED. Scarborough grunted, then looked up at Kacey Underwood across the table. “Deegan took these?” Underwood shrugged, “He had to have at least one helper. If he took the first picture as we left Watchtower, he’d need wings on his feet to get the next one in the Capitol garage, about one minute later. Either that or he simply hid a small video camera with it running and the garage picture is a frame of the video it captured.” Colonel Moss looked at Captain Armstrong. “So, how should we handle this, David?” Armstrong glanced at Underwood. “Kacey and I have kicked it around. It really depends on what Deegan’s article says. If it has only a general complaint about the vehicle, we can take it out of service until things cool down, swap the plates for another set assigned to GSD, move his parking space to another slot in the garage. We’ll likely do those things anyway after the
article runs.” Armstrong shrugged. “If his article has specific details about the vehicle being armored, reveals the codename we use for it, and demands documents showing its cost and capabilities, those are all another issue.” Scarborough spoke up. “However his article reads, my people are going with the standard ‘no comment on anything involving security issues for the governor.’” Moss nodded and Armstrong said, “Definitely! The ball is in Ringmaster’s court for now. Kacey and I have an appointment to see him and Fleming in a few hours. We’ll brief them and see how they want to proceed.” “Fleming will try to have the article killed,” Underwood stated. “Deegan’s editor is going to need a new pair of pants after Paul’s finished. He’ll need to sit on a rubber ring for months until the bite wounds heal.” Scarborough shook his head. “Probably won’t do any good. They’ll run with something to go along with their photos and it won’t be positive. Most of the guys on the Capitol press corps are pretty good guys. Half of them might even understand how publicizing information on the safety measures used to protect the governor actually increases the hazard to him. Deegan’s a slug. He doesn’t care or have a clue about how these things work. He thinks everything involving government operations is just smoke and mirrors to rip somebody off.” Scarborough shrugged. “Look, guys, the tradition of the media to go after perceived government and corporate corruption goes back to this country’s first newspapers. The term ‘muckrakers’ was coined by Theodore Roosevelt in a 1906 speech. Reporters like Deegan embrace their role as the ‘Fourth Estate.’ While Deegan claims an altruistic motivation -- such as promoting an informed debate or exposing government misconduct -- you don’t have to follow his articles very long before it’s obvious his true motivation is non-altruistic, and that is advancing the career of one Casper ‘Everybody’s-a-Crook-But-Me’ Deegan.” Moss squinted. “He reminds me of that Star Wars guy.
Yoda or one of those characters.” Underwood laughed. “I think you mean Gollum. He was that evil Hobbit in The Lord of the Rings.” Armstrong shook his head. “You’re both wrong. He’s actually the spitting image of Smeagol. That was the Hobbit that found the ring and later changed into Gollum.” “If you ask me,” Underwood mumbled, “Smeagol has already left the building.” Moss nodded. “That’s him. Casper Smeagol Deegan, evil Hobbit reporter.” He eyed Armstrong. “So, after you and Underwood meet with the Dark Lord at Mordor today, let us know how it went.” He faced Underwood. “What’s the Dark Lord’s schedule look like for the rest of the week?” Underwood held up her BlackBerry and accessed Ringmaster’s schedule. “He’s in town most of this week, hammering out legislation with the Ringwraiths in the House and Senate. He has quick trips to Sedalia, St. Louis, Springfield, Poplar Bluff, and Kansas City. Plus we have the governor of Florida visiting in Branson this week with his family to see some shows. The Florida Highway Patrol’s detail requested some help so I have two officers down there for coverage.” Moss rolled his eyes. “You call this a slow week? Okay, any other issues?” Armstrong debated saying anything, but decided to be safe. “We’re not sure how Deegan learned Achilles’ codename. He’ll never reveal his source.” Moss stared at Underwood. “Well, he didn’t do a Jedi mind trick on you, did he? Or did he overhear your conversation with Ringmaster in the garage?” “I’m not sure, sir,” Kacey replied. “I doubt he heard us. If he didn’t ... then we have a leak somewhere.” There, it’s on the table. Moss nodded his head slowly, weighing the evidence. He
turned to Armstrong, his aide-de-camp. “Do some quiet nosing around. Let’s compile a list of anyone who had access to the codename. A lot of people knew we were getting a new vehicle, but most of them wouldn’t have known the codename. Outside those of us in this room and Ringmaster, who else knew?” Armstrong shrugged. “On the Patrol, everyone in GSD knew it was coming and would be called Achilles. The director of the Patrol’s Motor Equipment Division made all the arrangements for the vehicle, but I don’t think he knew the codename. The mechanics at the garage and the radio personnel all worked on it, but wouldn’t have known the name. At Octagon, only Ringmaster’s senior staff knew,” he said, referring to the codename for the Governor’s Office. Scarborough shrugged. “So what’s the big deal? Why not let Deegan run with the Achilles name and assign a new secret codename for the vehicle? Codenames leak out all the time from the military, CIA, and federal law enforcement. You can look up all the codenames used by the Secret Service on the Internet, even for each of the presidents.” Armstrong shook his head. “Not all of them. The ones you can access are generally used, but there are many others the Secret Service keeps close to the vest. Codenames enable us to refer to specific people, places, or things without people eavesdropping or intercepting the conversation being sure what you’re referring to. Achilles’ name would have eventually leaked out. The problem here is that, one, Deegan learned it before anyone else and it seems he learned it on the day Achilles was put into service. And, two ...” Armstrong held up his hands like there couldn’t be any other conclusion, “...if it didn’t come from eavesdropping on Kacey and Ringmaster, then a member of Ringmaster’s inner circle has leaked it to the press.” Moss grimaced. “So, we have a mole for the press inside the governor’s team. Great! What are they going to leak next?”
Chapter 4 The doorstep of the palace is very slippery. Polish proverb
April 29, 1706 hours State Capitol Building Office of Governor Stovall Jefferson City, Missouri “I’ll friggin’ kill him,” Paul Oliver Fleming whispered, dropping the photos on the governor’s desk like they had a foul odor. “He’s dead!” David Armstrong said quietly, “I hope you don’t mean that literally.” “It was bound to come out sooner or later, Paul,” Governor Stovall said calmly. “Call Deegan in and have a chat with him. See if you can head him off. If not, let’s steer the dialogue in our favor. Kacey, run over those points you mentioned last night.” Underwood sat forward and faced Fleming. “Here are the high points and try to keep them ‘off-the-record.’ First point is the cost. The taxpayers are only out the cost of a standard SUV. The rest of the costs came from private donations. The taxpayers will be more than reimbursed when the vehicle is taken out of service. It’s a great deal for taxpayers. Period. Point two is the type of vehicle. Only a few vehicles can safely handle the mission. We’re talking big SUVs on truck frames. That usually means either a GMC Yukon, another Lincoln Navigator, a Ford Expedition, a Chevrolet Suburban, or a Cadillac Escalade. Deegan’s carrying on like we got the boss a Rolls or Maybach. Point three is the security aspect. Most public figures are attacked while they are in or around their vehicles. Governor
Stovall is most at risk when he is away from the Capitol or Mansion. The use of an appropriate vehicle for his safety is our responsibility. Period. The last point is confidentiality. The Patrol doesn’t publicly identify informants, or undercover investigators, or the vehicles those officers use, or their undercover residences, or a lot of other information that is withheld from the public for safety reasons. Let’s see Deegan write a column about his editor’s wife and kids, or where all the judges and prosecutors live, or where their kids go to school. He’s never done that, because he knows it would put their lives at greater risk.” Fleming was scribbling down the information. “Great, but first I’ll fire a rocket into his editor’s office. Then I’ll set his mother’s house on fire. These guys are coming off the governor’s Christmas card list, for sure. And they’ll never attend another press party we host ...” Stovall chuckled, “I have Genghis Khan for a press secretary. This is probably my fault, Paul. When I saw the vehicle in the garage I said, ‘Achilles.’ He probably heard me.” Underwood objected. “We don’t know that, sir. You whispered the name. Bobby Davenport mentioned the name over his radio while he was waiting for us to come down. I said the name before we departed the garage. He could have heard it from any one of us.” She paused, then added, “Or it could have come from another source.” Stovall gave her a funny look, thinking about what she had just said. Another explanation had not occurred to him. “What other source might that be, Kacey?” Underwood thought about how to phrase this. David Armstrong picked up the cue. “Boss, he might have heard it from someone else.” When Stovall didn’t respond, Armstrong added, “Someone close to you, who knew the vehicle’s codename.” Stovall’s eyes narrowed. “I see. Any likely suspects I should waterboard for information?”
Fleming didn’t wait for anyone to ask. “Look, the only staff that knew about the codename was me and Brad Naylor,” he said, referring to the governor’s chief of staff. “And we haven’t told anyone.” Bradley Naylor would have been in the middle of this brawl, except Stovall had instructed him to work the legislators on the third and fourth floor of the building until he could return. Fleming pointed a finger at Underwood, “I was against getting that showy ride. I knew this would happen.” Underwood responded coolly, “You agreed to an Escalade, but you wanted the hybrid engine so your little global warming buddies wouldn’t get angry. With the added weight of the armor, we had to go with their most powerful engine.” She turned to the governor. “I can see us now, boss: We’re in the middle of an ambush, dodging RPGs, AK47 rounds bouncing off the hood, and Paul’s in the back, going, ‘WTF, we’re only getting four miles to the gallon!’” Stovall laughed out loud at the vision, while Fleming glowed red with rage. It looked like his face would explode. Armstrong tried hard not to chuckle, but lost the battle. Finally, even Fleming grinned ... a little. He raised half out of his chair, leaned across the table, and gave Underwood a fist bump. “Good one, Kacey,” he mumbled. “Okay, guys,” Stovall waved them down before a brawl broke out. He looked at his watch. “I have to get back upstairs before the legislature impeaches me.” He pointed to Fleming. “Go find Deegan and put him against the wall.” He eyed Armstrong and Underwood. “As for this leak ... let’s try to get a handle on that.”
Chapter 5 In order to present our message with any chance of producing a lasting impression on the public, we have had to kill some people. Theodore Kaczynski, The Unabomber Manifesto
[The assassination attempt] was a kind of ultimate protest against the system. I did not want to kill somebody, but there comes a point when the only way you can make a statement is to pick up a gun. Sara Jane Moore, after firing a shot that narrowly missed President Gerald Ford on September 22, 1975 April 30, 0512 hours South Farm Road 189 Rural Springfield, Missouri Kyle’s first kill was easy. Fate chose his target. Six weeks before, Kyle had walked through the large kitchen of his father’s luxurious home in search of something for lunch. His father had left the local paper on the counter and the Health section was lying on top. The lead story headline exclaimed “HERE COMES THE JUDGE!” Under the headline was a large photo of a man with a perfect physique. Kyle picked up the paper and his eyes ran down the details of the story: Circuit Judge Peter Quinn, 39, former wrestling champion and football star at Yale on athletic and academic scholarships, moved back to Missouri after graduation with a law degree, turned down an opportunity to play pro football for the Kansas City Chiefs, successful career
in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office Litigation Division, years later moved home to Springfield to a lucrative private practice, recently appointed to Greene County Circuit Court. Kyle had eyed the photo again. Quinn was standing in a black Under Armor tank top and running shorts that looked as though they were painted on his muscular body. He was handsome with dark, short, tussled hair. He had a huge perfect grin that would turn heads in any room he entered. He was standing in front of a beautiful home the reporter described as being located “in the wealthy neighborhood around the Highland Springs Country Club.” The house number was visible in the photo. The caption said Quinn had just finished his daily workout. The reporter wrapped up the story with a detailed description of Quinn’s daily diet and intensive workout, which usually started at 5:00 a.m. with a five-mile run around the golf course and out a country road and back to his house. At the end of the story was a picture of Quinn with his arms around his beautiful wife, Tricia, and their two daughters, Susie and Erin. Kyle had felt no remorse for Quinn’s family. They had it all now and his death would leave them that much richer. Judge Peter Quinn was a member of the “one percent” in American society. He represented the evil legal community, which had nearly destroyed America. Rich and powerful, making their wealth off the backs of the less fortunate. Kyle was familiar with Quinn’s neighborhood and he had driven his Wrangler around that day until he located the right house, comparing it with the picture and house number in the paper. Three days later, as Quinn jogged out of his subdivision, he turned east along East Farm Road 186. He then ran south along South Farm Road 189, which was more secluded with few houses and little traffic. Kyle had watched him from a distance through binoculars. He smiled as Judge Peter Quinn selected the ideal spot for his own murder. As was usually the case, the
assassin had not selected the ambush site, the victim did. Kyle now stood over the still body of Judge Peter Quinn. This morning, Kyle had watched from a distance until he had seen the judge run out the road. As Quinn reached a secluded stretch, Kyle drove his father’s black Ducati 1098 motorcycle up alongside the judge and fired three rounds into Quinn’s back before he realized Kyle was there. Quinn had tumbled to the ground and stopped face up, his hazel eyes staring blankly into the sky. A growing pool of blood spread out beneath him. The thumping rhythm of club music, pounding through Quinn’s Bose ear plugs, could still be heard by Kyle, even through his helmet. Loud music is really bad for your hearing, dude, Kyle thought. Kyle had practiced the shooting maneuver many times, driving his motorcycle around the city, coming up behind a pedestrian or runner, drawing an imaginary pistol, and “executing” the person. It was a favorite assassination technique used by terrorist groups around the world. He even found a training video on the Internet, showing al-Qaeda terrorists learning the technique at their training camps. After reading so many accounts of successful attacks by terrorists on motorcycles, he had decided to use it himself. Before carrying out this attack, he had practiced the actual drawing and firing of his S&W .45 while steering his motorcycle past road signs along rural country roads. Kyle realized the muzzle blast of the weapon would carry over a long distance so he researched methods to suppress the sound. He found that threaded barrels were easy to find and purchase over the Internet. They were legal and would provide the added benefit of not tying his father’s weapon to the attacks. He would merely swap out the barrel with a new threaded barrel before the attack, then put the original barrel on the weapon after the attack. He purchased three threaded barrels, each from a different source. That left the issue of buying or building a suppressor to
attach to the barrel. He could not legally buy one without registering its purchase with BATF and paying a $200 transfer tax. Buying an illegal suppressor left him vulnerable to either dealing with criminals or undercover police, posing as criminals. His research found he could legally purchase a “mock” or “fake” suppressor, which were popular with collectors, without having to register it. He also found sources where he could purchase the parts to go inside the fake suppressor to make it work. He purchased three fake suppressors and enough parts to fill them. Once everything arrived, he fitted the fake suppressors with parts, put a threaded barrel on his father’s weapon, and drove out to a remote location to test them. These were not state-ofthe-art suppressors. The crude devices only cut the muzzle blast by about 25 decibels from what it would be unsuppressed, but that’s about what he expected. The suppressor also made the drawing of the weapon more difficult, so he practiced drawing from a sling bag across his chest until he had a sore place on his ribs. Kyle now looked up and down the road. There was no person or vehicle in sight at this early hour. Inside his motorcycle helmet, the weapon’s blast had been very muffled, except for the third blast, which had seemed noticeably louder. He guessed the crude suppressor might have been compromised. He couldn’t tell how far the sound had traveled. The nearest house was probably a half mile away. Kyle reached a gloved hand into the pocket of his jacket and withdrew a playing card. Leaning down over his idling cycle, he placed the card into Judge Quinn’s mouth. Then he straightened up, surveyed the scene briefly, and finally gunned the engine on his Ducati and headed back to Springfield, taking a route that avoided traffic cameras. While the Ducati’s top speed was 180 mph, he kept it to no more than 10 mph over the speed limit to avoid unwanted attention. He didn’t bother picking up the .45 brass casings on the ground. The three DPX bullets inside Quinn’s body would tie Kyle’s pistol to this assassination. But by the time the police caught him, it wouldn’t matter. Everyone on
his list would be dead. As he entered the main part of the city, he thought, And so it begins.
Chapter 6 The brave man inattentive to his duty is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts in the hour of danger. Major General Andrew Jackson, U.S. Army, War of 1812
Perhaps the single most valuable thing a protector could know is when future attacks will happen — and that we do know, precisely: One hundred percent of all attacks happen at exactly the same time: Now. If you intend to meet the attack, you must be there mentally, not just physically. Gavin de Becker, Tom Taylor, Jeff Marquart, Just 2 Seconds Using Time & Space to Defeat Assassins April 30, 0840 hours Westbound West Main Street Jefferson, Missouri Trooper Blake Henderson slowed Achilles as they approached the on-ramp from West Main Street to US63, which would take them to the Jefferson City Memorial Airport. Ringmaster was riding shotgun with one of Achilles’ iPads in his lap. There was a big grin on face as he explored the device. Behind Henderson, Paul Oliver Fleming’s fingers flew over the keypad of his iPad. Governor Stovall paused. “How do I make the keyboard go away?” Ringmaster was anything, but tech-savvy. Kacey Underwood leaned around from her seat behind him. “Lower right button, sir.” Stovall pressed his finger on the screen and the virtual keyboard dropped out of sight. “Thanks.”
As Henderson neared the end of the on-ramp, he looked into the side mirror and saw Trooper Eric Sawyer steer his follow-up car into the driving lane of the highway, blocking the lane for Achilles. Out of habit, Underwood had turned her head and watched, as well. Underwood, Henderson, and Sawyer were in the NOW, actively monitoring the environment around their vehicle. Since the Deegan incident, they were especially alert for any sign of photographers. As usual, Ringmaster and Fleming were oblivious of their surroundings. Underwood’s Blackberry vibrated. She pulled the Smartphone from its holster and keyed in a password to unlock the screen. She frowned as she read the email. She accessed her phone and selected the number for Captain David Armstrong. A few seconds later, she said, “I just got your email. What’s up?” After listening for several seconds, she grunted and said, “Okay, hold on ...” Underwood leaned around and said, “Boss, David Armstrong has some important news for you.” Fleming looked up from his iPad. “What’s going on?” News was his bailiwick and he wasn’t aware of any breaking stories. They had a flight to catch. Without answering, Underwood activated her speakerphone and put the phone on the console next to Ringmaster. “You’re on the speakerphone, Captain,” Underwood said loudly. “Governor?” Stovall paused in his typing. “Yes, David, what is it?” “Sir, I just got a call from DDCC. They are assisting the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and Springfield PD with the murder investigation of a circuit judge. Peter Quinn ...” The Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control (DDCC) carried out criminal investigations statewide. Stovall looked stunned. “Oh, my God! I knew Peter. He was assigned to the AG’s office several years ago. What the hell
happened?” “Not a lot of details yet, sir. I’ve asked the investigators to get me more info ASAP. Quinn was jogging early this morning and he was shot in the back three times. Someone found him lying alongside the road. His family was at home, and they’re fine.” “Good God,” Stovall muttered. “Do they know who did this?” “Not yet. They’ll be looking through all his criminal cases. He helped prosecute or sentence a lot of bad guys over the past several years. With attacks on judges, that’s almost always the link. It’s going to be a huge news story. Crews are coming in from all over. CNN already has it on their crawl. There were three .45 casings at the scene, but not much else ... except a playing card.” “Playing card? What do you mean?” “Sir, please don’t mention this to anyone, but the killer left a custom-made ace of spades in Quinn’s mouth. The investigators are withholding that from the press for now.” “You mean like a death card or something?” “That’s correct, sir. Soldiers used to do that a lot in Vietnam. Investigators are thinking maybe the shooter is an older Vet or something. You don’t see it that much outside the military. After the Iraq war started, the military circulated a deck of cards with faces of the highest-value fugitives on them. Saddam Hussein was the ace of spades.” “Yes, I remember. Okay, I’ll be back from Sedalia at about ...” he paused, trying to remember his schedule. “One o’clock, sir,” Underwood said. “Thank you, Kacey ... one o’clock, David. I’d like a full briefing when I get to the office.” “We’ll have it ready, sir. Thank you.”
Underwood retrieved the phone and ended the call. Henderson had taken the exit to the airport and driven around to the hanger where Stovall’s state-owned Cessna Citation jet, codenamed Crossbow, was kept. Henderson pulled Achilles alongside the jet’s open door, where the pilots were preparing for take-off. Kacey Underwood was first out and opened Ringmaster’s door. Stovall remained in his seat, thinking about what he had just heard. “It was an assassination, wasn’t it, Kacey?” Underwood shrugged, “Sounds like it to me, but I didn’t know him. Was he a gambler or anything like that? Could it be mob-related or something?” Stovall shook his head. “This was one of the cleanest guys I ever met. That death card says it all. It was an assassination.” He eyed her. “When was the last assassination of a major public official in the U.S.?” Underwood tried to remember. “I don’t know. It’s been awhile. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011, but she survived.” Incidents involving public figures happened nearly every day -- everything from stalkers to pie attacks -- but assassinations were extremely rare events in the United States. Stovall nodded his head slowly. “I think you’re right.” He climbed out of Achilles and turned toward the aircraft. Pausing at the aircraft stairs, he added, “Do me a favor, Kacey. You guys work extra close to me today.”
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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, co-author 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, Holston International Training & Consulting: “Taylor has done it again! Strap in for a wild heart-pounding 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.”
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!” 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 Weisman, bestselling author of KBL: Kill Bin Laden: “When it comes to writing about the ins and outs of high-risk protection, Tom Taylor is the master: full stop, end of story.” John Rose, 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!” Jeff Marquart, co-author of Just 2 Seconds - Using Time & 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.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Thomas Taylor worked on protection teams for four 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. His sequel, Tiger’s Heart, was published in 2011.
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