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TIGER STRIPE

TIGER STRIPE

Peace and quiet aren't always good for business.

The Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government are ready to sit down at peace talks in Singapore. Well most of the Tigers are ready to talk.

Others, holed up on the Jaffna Peninsula, have a powerful new ally. The last thing J.C. Tang Enterprises needs is a peace. This business needs a quiet place for its operations from the jewel of the Indian Ocean.

The world's media is watching closely as Australia and the United States provide the United Nations with Task Force Sinbad to keep the peace. When the Black Tigers unleash their new weapon, the UN force has its hands tied under the Rules Of Engagement.

Sri Lanka is a small island. Warrant Officer Buck Rodgers and his combined spec-ops team is trying to keep a low profile, but there are television cameras everywhere.

ATN correspondent Tony Newman wants a big story. The Tigers want him dead.

In Store Price: $AU24.95
Online Price:   $AU23.95

ISBN: 1-9208-8458-0
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages: 338
Genre: Fiction 

 

 

Author: Phil Smith 
Imprint: Zeus
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2004
Language: English

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Phil Smith takes you into the minds of warriors and reporters and drops you straight into the heart of danger. Tiger Stripe serves it up at Mach 2!"

….Ian Jay, author of ‘To Do Or Die’.

"...move over Uncle Sam..."

…...Rockhampton Morning Bulletin.

While readers may recognise locations, military units and media procedures, this is a work of fiction. The circumstances and the characters involved are not intended to have any resemblance to real people. The story does not reflect government policies, military tactics or the activities of actual organisations. 

Phil Smith has exercised his international rights to be recognised as the author of this work.  

Front cover photo by SGT Gary Ramage, Electronic Media Unit, used with permission of Defence Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. 

Novel: ‘Tiger Stripe’  

Author: Phil Smith

Book review by SGT Nerine Eaton 

            Yes, author Phil Smith has done it again.  After the success of his first book Shooting Script, Phil Smith has followed up with an equally addictive and compelling book Tiger Stripe.

            Still the same modern-day warrie highlighting the different agenda's between the media and the military and how they need to work out their differences if they ever hope to foil the plans of their common enemy, in this case J.C. Enterprises and the rebel Tigers. 

            The Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers are finally ready to begin negotiations for peace. For J.C. Tang Enterprises, this would be bad for business. 

            Australian News correspondent Tony Newman and his camerawoman Megan Chaseling are in pursuit of that elusive big story. After reporting and broadcasting footage that puts the United Nations Forces in a compromising position they must find a way to work with the military avoiding jail, getting exclusive rights to the biggest story of Newman's career and steer clear of being killed in the process. 

            This book has all the familiar defence lingo, locations and hardware for die hard military buffs.  Add to this rebel forces, people smugglers, a virus aimed exclusively at men, murder, betrayal, a surfer with detailed military knowledge, a persistent reporter and his camera man (or rather woman), who just will not die.  Very compelling reading. 

            Phil Smith also includes a reference to his first book Shooting Script.  "I could have written that” Newman says. "It's not bad, but every hack journo in the world thinks he's got a novel waiting for the best seller lists”. Very Albert Hitchcock.

THE AUTHOR 

 

Phil Smith has all the first hand experience and connections to write international thrillers involving the media, military and political manipulation. 

Phil is a graduate in Journalism and Media from Central Queensland University. An award winning journalist, he has filed stories from throughout South East Asia, Australia's "Top End" and the South Pacific.

His credits include an ABC TV documentary on the rebuilding of East Timor, and ABC radio broadcast his series of outback yarns, 'Round The Traps'. 

Phil's international magazine credits include military history for the American Primedia group, aviation features for Pacific Wings and World Air News as well as travel and in-flight publications. 

As a Flight Lieutenant in the RAAF Specialist Reserve, he's served as a Peace Keeper in East Timor and Bougainville. He's also been operational in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. 

Phil has trained with Australia's allies from Alaska to the Coral Sea, working aboard aircraft carriers and in battle tanks. 

A short stint as Media Advisor to a state cabinet minister allowed Phil to see some of the inner working of political spin. 

Back as a journalist Phil won a Prince of Wales Award that allowed him to spend time working in California with the US Marines and at Radio KGO San Francisco. 

He harbours an ambition to write for children and teens, following his voice over work on the 'Noah' series of educational CD Roms. 

He lives in Queensland, Australia, near Lake Samsonvale with his wife and two daughters. 

 

CHAPTER ONE (part sample) 

Hawaii. June 4th 

Nothing on earth goes quite like a red Ferrari with the roof down. Tony Newman was convinced. Maybe it didn't corner as well as his classic Mini Cooper S. Still, the growl of eight cylinders, the warmth of the Hawaiian sun, and Megan Chaseling's ridiculous shirt made for a winning combination. 

The Australian television reporter and his camera operator were assigned to ATV's United States west coast bureau. While the life of a foreign correspondent was often tough, there were occasional choice assignments. This was one. 

RIMPAC was a big story with first-rate footage. In this gigantic military training exercise, the largest since World War Two, seven Pacific Rim nations were taking part in RIMPAC 2004. More than twenty five thousand sailors, soldiers and airmen were involved on and around the Hawaiian islands. On Oahu, Pearl Harbour was packed with warships.  Hickam Air Force Base roared with jets. On the other side of the island the Marine Corps Base at Kaneohe Bay was crowded with marines and soldiers. The runways crawled with maritime patrol aircraft. Among the lumbering long range planes were Nimrods from the United Kingdom and P3 Orions from Japan, Korea, Canada, the US and Australia.

The combination of politics and high tech toys would guarantee Newman's stories a place in the first break of the prime time news bulletins for most of the week. Newman and Chaseling had spent most of the preceding day on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C. By No.10 Squadron's usual standards, six hours had been a short flight. Twelve or thirteen hour missions were not uncommon for the low flying 'Fish Frighteners'. Added to the flight, the time spent writing the story and editing the videotape had made a long day for the television crew. So Newman had declared this a rest day. 

For millions of visitors, Waikiki is Hawaii. Driving in from the airport, they turn right at exit 22, and cruise along the legendary strip of shops and hotels lining the short route to Waikiki beach. During the evenings after work Chaseling and Newman had seen it all. Today was an opportunity to see something more. They'd left their rooms at the Outrigger early to get a breakfast table at Duke's. The restaurant overlooks the beach and Waikiki's reef break a couple of hundred metres offshore.

During coffee Tony confessed there was one tourist thing he just had to do while they were in Hawaii. Megan admitted she also had something on her mind. She wanted to check out a nearby clothing store.

"OK," Tony responded. "I'll go and get the car."

Megan was standing on the sidewalk wearing a bright red Aloha shirt. The shirt had cost almost a day's wages in Australian dollars – and no wonder. The original design, complete with purple parrots, hangs in the Smithsonian Institute. She was looking for their rented brown Mazda when the snarl of a racing change caught her ear and a perfectly shaped sports car swooped from the traffic and stopped. Its nose was barely level with her knee.

Tony Newman was wearing Ray Ban sunglasses and a Ferrari 308 GTS.

"Tom Selleck?" she asked.

"Magnum P.I!" he laughed back.

"At least I'll take the shirt home," Megan chuckled as she slid into the passenger seat and placed her daypack at her feet.

They cruised around the coast road to the North Shore and swam at Waiamea Bay. Newman chose the route back through the pineapple farms and rejoined the six lane Nimitz Highway near Pearl City.  

Chaseling had made good use of the digital min-cam, adding to her collection of broadcast quality home movies. 'What the hell, the network can supply the tape', she figured. The posting to the United States bureau was for two years and Megan on call twenty-four hours a day. She wasn't going to lug the bigger DV Pro camera everywhere. 

They were in the fast lane, Newman watching for police but enjoying a last blast from the rented Ferrari. A Lincoln Town Car shot past on his right and cut in front, swaying on its soft suspension. The passenger in the back cast one terrified glance at Tony before shifting his gaze to a big Ford 350 pick-up that was drawing alongside the Ferrari.

The truck moved ahead with a roar, level with the Lincoln when the tonneau cover over the cargo tray flipped back.

"Oh shit!" Chaseling was tugging the video camera from her bag, feeling for the power button with one hand and flipping the lens cap off with the other. A shotgun emerged from beneath the corner of the black cover followed by the head and shoulders of a heavily tattooed teenager.

 

Unlike American motorists, most Australians always wear seatbelts and that saved Megan's face. The Lincoln driver slammed on his brakes and Tony followed suit a quarter of a second later. The prancing stallion bonnet badge dived and stopped a couple of centimetres from the Lincoln's rear fender. The pick-up overshot as the shotgun fired twice. The windows of the Lincoln exploded and Tony could clearly see the gunner working the pump action to chamber another round. Two expended shells tumbled through the air and landed in the sports car. 

Megan was focussed and rolling tape as the Lincoln swerved right across three lanes. Tony reacted like any good reporter. Hot on its tail, he followed. Other cars braked and skidded out of the way. Horns blared. Fingers went up. The Ford forced its way between cars in the centre lane and boxed the Lincoln against the concrete side barrier. The youth with the shotgun was having difficulty keeping his balance and he'd only managed to unclip one corner of the cargo cover. Now his target was on the right hand side of his vehicle. A car in front of the Ford slowed, the Lincoln powered ahead as the right hand lane cleared.

On what to him was still the 'wrong' side of the road, Newman was struggling with quick reflex driving. The pick-up got between him and the town car.

Chaseling taped the whole scene as the three-car convoy raced along and lurched back into the middle lane. The gunman stood up and leaned on the cab roof, firing his weapon through the rear window and roof of the Lincoln. 

Whoever was in there came under a hail of buckshot. The big car drifted left and slowed, the driver was dead.

The gunman realised he was being followed and started to turn, trying to keep steady. He turned his attention to the open top Ferrari.

Megan was looking up through the viewfinder, into the murderer's face when Tony made the mistake that could have killed them both. His rally driving experience overrode any conscious thought and one hand went for the park brake. Years of driving on the left hand side of Australian roads made for an instinctive right flick of the steering wheel as the rear wheels locked up.

The 'J' turn was perfectly executed, to the right. The race-bred suspension kept the Ferrari flat as it screeched round to face the oncoming traffic on the Nimitz freeway. 

 

*  * 

 

Warrant Officer Class Two, Steve Rodgers was about to experience the ride of his life. He'd been warned about what came next. His goggles were down over his eyes and the chinstrap of his cranial protector was cinched tight. The environment was hot, noisy and claustrophobic. Buck Rodgers wanted it all to be over. Soon. 

The day had begun in the red dust of the volcanic Big Island with Rodgers and an unusual team playing a very small role in the huge RIMPAC exercise. With so many aircrew from a wide range of nations, Exercise Control had decided there was an ideal opportunity to teach combat survival skills. 

Australia had sent a two instructors. Petty Officer Clearance Diver Dan Krause was from the staff at North Queensland's Combat Survival School. After whipping the latest intake to the Special Forces Basic Course into shape, WO2 Rodgers had been at a loose end. His boss had taken Buck's past life in the Special Air Service Regiment into account, had pity on his hoarse voice, and put his name up for this cushy assignment in Hawaii. 

 

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