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No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to…
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No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells…

by Jay Dobyns

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
The infiltration of the Hells Angels by undercover cop and author Jay Dobyns is as interesting from the point of view of the very real deterioration of the character Jay and metamorphosis into his alterego 'Bird' as it is from the hows and wheres of how law enforcement can run such an operation.

The book's writing is unusual in that where Jay is an involved family man and serious cop, the writing reads as measured and logical. But as his real life crumbles and he feels most alive as an (otc) drug-wired gang member, so does the writing become frenetic and disorganised. Only the impossibly unsatisfying denoument, forseeable but unexpected, saves the man, but not, sadly, the operation.

I later read Hunter S. Thompson's masterpiece Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga which was written 40 years earlier and involved some of the same characters. This was very enjoyable seeing the young guns turn into old reprobrates. They must live on adrenaline running from the law all that time. I wonder what path their children will choose? ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
Although I preffer [Alphaville: 1988, Crime, Punishment, and the Battle for New York City's Lower East Side] by [[Michael Codella]], that's another valuable book pointing out there is no difference between the law today and the outlaws. Except, maybe, the employer: the outlaws are self employed most of the time. ( )
  siddartha | Jan 19, 2012 |
I found this to be tough and sometimes boring reading. Hells Angels are not people one wants to know, and this book purports to quote them and the author with all expletives undeleted, which makes the book a chore to read. It is exciting at times and one can appreciate the tremendous prsessue undercover agents go through--and be surprised that they are able to infiltrate into an organization such as Hells Angels. I confess I am glad to be done reading the book, depicting as it does so many characters which I would have no desire to know. ( )
  Schmerguls | Nov 12, 2010 |
A fascinating book about an ATF agent's inflitration of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Not for the squemish--especially the language. An honest look at this organization and the toll taken on dedicated federal agents. ( )
  ctkcec | Jul 15, 2010 |
I had no idea what to expect when I opened the cover of “No Angel”. Not my typical book but I like branching out now and then, reading something different and the topic of undercover work sounded intriguing. Jay Dobyns is an undercover ATF Special Agent and he transitions from an all American College Football player to a tattooed Harley riding Hells Angel as he attempts to infiltrate the notorious gang turned crime syndicate. You have to wonder it Byrd (Jay’s nickname) didn’t have the luck of becoming a policeman if he would have ended up as a Harley riding gangster on his own.
He almost seems to good to be true in the book as he is constantly put in front of drugs and woman and he always seems to know exactly where to draw the line. It makes you wonder if there were not a few facts left out here and there ensuring that he kept his reputation intact and his marriage sound. Still, I have to admire a man who places himself into this kind of situational danger in order to keep the rest of us in our cocoons of perceived safety. The make up of a man who can portray himself as one thing while constantly keeping his head around who he really is in order to catch the bad guys.
Ironically other than the massive amounts of guns that seem to exchange hands there doesn’t seem to be a lot of violent activity in the book. There is one episode in Las Vegas where a big tussle happened between the Mogules (a rival bike gang) and the Hell’s Angels that ended badly but other than that there are probably guys living in your neighborhood who are doing things worse than watching these elderly men drink themselves silly acting like they own the world only to fall into bed in their respective trailer parks.
My guess is that is why in the end it was so difficult to follow through on a legitimate prosecution and so few arrests stuck from the massive investigation that took place. Even with the lack of results one can never question the heroics it takes to do this type of work. I get nervous speaking in front of a small crowd. There is no way that I could ever place myself into some of the mortal situations that Byrd got into.
In the end the story is told in the form of a book and for me unfortunately it was choppily written and failed to capture my interest. It wasn’t boring but it lacked any type of magnetic draw. I have a tattoo but didn’t understand Byrd’s obsession with them as he continually mentions getting sleeved and the process he underwent. The only touching part was the balance he attempted in keeping his head together with his family as he continually went back and forth from being a dad to being an intimidating Harley riding Angel wannabe.
If you are interested in the make up of the Hell’s Angels in AZ and the inner workings of undercover work then I would suggest reading through this book. Go in with average expectations and you will not be disappointed. If you do not have a keen interest in this specific topic then I would suggest passing. You will get a little bored trudging through the word choice and lack of fluidity. ( )
  DuncanMoron | Mar 30, 2010 |
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An ATF agent describes his undercover assignment to infiltrate the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, detailing the challenges of working his way up the biker gang's hierarchy and maintaining their hard-won trust.

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Canongate Books

Two editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1847673481, 184767349X

Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921520264, 1921656476

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