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

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  3,941 Ratings  ·  403 Reviews
Here, from Jay Dobyns, the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the outlaw Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, is the inside story of the twenty-one-month operation that almost cost him his family, his sanity, and his life.

Getting shot in the chest as a rookie agent, bartering for machine guns, throttling down the highway at 100 mph, and responding to a full-sca
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Hardcover, 328 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Crown
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Petra Eggs
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) dru
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Deadlift
Nov 13, 2011 Deadlift rated it did not like it
No Angel was mostly a burden to read. I am proud I did not give Dobyns any money for this publication (rented it from the local library). No Angel brings you into the bizarre world of a self-delusion, self-aggrandizing Federal Agent who takes bizarre pleasure in deceiving others in the name of convoluted moral Crusading which of course is done entirely on your dime. This book takes you on a journey of a man who honors the butcherers at Waco as he fear mongers the general public to what amounts t ...more
Michele
Feb 19, 2009 Michele rated it it was amazing
A Raw, Real and Riveting Memoir
Captivating from the first page, No Angel thrusts the reader into the inner world of the outlaw motorcycle gang, the Hells Angels. This is the story of an obsessed man, who with the all-or-nothing mentality in his makeup becomes the first undercover law enforcement agent to penetrate this notorious group.

The story is conveyed with brutal honesty. Jay Dobyns, using the alias "Bird" relies not only on his memories of the two year ATF case known as "Black Biscuit," b
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Mike
Jan 24, 2011 Mike rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Jay Dobyns is an undercover ATF agent in Arizona. This is the story of his work to infiltrate the infamous motorcycle gang, the so called "HA, the One Percenter's, the Filthy Few, the 81's, the AFFA's, the MC's, the OMG's, yadda, yadda. Ton of acronyms throughout here but you get a glossary if needed. Book was written along with a first time author, Nils Shelton. I mention this because it shows in the so-so writing and narration.
The Angels as described here are actually just a washed up, living
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Dan  Logue
Feb 24, 2011 Dan Logue rated it did not like it
This book is terrible. Usually, if I don't like a book I will give it about 100 pages, grab another, and not bother writing a review for goodreads. I gave this book close to 200 pages, have found another, but will pause briefly to offer some constructive criticisms. It provides almost no social commentary on the causes of outlaw motorcycle gangs in addition to no overarching conclusions about human nature. Not that you would give any value to any conclusions this author (an undercover cop) drew ...more
Tom
Mar 16, 2009 Tom rated it really liked it
I love his honesty. I have to wonder if he was a catylyst in events that may not have happened without his influence. Somtimes I think that LEO are as Bad as the OMG they chase. I have known and associated with bikers both Outlaw and Weekend riders for the better part of my Adult life and I must say that the 1% moniker is overused and in my opinion a bit high. It seems more like one percent of that one percent actually are criminals. And, in every ride and rally I have ever gone on the most Arro ...more
Eric
Nov 16, 2013 Eric rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sherri
Jan 07, 2013 Sherri rated it it was ok
I have known and liked a number of cops over the course of my life. I have known and liked a number of Hell's Angels over the course of my life. I tend to judge people based on themselves, not their affiliations/occupations. If I were likely to judge individuals by the group they hung out with, this book would make both sides look pathetic. That being said:

Yes, undercover work is dangerous and nerve-wracking. You can SAY they get paid to drink beer and ride bikes, and that sounds pretty cushy. T
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Rebecca McNutt
Jun 25, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it
No Angel is a harrowing and shocking account of undercover police work, a ruthless biker gang and the dangerous things that go on when no one is looking.
Parker
Jun 18, 2012 Parker rated it did not like it
I started reading this book with a biased opinion, I have always been fascinated by the world of biker gangs. Jay infiltrates the Hells Angels and tries to shut them down. He failed miserably. The whole narrative come off as narcissistic, he tells his story begging the reader to believe he's a badass. He broke more laws than the 81's and in the end didn't get any big convictions. He lost his job over it and if he was half as successful as he tried to convince us he was he would prob be dead by n ...more
Roy
Nov 05, 2012 Roy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done
What a story. I live in AZ. I've seen a lot of this and been at these places. I've ridden for 30 years.
The book moves at a fast pace. The overwhelming message is you cannot associate with bad company without being corrupted yourself. No matter what the motive or intention is. It drives that point home with a stake!
It's a bummer in one respect, considering the timeline and the dates, and where we are now, his work seems to have accomplished absolutely nothing. That is sad. From a Christian with
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Danm
Oct 21, 2015 Danm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Great book. In the beginning, it doesn't feel like you will become attached, but at least for me, I fell deeper into the rabbit hole with Jay (or maybe I should say Bird) as the story moved forward. It's amazing how he was able to pull off this double life, and you get an excellent glimpse of the Hells Angel lifestyle. I also liked the conclusion a lot for one key reason, but I can't post that here because I don't want to spoil anything. All I can say is, if you like real-life adventure stories, ...more
Pamela
I had some interest in the motorcycle riders, as I used to ride a scooter, and was in two clubs. But I was young and we were innocents, comparatively. While they have strict rules such as the order of riders on a bike ride, or run, we were mostly unencumbered by such rules. They want to be free but are restrictive in their actions, everything must be approved by the higher ups in the organization. Their business was mainly illegal, while most of us still lived at home with our parents, although ...more
Patrick O'Neil
Oct 20, 2011 Patrick O'Neil rated it liked it
I've no big love towards cops, especially undercover cops that befriend their suspects and then use that friendship to nail them. I think it a sleazy way to arrest someone. I find it just another abuse the current criminal justice system employs because they suck at their jobs and have to pretty much entrap whomever it is they consider dangerous. However, on the other hand I am in no way advocating that criminal enterprises proliferate and the police should do shit all to stop them. I just think ...more
Bob
Nov 15, 2009 Bob rated it really liked it
This book was really an interesting look into the outlaw biker culture. As a "biker" I think we tend to romanticize that world sometimes, but it's clearly no place for normal people to live. I don't understand why people would want to spend their lives in a sleazy environment of drugs, violence, and uncertainty about who your real friends are.

A couple of things I found interesting.

One was the humanity often found in men who are not wired to function in normal society, violent impulsive men with
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Jill Sorenson
Jun 20, 2014 Jill Sorenson rated it liked it
I read this for research and yikes. All of the other MC nonfiction books I picked up were autobiographies from club members. I found them racist and unappealing. In this one, the club members are also racists, murderers, drug addicts and woman beaters. It's not a pretty picture, and even the undercover cop is no gem. He's addicted to the thrill (along with otc substances) and seems to prefer this lifestyle to his loving family. His off-duty moments at home were sweet and I wanted to know more ab ...more
Jennifer
Mar 29, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-books
This is a fascinating insider's look at a bizarre and dangerous American subculture. However, I had a difficult time keeping track of all the players, of which there are literally dozens, and their myriad list of real names and nicknames. The author, an undercover special agent, also includes hundreds of tiny details that slow the narrative down. I mean, do I really need to know exactly what he ordered every time he ate at the Waffle House (which was every few pages)? These may have been items h ...more
Weylin
Jan 22, 2010 Weylin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
If it wasn’t for responsibilities like taking care of a baby, chores, eating, etc., I would have read this book straight though without stopping. As a disclaimer, I share a very similar background with the author and I am sure that created a bias. But, I mostly think it is because this book conveyed a great true story and did it with great narrative story telling.
That being said, the author does come across as being pretty self centered, there are a few editing errors that even my lowly self
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Andrea
Jan 09, 2017 Andrea rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish it. I tried hard. In fact, this was the second time I'd attempted to read this book. I'm fascinated with groups like Hells Angels and the like, but our entree into this world was through a person who I just couldn't stand. The way he talked about women and people who are on the fringes of society was, frankly, gross.
Cathy
Aug 25, 2013 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mariel
Feb 15, 2016 Mariel rated it really liked it
Very interesting and engaging. However, not a huge fan of Jay. He obviously thinks way too highly of himself and it gets irritating. I was definitely most drawn to this book because of just finishing the Sons of Anarchy series.
Melissa
May 05, 2009 Melissa rated it liked it
The best part of this book? When the guy playing Big Lou the Wiseguy who actually is New Jersey mob tells Bird, "Made guys really don't give a midnight f*ck about Hells Angels or whatever they are." I feel a bit the same.
Jenna
Feb 21, 2011 Jenna rated it really liked it
I couldn't help myself! I had to "review" it! Very intriguing story!!! It was almost like I knew what was going to happen on the next page!
travelerblue
Apr 18, 2009 travelerblue rated it really liked it
Undercover cop 'Bird' turns Hells Angel. We read along as his personality changes the deeper he gets into his new role. Fascinating.
I'm sorry, I forgot who recommended this book!!!
Matt
Oct 07, 2014 Matt rated it it was amazing
rad bruh
Lisa
Jul 22, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
A look into a world I would never see.
Thomas
Jul 30, 2009 Thomas rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed this first-person book by an undercover ATF agent who was actually patched in to the Hells Angels -- though the investigation ended before he actually got his patch. It's a good read and at times really mind-bending.

Unlike a lot of books by undercover cops, No Angel moves quick and feels real. Perhaps most importantly, the language and life attitude portrayed by the narrator/cop/author is appropriate to the biker lifestyle, which is important because I look for total immersio
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Jack Oughton
Dec 13, 2016 Jack Oughton rated it really liked it
Undercover cop and dedicated family man infiltrates the biker subculture and eventually the Hell's Angels. What I found most fascinating were Jay's references to actually becoming his biker persona - getting in 'too deep' - perhaps like extended method acting? I also think I have a better understanding of what motivates people to be a part of these gangs. Rough life though.
Dan
May 23, 2017 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It reminds me of the book I read about an agent that infiltrated the Mongols biker gang. This was a slower read because I had to keep referencing all the different gang members and law enforcement folks. I recommend reading this...
Richard
Dec 06, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics
A complicated story to which I am having a complicated reaction. More to follow after I've thought about it.
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Jay Dobyns is a highly decorated federal undercover agent, New York Times best selling author and celebrated public speaker. His unique presentations blend genuine life and death experiences, high-octane street smarts, humility, passion and humor. Jay delivers memorable speaking engagements that will captivate, motivate and inspire any audience.
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