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The Black Hand: The Bloody Rise and Redemption of "Boxer" Enriquez, a Mexican Mob Killer

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  988 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
An intense and shocking inside look at the inner workings of La Eme, the Mexican Mafia (La Familia Mexicana), The Black Hand is the story of loyal soldier Rene “Boxer” Enriquez, his life of crime, and his ultimate redemption. Award-winning investigative journalist and author Chris Blatchford tells the never-before-told true story of the most powerful gang in America—and on ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 23rd 2008 by William Morrow (first published September 9th 2008)
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Ismael Galvan
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I describe "The Black Hand" in one word: Brutal.

Boxer Enriquez recounts his seventeen years of being a "Carnal" (a senior leader) in the most powerful criminal organization functioning in the California prison system, the Mexican Mafia.

The book isn't just about the cold working of a criminal empire. Boxer tells his story with unexpected sensitivity and a Chicano brand of optimism. The man is highly charismatic. Yet, there is a dark side shown that is absolutely sobering. It's the part of him tha
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book was a HUGE disappointment. I read the galley, but even if you excuse half the grammar errors, the lack of continuity is appalling, the introduction of characters who you don't see again for hundreds of pages is super frustrating, and the FLORID metaphors and ridiculous similes were unbearable. For example, the Protagonist come awake from a dream that is like "the dream that Johnny Depp has with Freddy Krueger in the 1984 horror film The Nightmare Before Elm St" Really? Not like the 198 ...more
Macie Logan
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Black Hand introduces the life and story of Rene “Boxer” Enriquez and his association with The Mexican Mafia. This story shows the side of Rene “Boxer” Enriquez that he is a willing person to show the world his realization about The Mexican Mafia and without denying, is forward with every crime and takes full responsibility. The horrific crimes carried out throughout this book have shocked me and changed the views I have towards The Mexican Mafia, considering the fact that I have never look ...more
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Black Hand
Chris Blatchford
Harper Collins
10 East 53rd St, New York, NY 10022-5299
(212 207-7528
978-0-06-125730-8, $7.99, 2009

This was a very shocking true life story of Rene “Boxer” Enriquez and his life in the Mexican Mafia. The author has a journalism background and definitely does his homework on this one. This book can be compared to Hunter S. Thompson’s account on life with the Hell’s Angels, except Chris Blatchford was given permission to write this and was not unde
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, scary but true great book to read. Schools should have a gang prevention class for potential gang members or future criminals. Maybe they would think twice before getting involved in gangs and destroying their lives and others. It's a life with no future. Life is too short. For Rene "Boxer" Enriquez to be able to touch grass with his feet for the first time in over a decade it just hit me. We don't realize how blessed we are to be able to do that and more everyday of our lives.
Mar 05, 2009 rated it liked it
In keeping with my recent ability to misunderstand the thrust of a book's title, I picked up Black Hand hoping to learn about Mexican Drug Cartels, and instead learned a bit about La Eme, the Mexican Mafia, which was plenty interesting too.

Primarily a biography of Rene "Boxer" Enriquez, the book uses his experiences to illuminate the machinations of La Eme and its influence both within prison and without. Really a very engaging story that has all of the most positive resolutions you could hope f
Anna Mojica
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Boxer" Enriquez gives an account like no other. He is sincere in his story and captures the prison gang life like no other. "Boxer" tells it like it is, he doesn't sugarcoat a single thing. I have been a fan of Chris Blatchford for many years. His dangerous reports on the news mystified me for many years. This book made me understand the whole perspective of the whole realm of "politics" in the gang world. With all the violence and death I would not recommend this book to a sensitive reader.
Lisa Godoy
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow, couldnt believe what i was reading

Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great book, however there were too many names included which ended up confusing me.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jennifer
Amazing book , so dammn good !!
Chris Cole
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Self righteous, self serving bullshit.
Gustavo Alvarez
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Gustavo by: friend
The Black Hand is a page turning book that will take you into a frightening dark world that shouldn’t exist… but it does. It’s riveting! For me, it was a chance to read about old friends, and see how their lives turned out. Most men I know might not agree with me but I have to admire Rene for his courage to disconnect. Chris Blatchford, did an amazing job putting this story together. Definitely a must read.
helen francis
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mexican mafia

This book is really a history on the Mexican mafia in California. While it was interesting I can't say that it was a great read. A little to in-depth with way too many names.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy cow

This very readable book gives a detailed insight into the Mexican mafia. Read it and be shocked. It's mighty scary what has, is and will happen.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A brutal look into the life of gang culture. It's not the most eloquently written book, but what it lacks in finesse it makes up for in detailing the cold reality of this lifestyle.
Tom Schulte
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating criminal career biography of Rene "Boxer" Enriquez. The arc is from growin up on the violent streets of East L.A., prison at the age, induction into the widely feared Mexican Mafia La Eme. Enriquez helped La Eme become the powerful and violent organization that it is now, with a base army of approximately 60,000 heavily armed gang members who control the prison system and a large part of California crime. Arguably the most dangerous gang in American history, journalist Chri ...more
Kelly B
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Caught the audio book at the local barrio library, & they really should have gotten, at the very least, a Hispanic to do the audio. Or at least an American! I don't know where the dude that does the reading on this comes from, but he not only pronounces Spanish & Spanglish words wrong, he can't even get some common English words right! It would have been way cooler to listen to this from someone that speaks vato. I read another review about bad writing, this is definitely not a book you ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Long, but very detailed. Like very VERY detailed. What a life. Super interesting. Tragic.

I dunno. Gonna have to let this one marinate for awhile. Perhaps it's because of the backdrop, in dates and locations, coinciding with my family's move from Central America to Southern California (Boyle Heights). Or perhaps because having two sons, I see this from a mother's perspective. My heart breaks all around.

A really good read. Many news stories I somewhat remember hearing about while growing up, told
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read the reviews for this book prior to buying the book. I thought overall, the book served a great tale of a man's life. His decisions are up to you to decide.

A previous review stated, "the lack of continuity is appalling, the introduction of characters who you don't see again for hundreds of pages is super frustrating, and the FLORID metaphors and ridiculous similes were unbearable."

In response, I agree that the book at some points used stupid metaphors as well as containing many typos but
Luis Perez
Mar 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I really want to give something like 3.8 stars. This is a fascinating look at the inner workings of the Mexican Mafia and its rise from little L.A. street gangs to an organized crime group that virtually rules the U.S. prison system.

The writing itself is only average and there were a number of errors and typos in my copy, but I read an advance review copy, to be fair. This version certainly needed tighter editing and a dismissal of some really hokey phrasing throughout. But the real value here
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in street gangs and true crime.
Welp, this book convinced me not to join a criminal organization. The intended purpose of the book was to tell the story Rene "Boxer" Enriquez and his time in the Mexican Mafia. Blatchford wanted an in depth look into the organization, and he got it. What stands out the most is Rene's persistent worry about mafiosi politics that left any and many members of the organization dead for any reason whatsoever, petty as it might seem. He constantly had to watch his back due to these politics, and even ...more
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a humbling look inside the gang lifestyle, or rather the elite gang lifestyle. It is a humbling look at a mans inner struggle and criminal minds. It is a respectful look at the creativity and resourcefulness that is inherent in every man, even uneducated and imprisoned. I would even describe these Mafiosos as intelligent learners, unfortunately the curriculum is violent and tragic. It is also a discouraging look at the Latino mentality, expectations, and leadership. When I finished ...more
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fine book ,not really a true biog but enough of one ,it is really a history of the M.M as seen by boxer ,..must admit cannot understand the thought process in one day realising someone like this into the real world ,he has got a lot of dead people on his rap sheet ,the vast majority seem to be "unknown or much more likely, ignored" by the feds .

Something else I found puzzling he was apparently jailed for gangrape when he was a teenager ,but this book makes absolutely zero mention of this ,...I f
Wayne Purvis
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
First of all I would like to say that I never bought this book expecting to feel any respect or compassion for Boxer Enriquez, he is after all a hardened mafia killer.

I bought this book in the hope that it would give factual real life account of what it is like to be in the Mexican mafia, and that's exactly what I got.

Harsh, brutal and incredibly violent. I could not put this book down...something I wasn't expecting, it really drew me in I just had to keep reading to find out what happened nex
Megafone Tone
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Insane!! This book is written with first hand accounts of "Boxer" Enriquez who was one of the shot callers for the EME from it's early days up until a couple of years ago when he dropped out and collaborated with the author to tell his story. I liked this book as it was a first hand account of a wide range of subject matter from murder, rackateering and extortion to drug dealing and spreading the fear and power of the EME and it didn't sugar coat any of it. It offered a very real view of a world ...more
Maxo Marc
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was amazed at how Rene Enriquez criminal career progressed. He started out as a local banger and went on to be arguably one of the most decorated members of la eme. With that status he enjoyed a lot of power and privilege. However, he grew tired of the predatory nature of the Mexican mafia politics. This book illustrated the hope that even the incorrigible among us have a shot at some measure of redemption. I saw Rene Enriquez from all sides and drew some compassion for him. This boook is a gr ...more
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read the book about 1 to 2 years ago. This book shows the true realities of a "Chicano" growing up in California. Boxer as a child was exposed to drugs and violence. Later on he joins the Mexican Mafia and goes in depth describing the mafia life. I enjoy reading a book that shows a different lifestyle others live. From start to finish the book is good. This is a better book than Tony Rafael's Mexican Mafia which I also read. Rafael's book is more of a big court case investigation that puts a g ...more
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
I have always loved the reports that Chris Blatchford has given on Fox 11 News, so when I saw his name as the author of this book I knew I would love it.

It was truly an interesting read into how the inner strings are pulled inside the Mexican Mafia.

Mr. Enriquez describes his life as a gang member out in the streets of Los Angeles to his rise as one of the highest ranked members in the Mexican Mafia.

If your a true crime reader or a crime in general reader then this is a book you want to pick u
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Really puts the Mexican Mafia into the minor league of organized crime. Why someone who attained the upper echelon of La Eme and still was forced to be getting his hands dirty completing tasks of a low-level member of La Cosa Nostra really puts things into perspective on how young the organization truly is...For those unfamiliar, I suggest reading this book ALSO to get the perspective I'm referring towards.
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-book
Rene "Boxer" Enriquez has an interesting story that must be heard. As a member of "La Eme" or the Mexican Mafia, he takes the reader into unfamiliar territory...inside prison walls and inside the world of prison gangs. Not much is written about this topic, especially from a former member's point of view, so be prepared to learn about "Boxer", and how he survived in La Eme!! Great read, easy to digest!!
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