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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  5,259 ratings  ·  468 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
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Crown
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Start your review of No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels
Petra-X Off having adventures
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
Snow White
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I happened upon this book by accident. Not normally my thing, but when I started reading I found I couldn't put it down. A bit macho, but I guess that's to be expected given the subject matter. The inside perspective about undercover police work and the world of the Hells Angels were very interesting and I learned a lot. That being said, I had some issues with the narrator cop. I felt he was quite biased in his opinions, and I got the feeling he wasn't always being honest regarding his own actio ...more
Nov 13, 2011 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
Dan  Logue
Feb 24, 2011 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
Feb 19, 2009 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
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
★★☆☆☆ | Like daytime television, endless loops of the same situations are dressed up in minor distinctions while a vague bigger picture floats above, getting two minutes of airtime each episode.

Alternate (less charitable) spoilery review: (view spoiler)
Jan 07, 2013 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
Jan 24, 2011 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
Mar 16, 2009 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2012 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
Nov 05, 2012 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
Oct 21, 2015 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
Very good book but the ending was a let down.
Mary Blye Kramer
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gangs
An undercover cop infiltrates the Hell's Angels for two years. I would have liked this book better if he would have delved more into the backgrounds of the Angels and how they came about joining the group. Instead, it was mostly conversations peppered with a lot of cuss words (even though at the end he states that a lot of cuss words were left out). I touched on how his undercover work effected his marriage and family and I would have liked him to go into that a little deeper. This was a tough g ...more
Lee Rosenwink
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chad Montabon
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrick O'Neil
Oct 20, 2011 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
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
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Raw, informative, daring, and open. Jay Dobyns discusses his time while infiltrating the notorious Hells Angel bike "club". He talks about the twisted "family" environment of the club, the illegal acts of the club, the pull and the repulsiveness in a way that shows he saw a part of it that those on the outside don't always get to see. He risked his family, his life, and his identity to infiltrate a group that needed to be brought down and brought to justice. Even though he didn't fully accomplis ...more
Nov 15, 2009 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
Casey Keen
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of biker gangs and undercover operations, so when I saw this book, I had to read it. Jay Dobbin’s infiltration into the Hell’s Angels was gritty, suspenseful and unimaginable. “Watching” Jay’s deterioration was one of the most interesting topics. Unfortunately, this adaptation tends to be a raw reality as an undercover agent. His character descriptions are written well, and for the most part, I enjoyed his work. I only had a few beefs with the book … (1) the Hell’s Angels didn’t ...more
Jill Sorenson
Jun 20, 2014 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
Mar 29, 2009 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
Jan 22, 2010 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
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
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. ...more
May 05, 2009 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. ...more
Feb 15, 2016 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.
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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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