Paul's Reviews > No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels

No Angel by Jay Dobyns
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's review
Feb 06, 2011

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bookshelves: memoir

You won't be able to put this book down once you've started. If you're like me, you'll read it with a mixture of admiration and disgust. Admiration for the ATF agents' guts, working undercover amidst the very enemy they're trying to snare; disgust over the depths to which American law enforcement has sunk, running entrapment operations and engaging in criminality themselves in order to catch a few lowlifes, then coming up short because the evidence they manage to gather is so contaminated by their own involvement in the illegal acts. These guys and girls ran a year-long infiltration of the Hells Angels clubs in Arizona, gradually working their way into the very heart of the group, yet ultimately failed in their goal. A few small fry are tried and convicted; I think all of them are now out of prison and back in the life; the agent at the center of the story nearly destroyed his life, his marriage, and his career; and everything today is much as it was before: the Hells Angels still run their operations in Arizona; the ATF really can't do anything about it; and what was it all for? It was interesting to read about people I know or have met -- Mac, the HA who runs a tattoo shop in Tucson, once challenged me about my Harriers MC patch when I was having a beer at the Bashful Bandit, a biker bar; Hank Watkins was a Harley-riding buddy back in 1999-2000, before he joined the Sun Riders and then over the next few years worked his way into the Red Devils MC and then the HA itself. Mac and Hank were both among the small fry rounded up in the ATF sting operation; I was wondering why I hadn't seen those guys around lately! Admiration and disgust. That was my reaction. A disturbing book, a compelling read.

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