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No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels Paperback – February 2, 2010


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No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels + Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang + Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club
Price for all three: $30.36

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 Reprint edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307405869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307405869
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this white-knuckler, ATF agent Dobyns infiltrates a chapter of the Hells Angels to show that, aside from much of the romance surrounding the group, it is indeed a violent gang. His investigations lead him through a fascinating cast of crystal meth-heads, gun runners, gang rapists and frauds. Dobyns and co-writer Johnson-Shelton tell a bracing story in straightforward prose that doesn't dilute any aspect of the toll his undercover act (a sprawling long-term investigation that penetrated deeper into the gang than any other) took on his life. A family guy who frequently finds himself taking calls from his worried wife while in the middle of an operation, Dobyns is brutally honest about how far his assignment takes him into the dark side and leaves the impression at the end that it's highly unlikely he will ever be able to totally return to undercover work (Hunter S. Thompson was beaten up while writing his 1967 take on the gang in Hell's Angels). From the medieval desert clan gatherings to breakneck-paced highway odysseys and high-noon showdowns, this is the real deal from an agent whose knack for the job and ability to transform it into elucidating reading recalls the story of Joe Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This story of a two-year undercover investigation of the Arizona Hells Angels begins at the end and then backs up to tell the whole story. Dobyns, an officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, developed an addiction for the adrenaline rush after being shot and nearly killed during an arrest. In a harrowing first-person account, Dobyns describes his double life as family man and gun trader during the two years he spent undercover investigating the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. As he advanced within the club, eventually earning a “full patch,” he became more estranged from his family and more enmeshed in the violence of his persona, “Bird.” Feared and respected, the Angels were granted free drinks, sex, and drugs but held to a high level of conformity within the club. Dobyns details the “time, commitment, trust, risk, and money” it took for the ATF to penetrate a highly closed group populated by violent felons—some, like him, with families and day jobs. A fascinating look at the Hells Angels and the price one man paid for infiltrating the gang. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

JAY DOBYNS is a highly decorated agent who's worked for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) for more than twenty years. For his work on Operation Black Biscuit, he was awarded the ATF Distinguished Service Medal and also a prestigious Top Cops award.

Customer Reviews

I could not put this book down when I first read it.
Travis McEwen
Author Jay Dobyns became Jay "Bird" Davis and went undercover for the ATF into America's most dangerous, law breaking motorcycle gang, the Hells Angels!
BJ
He seems overly impressed with himself throughout the book and dramatizes the events a little too much.
Shadow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Beckham on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I remember thinking, years ago, when I first heard about this case, "Man, that'd make a heck of a good book!" And it did.

I'm not going to rehash the plot line, several of the other reviews have covered that nicely. What I will say is that the book holds your attention through every page, only slowing down as you realize that the case is coming to an end. I read the whole thing during one Saturday spent waiting for my daughter to finish her dance lessons - it is that interesting a book.

What always amazes me in these true stories (I'm in the middle of reading William Queen's Under and Alone) is how these hyper-paranoid outlaws are repeatedly infiltrated by guys who, essentially, just show up and hang around. If I were looking to setup an OMC (outlaw motorcycle club) I'd have a hard-rule: you must commit a serious felony in our presence - one arranged by the club. They'd still get infiltrated, it'd just be a little harder.

And another point it's not always clear to me is what exactly the 81's are doing that amounts to serious big time crime. I understand that they're violent, use drugs, work hard at being social outcasts, etc., but in this story, most of the crimes depicted amount to selling one or two guns at a time, some drugs and random acts of violence. After having read of the massive and profitable drug operations mounted by the Hells Angels' Canadian chapters I'd expected some of that here.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Michelaneous by Michele on February 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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," but also on surveillance tapes and transcripts. They help provide detailed dialog between the operatives and their suspects. He puts you in the dark rooms, smoke-filled clubhouses, beer-soaked bars and inky tattoo parlors as you witness his transformation from a sandy-haired football star and all-American dad to a scary looking dude with a braided goatee. He becomes Bird.

He also becomes a patched Hells Angel, sacrificing everything dear to him in the process: his family, his friends, and nearly his soul. In a moment, however, just before the case shuts down, he experiences a revelation. It's not merely about the good and evil among the Hells Angels or in himself, it was the basic understanding this "brotherhood" was "nothing more than a support group for misunderstood loners held together by hate and money." Immersed in this HATE for so long, he ultimately casts it aside for everything he LOVES, and expresses this personal epiphany with tremendous humility. In spite of a disappointing outcome for Black Biscuit and his exposure as an undercover agent, this makes Jay a hero, and makes NO ANGEL a story worth reading.

There are many characters on both sides of the law and a slew of unfamiliar terminology and acronyms, but photos, glossaries maps and lists are provided to guide the reader. Very well done.

Michele Cozzens is the author of Irish Twins
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Staudacher on April 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book written from the first person perspective of undercover ATF Agent Jay Dobyns. The operation "Black Biscuit" was a lengthy and vastly expensive attempt to infiltrate the Hells Angels in Arizona. The operation was a success from the operative's perspective, but in reality it was a huge waste of tax dollars, which became evident when the case fell apart during prosecution. The most interesting aspect of the book was the internal struggle within Dobyn's life as he tries to balance his undercover role with that of a career law enforcement officer and family man. Dobyns also struggles with the fact that he identifies with and truly likes many of the Hells Angels he is targeting and deceiving everyday. Dobyns does not try to paint himself as a hero and admits to many mistakes, which gives the book credibility.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Hunt on May 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has its moments, but for the most part was not very exciting. I suppose the problem for me is I compared it to "Under and Alone" which is a far more exciting and interesting book about infiltrating a motorcycle club.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think it's great that there are people like Jay Dobyns risking lives to make Arizona a safer place, however the book was like reading a the William McQueen story. I have always had a curiosity about biker clubs, and this book did answer a lot of those unknowns for me. I would say it was worth the price, but I would not say it is a must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rick A. Haberman on July 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book tells us very little about the Hells Angels, their alleged crimes, or how they are carried out. Instead the book seems to be about Jay Dobyn's, uber macho federal agent. Dobyn's humble brags about his ferocious intensity. He tells us numerous times that he has had guns shoved in his face. He bravely battles his superiors, who undoubtedly thought he was an out-of-control egomaniac. And in case you didn't notice, this particular investigation shattered his personal life often leaving Dobyn's crying himself to sleep. A lot. Oh. And he has a serious man crush on HA patriarch Sonny Barger. In all seriousness, it seems like the actual Arizona Hells Angels are nothing but a subplot to Dobyn's tale of his own decent into frothy masculinity. And next to the Hydroxycut-addicted Dobyns, the Angels almost come off as pillars of stability. You almost get the feeling that it is harder to become a full patched HA, than it is to become an ATF agent.

In the end, a handful of HA's do some light time. Dobyn's chalks this up to "legal wrangling" about evidence, or rather Dobyn's failure to collect any evidence of serious crimes committed during his time as an undercover agent.
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