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The Black Hand: The Story of Rene "Boxer" Enriquez and His Life in the Mexican Mafia Mass Market Paperback – September 29, 2009

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The Black Hand: The Story of Rene "Boxer" Enriquez and His Life in the Mexican Mafia + Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. + Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061257303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061257308
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. There is much to praise in this authorized biography of Rene Boxer Enriquez, penned by Peabody Award–winning journalist Blatchford (Three Dog Nightmare). While this is a superb cautionary tale about the dangers of youth falling into senseless gang violence, it also rates as a probing, redemptive story of Enriquez, a vicious, heroin-addicted killer for Los Angeles's largest criminal street gang, with 20,000 members involved in extortion, drug-dealing, vice and murder. Blatchford explores with grim accuracy Enriquez's criminal past, prison killings, turf wars and contract eliminations around the West Coast. But the book also reveals Enriquez and his crew's total commitment to hoodlum honor, the cost in lives and status, and the betrayals and intrigues both behind bars and out in society. This is a savvy account of Enriquez's arduous self-education and personal transformation from cold killer to a man who, in his own words, educates law enforcement and the public about a prison and criminal subculture that should scare the hell out of them. (Sept.)
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.


“Blatchford is well-suited to tell this story . . . he captures the nuances and nihilism of the prison world . . . The narrative is interspersed with fascinating prison arcana.” (Los Angeles Times)

“A gripping, powerful, chilling inside look at a criminal organization that is changing the organized crime landscape. This is a mob classic.” (Dominick Dunne)

“A fascinating, vivid and unforgettable insider’s look at the bloody, secret and deadly Mexican Mafia. Chris Blatchford’s compulsively readable wake-up call spares no one and names everyone, including the politicians who aid and abet this dangerous criminal organization, through corruption, maddening naiveté, or political correctness.” (Joseph Wambaugh)

“A courageous and well-written exposé on one of the most ruthless and powerful gangs of all, the Mexican Mafia. Chris Blatchford reaffirms his position as being among Americans greatest investigative reporters.” (Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter)

“Chris Blatchford has hit a grand slam. The Black Hand is an important page turning book that will take you into a frightening dark world that shouldn’t exist… but it does. It’s riveting, and when you finish the book, you’ll get up and lock your doors. Highly recommended.” (William "Billy" Queen, retired special agent ATF and bestselling author of Under and Alone)

“A fascinating look at the world of the Mexican Mafia, more ruthless than the LCN. A must read for law enforcement and a tribute to the courage of ‘dropout’ Rene ‘Boxer’ Enriquez.” (Joe Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco)

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Customer Reviews

This book is very interesting and is a great read.
Sal A.
I have to hand it to him and thank him for making a book that can hopefully help other troubled teens to think about it before they end up in prison too.
S. Ortega
I could not put this book down once i started reading it.
Norma Scalise

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Norwalquero on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My first acquaintence with Rene Enriquez came in the early 1990's, during a week-long, Chris Blatchford exclusive on the Mexican Mafia.

In that early 90's report, Blatchford revealed 'Boxer' as a cold-hearted Eme leader who (during his double-murder, double-attempted murder trial) turned calmly toward the camera lens of a courtroom news crew and broke into 'shoulder -shaking laughter'. Since then, I have been anxious to know more about this man.

Like Blatchford himself, I too was floored when I learned (a few years ago) that Rene Enriquez had chosen to 'debrief' and to turn aside from his Gang. After all, not only had 'Boxer' previously demonstrated the Can't-stop-won't-stop mentality of a loyal Eme soldier (by laughing in the face of a possible death penalty situation) but had also risen through the ranks of Eme leadership to the highest echelons of Mafia power.

Blatchford's long-anticipated book on Rene Enriquez does not, by any means, disappoint! To the contrary, it is perhaps the best first-hand account of the Eme's power, influence, ruthlessness and depraved potential in print today. (While "Mundo" Mendoza's seminal work provides an in-depth understanding and historical background of the first 25 years of the Eme's existence, Blatchford/ Enriquez bring readers up to speed on 'M' into the 21st century)

Blatchford covers Rene Enriquez from his childhood in Cerritos (then surrounded by dairy farms) to his initiation (following his older brother's footsteps) into 'Arta/ Artesia X3', to his teenage years gang-banging against the likes of Hawaiian Gardens, Tokers Town & Norwalk, getting high, doing robberies and growing increasingly rebellious against his parents and against authorities.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on September 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Street life can be brutal, even for those who think they hold the winning hand.

Investigative reporter Chris Blatchford delves into the shadows of La Eme, the Mexican Mafia, in this authorized biography of former gang enforcer Rene Enriquez. The tentacles of this monster of urban terrorism spans several continents and grips the halls of government, businesses and neighborhoods by day, while brutally dealing drugs, extortion, vice and murder under the darkness of night.

And Enriquez - who is serving a life-sentence for crimes perpetrated for the gang - was once a player in the largest street gang in Los Angeles. Enriquez learned the ropes while growing up on the street of East L.A. and showed the smarts and muscle to find his way into La Eme.

His life of violence and the reasons he finally broke away, along with what happened when he began to publicly renounce the gang, makes for a compelling and urgent story. But Blatchford connects the dots in the puzzle that makes La Eme a force in North, Central and South America, with a growing army of gang members and supporters who have massive influence within a web of operations.

This is not some Hollywood version of wise guys or a fictionalized account of "honorable" men in a dishonorable profession; this is the hands of terror that are scooping up power and slapping aside those honest enough to stand in their way.

It is a call from the "Boxer" to stop the onslaught by the thugs before it is too late.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By I buy things on February 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very interesting read, but it is a little exagerated and not from the hit man Boxers point of view. It is from Chris Blatchfords point of view. Chris Blatchford makes the book interesting, but it is pretty obvious as one reads that Blatchford grew up in a suburb away from anything known as a gang. At times he seems almost scared or as if exagerating his points of view in order to scare the readers. With that in mind the book is still a great book to read for anyone in the criminology field.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy L. Farren on June 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Eme is the new La Cosa southern California their army of loyal Latino gang members numbers in the tens of thousands. La Cosa Nostra in the U.S. never had anything close to those numbers to build on." [PG303]

"...[La Eme] represent the single greatest threat to the internal security of the nation because their power is derived from a 'choke-hold' on the prison system at the federal, state, and local levels. That power is growing rather than receding in the years since 9/11, when law enforcement took its eye off the ball. Eme was battered and bruised in the late 1990s and into 2000-2001 - on the verge of extinction - but law enforcement at every level left the field, and Eme has undergone resurgence. Today they are at the pinnacle of the crime pyramid in the USA." [PG 301] I heard that 30% of today's U.S. prisoners are Latino. With rising crime committed by illegals, I thought, tho a high percentage, that was the explanation for it. This quote gave me pause.

"Thank God most of them are heroin addicts. It keeps them from doing what they have the potential of doing." - Gang expert & retired L.A. County sheriff's sergeant Richard Valdemar [PG 303]

"I don't think the public understands the ramifications of what the Mexican Mafia has grown into - and right now it's in its nascency. THERE IS A BIG SHIFT TOWARD MAKING GUYS WHO AREN'T LIFERS AND DO NOT USE DRUGS. - Rene Enriquez [PG 303]

"They ran it essentially like a corporation." [PG 300]

"Rene invested his drug 'tax' dollars in U.S. Treasury bonds, CDs, and double-e series U.S. savings bonds. ... He and other inmates legally set up interest-earning banks accounts at Bank of America...some Mafiosi even play the stock market.
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