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.)
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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