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No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Jay Dobyns , Nils Johnson-Shelton , Mel Foster
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 17.69
Price: 14.46 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Mar 2009
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-scale, bloody riot between the Hells Angels and their rivals, the Mongols–these are just a few of the high-adrenaline experiences Dobyns recounts in this action-packed, hard-to-imagine-but-true story.

Dobyns leaves no stone of his harrowing journey unturned. At runs and clubhouses, between rides and riots, Dobyns befriends bad-ass bikers, meth-fueled “old ladies,” gun fetishists, psycho-killer ex-cons, and even some of the “Filthy Few”–the elite of the Hells Angels who’ve committed extreme violence on behalf of their club. Eventually, at parties staged behind heavily armed security, he meets legendary club members such as Chuck Zito, Johnny Angel, and the godfather of all bikers, Ralph “Sonny” Barger. To blend in with them, he gets full-arm ink; to win their respect, he vows to prove himself a stone-cold killer.

Hardest of all is leading a double life, which has him torn between his devotion to his wife and children, and his pledge to become the first federal agent ever to be “fully patched” into the Angels’ near-impregnable ranks. His act is so convincing that he comes within a hairsbreadth of losing himself. Eventually, he realizes that just as he’s been infiltrating the Hells Angels, they’ve been infiltrating him. And just as they’re not all bad, he’s not all good.

Reminiscent of Donnie Brasco’s uncovering of the true Mafia, this is an eye-opening portrait of the world of bikers–the most in-depth since Hunter Thompson’s seminal work–one that fully describes the seductive lure criminal camaraderie has for men who would otherwise be powerless outsiders. Here is all the nihilism, hate, and intimidation, but also the freedom–and, yes, brotherhood–of the only truly American form of organized crime.


From the Hardcover edition.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (26 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400162483
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400162482
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.6 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,552,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I grew up in Berdoo, where the Hells Angels started. One of my high school classmates became a member. When Sonny Barger's first book came out, I wrote a review . . . but I didn't always recognize what I knew about the club from what he had to say. I picked up this book hoping to get a more up-to-date view of how the outcasts were making money and entertaining themselves these days. It didn't look like things had changed all that much.

A pleasant surprise for me was to read the very personal account of how the adrenaline rush of the outlaw biker gang life can get to a person, even an undercover cop posing as such a biker. A similar thing happens to new business leaders, who become intoxicated with their new-found influence and power. It's a dangerous reaction and well documented here.

As a book, I found that the story was too much about the investigation and every little step in it. I would have enjoyed a shorter book that focused more on telling a good story.

I have no idea what this undercover operation cost, but it must have been a bundle. I wonder if those resources were worth tracking down the Hells Angels who were caught and ended up doing time as a result.

I also suspect that a documentary of this story would have been much more interesting to watch than this book was to read. Perhaps this just wasn't the right format for capturing the sleaze and dirt involved.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  212 reviews
48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the Definitive Case History, but Still a Darn-Good Tale 1 Mar 2009
By Wayne Beckham - Published on Amazon.com
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.

This is not the complete story of this interesting case: It's Jay Dobyns' story and the other case agents, his family, and ATF supervisors are less real that Jay Bird and his Red & White targets. There are some serious tales to be told by people in this book who make appearances and fade away, props used as set decoration where Jay is definitely the star.

Jay Dobyns is a fascinating guy. In the media blitz surrounding the release of this book, I've listened to hours of interviews on podcasts and late night talk radio and he's interesting and very articulate. Given that the book is about a third profanity (okay, I'm exaggerating) I hadn't expected that. He's also incredibly patient. I was listening to one pod-cast interview where the interviewer was slow, rambling, interrupted and generally irritated the heck out of me. Dobyns answered with patience and serious consideration to even the weirdest utterances by the host. Personally, I wanted to check the guy's pupils.

In the book, Jay is brutally honest particularly about himself and his failures to his family and friends. As I read it there were parts where I wondered if he understood that his wife might also read this book! He must have at some point, because his interaction with his undercover "girlfriend", Jenna "JJ" Maguire, is glossed over to the point of almost non-existence.

It's in those interviews that you get to hear about the aftermath of Operation Black Biscuit and I urge Dobyns to write the other half of the story: the prosecution that fell apart and, more ominously, the ongoing threats to him and his family. In August 2008 his house burned to the ground and his wife and children barely escaped with their lives.

The story of the ATF infiltration into the most famous of the self-described Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs deserves a wider and more documentary accounting, something along the lines of Lou Cannon's Official Negligence, everything you ever wanted to know about the Rodney King incident and it's aftermath. I'm left wondering what happened to JJ? As a woman agent in the middle of the male-dominated Hells Angels, her side of the story would be something worth reading.

So, this is a great, though incomplete, telling of Operation Black Biscuit. I hope some enterprising journalist find the time and support to put together what the late Paul Harvey called, "the rest of the story."
41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Raw, Real and Riveting Memoir 22 Feb 2009
By Michelaneous by Michele - Published on Amazon.com
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
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate portrayal of a colossal waste of tax dollars 7 April 2009
By Thomas A. Staudacher - Published on Amazon.com
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay 28 May 2009
By R. Hunt - Published on Amazon.com
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.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a dead end... 3 Aug 2010
By Christopher Plummer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book certainly was a fast-past, no holds barred account. But in the end, the main conflict in this book was the author's inner struggle.. It really is all about him.. He goes on for almost a whole page about how he made a grilled cheese sandwich for his kid. While just giving you sidelines about the Angels. I do commend him that he blames himself for his fanaticism for the case- plunging into the Angels' thug-life and almost losing his mind.. (Unlike someone like Sarah Palin who writes a book just to cast all her failures on others) But in the end, this shows the government's wasting of money and time. In a post 9-11 world, why should the ATF really care about a bunch of guys in the desert moving low amounts of drugs and alot of firearms in a carry-permit state?? If the Hells Angels were REALLY a problem, wouldn't the communities where they had their clubhouses have put pressure on the state and the police to clean up? Thank goodness he got out in one piece, but he should have been reeled in long before things got way too deep..
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