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No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels (Hardcover)


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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Review
"Compulsively page-turning. The true story of Jay Dobyns, all-American dad and undercover cop running and gunning with the most dangerous outlaws in the USA. A high-velocity trip into a frightening American underworld told in rapid-fire, hard-boiled prose."
—Evan Wright, author of the national bestseller Generation Kill

“No Angel pushes narrative nonfiction to new limits…If you wondered whether the bravura writing of Truman Capote and Hunter S. Thompson has a legacy, look no further. Dobyns leads us into the wacky, white world of the Hell's Angels, and with empathy and precision forces us to admit that bikers are all-too human.”
—Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

“Jay Dobyns is a hero. Out of a sense of duty, he closed his eyes and made a journey into Hell. For two years he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, but thankfully, he lived to tell this riveting story. Highly recommended!”
—William “Billy” Queen, Special Agent ATF, Ret. and New York Times bestselling author of Under and Alone

“A wild ride to the dark side. Jay Dobyns roars through the gritty underworld of organized crime that you never see in TV cop shows or read in the newspaper. He reveals the true, violent face of outlaw bikers — but also the tortured souls of the undercover cops who dare to infiltrate them.”
—Julian Sher, co-author Angels of Death: Inside the Bikers’ Global Crime Empire

"No Angel is an absolutely amazing account of one man's willingness to go above and beyond. Jay Dobyns, his team and those like them live life on the edge in an environment most can only imagine. This book provides a rare opportunity to share in the intensity, feel the... --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

RICK "SHAQ" GOLDSTEIN SAYS: "TO CALL WHAT FOLLOWS... "WHITE-KNUCKLE"... WOULD BE LIKE CALLING A SEVERED LEG A SCRATCH!", February 11, 2009
By Rick Goldstein "Rick Shaq Goldstein" (Danville, Ca, USA)


"Donnie Brasco" was an FBI agent going undercover in the Mafia... "Covert" was a New Jersey State Trooper going undercover in the Mafia... and now we have an ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND FIREARMS (ATF) agent... going undercover in the Hells Angels... and let me warn you... that this true- life story... by ATF agent Jay Dobyns... aka Jay "Bird" Davis... is a non-stop adrenaline ride... whether... on... or... off... a motorcycle.

The reader is quickly brought up to speed regarding Jay's background which included playing wide receiver for the University Of Arizona Wildcats... where there may have been more talented players than Jay... but none liked hitting more than he did... and that personal characteristic... came in quite handy... when he put his life on the line with some mighty mean OMG (Outlaw Motorcycle Organizations) members... including... but not limited to the world famous HELLS ANGELS.

On one of Jay's first training missions... which involved following up on a warrant for an ex-con believed to be in possession of an illegal weapon... he wound up being held at gunpoint... and during the shootout that killed the ex-con... who was holding a gun to Jay's head... the ensuing "dying-quivers" in the now dead criminal's fingers... released a bullet from the death-gripped gun... that "went in between Jay's shoulder blades, just missed his spine, punctured the top of his left lung, and exited under his collarbone". Jay was left with a "SUCKING-CHEST-WOUND"... and almost died in the hospital. Rather than making him a gun-shy administrator... upon his recovery... the author stated: "THE BULLET PUT THE RUSH OF THE STREETS IN ME AND THROUGH ME. IT GUARANTEED I'D NEVER DIRECT ANYTHING BUT MYSELF, AND CONVINCED ME THAT LARGE DESKS WERE FOR CASTRATED DUMMIES. I THOUGHT, F*** THAT, I'M GONNA BE AN UNDERCOVER."

And so starts a story that's too amazing to be true... but true it is! The writing style is similar to Charlie Huston's "pedal-to-the-medal" novels... except for one major difference... this "ain't" a novel... it's true! Jay who's based in Arizona... where most of the action takes place... with side trips to California... and involves subordinates i.e.: snitches and CI's (Confidential informants)... trips to Mexico... where Federal Agents aren't allowed to go... Jay's first undercover operation which was designed to get "street-cred" with the Hells Angels... is code name: "OPERATION RIVERSIDE"... which involved illegal gun distribution. In addition to having his life constantly on the line infiltrating the worst of the worst OMG's... as Jay "Bird" Davis... Jay tries as hard as possible to somehow remain a positive Fatherly... and husband... presence... in his wife's and two kid's lives. As hard as it is to imagine... existing in the undercover role... try to envision... balancing the family role as well.

Here's a summary of his early juggling act... combining deadly undercover and Fatherhood: "WITHIN TWELVE WEEKS I'D PURCHASED A GRAB-BAG OF GUNS: A CZECHOSLOVAKIAN .32 CALIBER SEMIAUTO PISTOL; A ROHM .22 CALIBER REVOLVER; AN FIE MODEL A27 .25 CALIBER PISTOL; AN INTRATEC TEC-22, 9MM PISTOL WITH COMPATIBLE SILENCER; A SITES SPECTRE HC9 MM SEMIAUTO PISTOL; A RUGER .22 CALIBER MODEL 1022 RIFLE WITH A SAWED-OFF THIRTEEN-INCH BARREL; AND A COLT A/R-15 .223 CALIBER MACHINE GUN. I BOUGHT FORTY-ODD SILENCERS FROM HOLT, WITH McMANAMA ACTING AS A MIDDLEMAN. THE SILENCERS, THE MACHINE GUN, THE SAWED-OFF, AND THE TEC-22 WITH THE SILENCER WERE ALL BANNED WEAPONS. I WAS NEVER ASKED TO FILL OUT ANY PAPERWORK, AS I'D ALWAYS IMPLIED TO THEM THAT I WAS USING THEM FOR KILLS OR THAT I WAS RUNNING THEM SOUTH TO MEXICO TO SELL AT A MARKUP. I DANCED AROUND FOUR MURDER SOLICITATIONS, DELAYING OR BLUFFING, NEVER ACTUALLY KILLING ANYONE FOR MONEY. THEY ALL KEPT ME VERY BUSY."

I'd say so... in addition... his son Jack... kept him busy also. During this time period Jay "made sure to drive down to Tucson twice a week to coach a rabid gang of seven-and-eight-year olds in a T-Ball league." During the entire "OPERATION-RIVERSIDE" he never missed a game, even if he had to drive the entire night.

From that operation... Jack gets involved in "OPERATION-BLACK-BISCUIT"... the actual infiltration of the daunting... and infamous... Hells Angels. During these operations, the reader is treated to a firsthand viewing... of the true "reeking" underbelly of the OMG life(?)style. Here's where the writing style... in addition to its breakneck speed... fully and non-deferentially... describes the decaying humanity... that is all too prevalent... at the other end... of the falsely glamorized... life... of... drugs... guns... misogyny... and all the other criminal... excesses... that remain like... human residue... that even a good storm... can't wash away.

Some examples: "WE WERE LED TO A VIP AREA THAT WAS OCCUPIED BY A FEW OTHER ANGELS AND A SNARL OF SCANTILY CLAD WOMEN. SOME WERE ATTRACTIVE, SOME LOOKED LIKE MUD-FLAPS ON A SNOWY DAY IN MARCH."

"I GAZED ON A CLASSIC METH TRAMP: LINED FACE, SHATTERED TEETH, SUNKEN EYES, BLEACH BLOND HAIR, HER WAIST BULGING OVER HER CUTOFFS"

"THEY STABBED HER REPEATEDLY. THEY TOOK TURNS TRYING TO CUT OFF HER HEAD, WHICH THEY WANTED TO LEAVE ON A FENCEPOST FOR THE VULTURES. HER SPINE GAVE THEM TROUBLE. THEY HACKED AND WEDGED THE KNIFE'S POINT INTO THE VERTEBRA, BUT IT REMAINED STUBBORN."

If you want to see a romanticized version of OMG life... rent a movie... you want to learn about the dregs of society... read this book.

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