Nor did Queen suspect that he would penetrate the gang so successfully that he would become a fully "patched-in" member, eventually rising through their ranks to the office of treasurer, where he had unprecedented access to evidence of their criminal activity. After Queen spent 28 months as "Billy St. John", the bearded, beer-swilling, Harley-riding gang-banger, the truth of his identity became blurry, even to himself.
From Queen's first sleight of hand with a line of methamphetamine in front of him and a knife at his throat, to the fearsome face-off with their decades-old enemy, the Hell's Angels (a brawl that left three bikers dead), to the heartbreaking scene of a father ostracized at Parents' Night because his deranged-outlaw appearance precluded any interaction with regular citizens, Under and Alone is a breathless, adrenaline-charged listen. It will put you on the street with some of the most dangerous men in America and with the law enforcement agents who risk everything to bring them in.
©2005 William Queen; (P)2006 Books on Tape
"His story is tight, suspenseful, and unstoppable." (Bookmarks Magazine)
"[A] harrowing, turbocharged account of undercover life....The strength and white-hot intensity of the writing make this read like a movie." (Publishers Weekly)
There is no doubt Queen did an amazing piece of undercover work. I researched some old news articles after reading the book, which supported all his claims. However, the writing is overly dramatic and often contradictory. As an example, in one paragraph Queen gushes about how impenetrable the OMG (Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs) are then a couple paragraphs later he cites the plethora of law enforcement agents that have infiltrated various clubs. Also, Queen did little to accurately portray firearms. When he ominously described one biker secreting a North American Arms (NAA) .22 revolver on his ride, he did not convey the fact that this is about the most useless firearm you'll ever come across. He did nothing to point out the inadequacies of other firearms popular with members such as short barreled .38 revolvers.
Stop with the "breathless" narration. The narrator read every sentence as though it was the most incredible, scary thing in the world. Save the dramatic reading for the dramatic portions of the book. I barely made it through this book. The exaggerated narration and poor writing made it difficult to endure.
I see the execution of this book as an opportunity lost. Queen did incredible undercover work in an extremely dangerous situation. Unfortunately, the writing was not on par with the story.
The writing and delivery are excellent
I am reading/listening to Dead Biker right now...under and alone is similar but better
A tad action, mix in some history, throw in some battle & a sprinkle of mystery. A dash narration with added heart & a novel can become art
Inside look at the clubs, the people, the structure and the crimes.
I had overall mixed feelings about this book and law enforcement as a whole.
We have quite alot of trouble with bikie gangs here, so it was great to see inside one of these (mongols have only just moved to Aus which will cause tension with very violent existing gangs), however i was somewhat struck by the ATFs intention in some cases to avoid involment in a crime (which i understand) but not to attempt to prevent the crime itself. An example of this was the 3 strippers that were the centre of a plan by the bikies.
I was also interested in the ability of officers to become corrupted through the indoctrination of the club, to view it as a brotherhood and almost be reluctant to testify.
Despite mixed emotions I am glad I read it, as it was as educational as it was a great yarn. I am glad that there are still those out there who can avoid corruption and stand up to do the right thing and sacrifice nearly their entire life in the process - definition of a hero.
Good historical documentation of the ATFs successful infiltration into the Mongol biker gang in California. I wonder if this wasn't the inspiration for "Sons of Anarchy" on FX. No doubt it was stressful for Mr. Queen, but some of the charges that they do end up filing seemed rather petty to me given all the hoopla-- minor weapons charges, etc hardly seem worth all of the effort and risk.....
Anyone with the slightest interest in law enforcement/undercover work will find this book incredible.
Work in the tech industry. I like nonfiction.
Billie St John!
Incredible performance! Like it was the author. He became the author.
This book ranks incredible and Don Leslie brings it to life.
Billy St. John
I have not.
An excellent adventure told from the point of an ATF agent. He is very good at bringing you into the mindset of an undercover agent.
The performance was great driven by the real life drama of an undercover federal agent. Just great!
Yes - it's hard not to be on the edge of your seat when every situation has the possibility of blowing this guys cover in the company of people who wouldn't let him live.
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