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)
This is one of my favorites so far. Instead of the narrator sounding like he is reading a book, it gives you the feeling that it is happening at that moment. The author gives enough detail so that you feel what he went through without boring you with a lot of useless facts. Some people won't like the book because of some of the language, but this is about a hardcore motorcycle gang so you have to expect the language if you want to get the true experience.
I wish I could give this book 6 stars. I loved it and wasn't expecting to get so engrossed. This book makes Donnie Brasco look like Mr. Rogers. If you have ever heard the expression of "unbelievable but true", this book fits the bill. I listened to this non-stop and couldn't wait to hear more. The main character is constantly in true fear for his life and surrounded by the most violent group of Mongul motorcycle gang members in Los Angeles. I was totally intrigued and right there with him in all of the drama.
This book was very captivating from the beginning. It was very well written and well read. It had an edgy feel that kept me interested, always expecting things to blow up. A real character study - it reminds us that there is a degree of humanity in all people, even those whom we dehumanize. This story shows the conflicting emotions felt by undercover officers who cannot help but to be drawn in by the people they meet. It shows his constant struggle to retain parts of himself as he got further and further into character. As he got to know and like these bikers, Billy had to keep reminding himself these were dangerous men who would kill him as soon as look at him, and when he stopped reminding himself, something would happen to shake him back to reality. I would have liked to hear more about the 'afterwards', however I think we get some of the picture on the extreme sacrifice this man made for his job and his own convictions. I do hope he was well rewarded for his efforts!
This book is well written and really grabs you and holds on. The narrator did a fantastic job and is able to transistion between the characters so well that it's like they are sitting with you telling you the story.
If you listen while commuting you find yourself not wanting to get out of the car.
I want to feel good when I complete a story & am a little harsh on depressing ones. There are a few sad ones that I love but not many.
This is a crazy story that I got hooked on quickly. It is hard to explain but I had some really mixed feeling about what Mr Queen went through. Great story and lots of respect for a heck of a job.
When a thug from another biker gang tries to cut/stab Queen and a Mongol
Great voice, expressive, almost like you're seeing it happen instead of someone reading a story. Talks like you think the u/c hero would talk.
How an Anglo undercover cop infiltrated the Mongols, the most violent biker gang, rose to the top and brought them down and lived to tell the story
This is a worthy addition to the true crime genre, though I would have wished for more details about, perhaps, fewer characters. The book also ends very abruptly and rather shapelessly. I don't need to know details about Queen's life, but I do want to know more about how he reintegrated over time.
Also - and this isn't giving anything away - high-ranking Mongols are suspicious of "Billy" from the start. We're shown how he gets in with them, but we never hear why they were so suspicious, whether other prospects face the same scrutiny, nor what their reactions are when the undercover operation is over.
William Queen took me right there with him and I could actually feel his anxiety as his undercover role as Billy St. John. I truly admire and appreciate the lengths this man went through for justice. This experience changed his life and compromised his closests relationships. My only objection to this story was that it seemed very coincidental that every time he was put in a situation where he would come close to either being made by the Mongols, or was nearly forced to give up his identity in the name of his oath, he somehow was able to avoid the situation. There was a lot of that happening in the story. The follow up in the end was detailed and satisfying to me as the reader. I highly recommend this book.
A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...
I am from Greensboro, the author's hometown and I heard Mel Gibson bought the movie rights... It is a great nonfiction story. Real undercover work, as related in the book, is not pretty or even attractive to the hero wannabees in all of us.
There are many tragic tales within this book, but one I can't seem to get over is the monumental sacrifices an undercover agent makes to protect us. If this was a work of fiction, I'd rate it a 3- because while it is an heroic tale, it is disturbing to read about.
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.....
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