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The Pretender

My Life Undercover for the FBI
Narrated by: Francis J. Spieler
Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
4 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In The Pretender, former FBI agent Marc Ruskin will pull listeners into the fascinating, elusive world of undercover operatives.

Of all the tools available to law enforcement, the living, breathing undercover operative remains the gold standard. This is true in TV shows and in the real world. In the era of electronic surveillance, UC work enforces accountability; it prevents mistakes, and of all the boots on the ground, undercover agents are often the most valuable.

The FBI generally has about 100 UC agents working full-time in the field. In the 1990s and 2000s, Marc Ruskin had the most diverse and notorious case list of all and the broadest experience within the bureaucracy, including overseas. He worked ops targeting public corruption, corporate fraud, Wall Street scams, narcotics trafficking, La Cosa Nostra, counterfeiting - and gritty street-level scams and schemes.

Sometimes working three or four cases simultaneously, Ruskin switched identities by the day: Each morning he had to walk out the door with the correct ID, clothes, accessories and frame of mind for that day's mission. Meet Alex Perez, Alejandro Marconi, and Sal Morelli, just a few of Ruskin's undercover personas.

And how is the right UC agent chosen, how is a bogus identity manufactured and "backstopped", how is the Bureau's long-term con painstakingly assembled? No one has ever given us the inside story like Ruskin. The Pretender is the definitive narrative of undercover ops - the procedures, the successes, the failures - and the changes in the culture of the new-era FBI.

©2017 Marc Ruskin (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

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  • JD
  • Fayetteville, AR
  • 12-26-18

Interesting story, astoundingly arrogant author

Overall, this book was fine. It’s definitely readable and will likely keep your interest but the author is full of himself to a level that nearly ruins the entire book. I got this book after reading “American Radical” (Tamer Elnoury) and I was looking for something similar. On paper, I suppose these two books are similar. However, The Pretender was more of an anthology of how amazing Marc Ruskin believes himself to be rather than tales of FBI heroics that don’t make the news.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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FBI undercover stories

Great book. Articulate and well-written. Great real-life undercover cases the author worked as an FBI special agent. It also offered an inside look at the FBI’s bureaucracy and dysfunction. The type of problems you’d find in any large organization. The only downside: the narrator has a voice that puts you to sleep. He’s soft-spoken and, frankly shouldn’t be narrating audio books.

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Interesting read.. I think.

I should have just read it on my own. The reader’s voice is too soft for an audiobook. I found myself either trailing off into my own thoughts, or falling asleep. His voice became background noise. But what I did manage to stay alert for was interesting/entertaining.

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Good inside view of undercover FBI agent

Many situations covered, interesting to hear how a covert agent creates their cover and how they help to build a case against suspects.