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Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gangby William Queen
Synopses & Reviews
In 1998, William Queen was a veteran law enforcement agent with a lifelong love of motorcycles and a lack of patience with paperwork. When a "confidential informant" made contact with his boss at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, offering to take an agent inside the San Fernando chapter of the Mongols (the scourge of Southern California, and one of the most dangerous gangs in America), Queen jumped at the chance, not realizing that he was kick-starting the most extensive undercover operation inside an outlaw motorcycle gang in the history of American law enforcement.
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 twenty-eight months as "Billy St. John," the bearded, beer-swilling, Harley-riding gang-banger, the truth of his identity became blurry, even to himself.
During his initial "prospecting" phase, Queen was at the mercy of crank-fueled criminal psychopaths who sought to have him test his mettle and prove his fealty by any means necessary, from selling (and doing) drugs, to arms trafficking, stealing motorcycles, driving getaway cars, and, in one shocking instance, stitching up the face of a Mongol "ol' lady" after a particularly brutal beating at the hands of her boyfriend.
Yet despite the constant criminality of the gang, for whom planning cop killings and gang rapes were business as usual, Queen also came to see the genuine camaraderie they shared. When his lengthy undercover work totally isolated Queen from family, his friends, and ATF colleagues, the Mongols felt like the only family he had left. "I had no doubt these guys genuinely loved Billy St. John and would have laid down their lives for him. But they wouldn't hesitate to murder Billy Queen."
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 read that puts 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.
"This harrowing, turbocharged account of undercover life is reminiscent of Joseph D. Pistone's Donnie Brasco. After military service in Vietnam, Queen began his law enforcement career, eventually spending 20 years as an ATF special agent. In 1998, through contact with a 'confidential informant,' he began to hang with the Mongol Nation, a violent Southern California motorcycle club ('a tight-knit collective of crazies, unpredictable and unrepentant badasses') with 20 chapters in several states and 350 members both in and out of prison. Assuming the role of bearded biker 'Billy St. John,' Queen entered into a 28-month undercover operation. To gather evidence of homicide, weapons and narcotics violations, he sometimes wore a wire, knowing that its discovery could lead to his murder. Indeed, he was suspected at first of being a cop and forced to prove himself in more than a few dangerous situations. But after months of hazing, he became a trusted member. Queen steers clear of melodrama and captures both sides of his double life; the sadistic characters and criminal camaraderie are contrasted with his own inner turmoil, as he thought of the Mongols as his friends while the investigation escalated. The strength and white-hot intensity of the writing make this read like a movie, and Hollywood is certain to take note. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (On sale Apr. 5)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Top-shelf adventure...packed with great intensity...a dark and twisted world, fully realized. Don't be surprised if it runs to bestsellerdom." Kirkus Reviews
"[T]he narrative is unstoppable. A word-of-mouth sleeper." Booklist
"Queen's book is dramatic without being hyped, and the style of writing is conversational, as if the reader were sitting at a bar listening to Queen tell his story. Enjoy it, live vicariously and then go back to your 9-to-5 life." Oregonian
"Under and Alone is the dangerous and fascinating true story of an undercover ATF agent and the psychological price he was made to pay for his courageous work." Joseph Wambaugh, bestselling author of The Onion Field
"A riveting story of a one-of-a-kind officer that takes you to the deepest and most dangerous part of undercover work. Highly recommended." Joseph Pistone, author of Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia
In 1998, when a confidential informant offered to take veteran law-enforcement agent William Queen inside the San Fernando chapter of the Mongols, Queen jumped at the chance. But he never suspected 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. During his initial prospecting phase, Queen was at the mercy of crank-fueled criminal psychopaths who forced him to prove his mettle by any means necessary, from selling (and doing) drugs, to arms trafficking, stealing motorcycles, and driving getaway cars. Yet despite the constant criminality of the gang, for whom cop-killings and gang rapes were par for the course, Queen came to see the genuine camaraderie they shared. After twenty-eight months as Billy St. John, the bearded, beer-swilling, Harley-riding gang-banger, Queen found that the truth of his identity became blurry even to himself. A breathless, adrenaline-charged read, Under and Alone puts you on the street with some of the most dangerous, marginalized men in America and with the law-enforcement agents who risk everything to bring them in.
A breathless, adrenaline-charged read, Under and Alone puts readers on the street with members of America's most violent outlaw motorcycle gang and with the law-enforcement agents who risk everything to bring them in.
In this breathless, adrenaline-charged "New York Times" bestseller, a veteran law enforcement agent tells the true story of how he went undercover to infiltrate America's most violent outlaw motorcycle club, Hell's Angels.
About the Author
William Queen spent twenty years as a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A Vietnam War veteran, Queen served with the U.S. Army Special Forces and was awarded the Silver Star during his 1971 tour of duty. After his military service, Queen devoted his entire career to law enforcement. For his groundbreaking undercover work playing the part of biker "Billy St. John," William Queen was awarded the 2001 Federal Bar Association's Medal of Valor, the Director's Award from the Department of Justice, the Robert Faulkner Memorial Outstanding Investigation Award from the International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigator Association, the Medal of Valor from the International Narcotics Investigators Association, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
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