Jay Dobyns. No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, February 10th, 2009. 328 pp.
The story of an undercover ATF federal agent who worked to infiltrate the Hells Angels Motorbike gang in Arizona. It is a spellbinding account of Jay Dobyns’ work and how it affected him as a result of this undercover operation. The background story that the book provides of Dobyns life is just as interesting as Operation Black Biscuit (the operation against the Hells Angels). Dobyns was a college football star turned federal agent. On his first day with the ATF he was shot in the chest while pursuing a fugitve and while most people’s brush with death would make them think twice of their career for Dobyns the adrenaline rush of surviving death made him want to stay around for more. Not only did he stay with the ATF but Dobyns also decided to go undercover. He was quite an experienced undercover agent when he went on assignment with the Hells Angels case. It’s quite a read especially for the general readers since it provide a window into the world of outlaw motor bicycle gangs. Equally interesting was the window the book provides to the world of undercover cops and how they tried to enter into the bikers scene. These guys are incredibly smart and quick witted.
I must say that this book is controversial. The book’s subtitle might be misleading; I thought Dobyns actually infiltrated and became a member of the Hells Angels’ inner-circle. Actually towards the end of the book it’s revealed that Dobyns was a candidate for the Hells Angels but never got full membership before the operation was terminated by his superiors. Hence the title. There’s also a lot of back and forth on the internet concerning Operation Black Biscuit. Since the book was written Dobyns has also taken the government to court for failing to adequately protecting him from the threat of the Hells Angels.
The part of the book that really got to me was how his work was affecting his marriage and family. The two year mission left a toll and even altered Dobyns. Dobyns can’t help but to stay in character even when he’s off work and back with his family. It made me reevaluate my own pursuit of my career/ministry and the need to not neglect and lose my family.
As I was reading this I’m also reminded of how hard it is to lead a double life. One also shouldn’t be surprised that the more sinister side of one’s life will soon overtake the better side of one’s life. Our sinful inclination is real within us.