BEFRIEND AND BETRAY by Alex Caine

BEFRIEND AND BETRAY

Infiltrating the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Other Criminal Brotherhoods
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Infiltrator-for-hire Caine writes with disarming candor about going undercover everywhere from Newfoundland to Hong Kong.

The child of a broken family in a small Quebec town, he was a directionless 20-year-old ne’er-do-well when he signed up in 1969 to fight with the U.S. Marines in Vietnam. A horrific tour of duty, which saw him coordinating extrajudicial assassinations and accidentally killing at least one civilian, left him prone to detachment, something he put to use after returning to Canada. Accidentally getting too friendly with a Vancouver criminal, he informed the police; but instead of giving him a reward, the Mounties signed him up as an informant. The investigation widened into an international operation that sent Caine flying to Hong Kong (along with plenty of cops looking for a taypayer-funded vacation) to move higher up the Triad’s chain of command. After that, he became an undercover mercenary specializing in biker gangs. Caine’s unassuming demeanor made him fit in better than the undercover officers who overdid it. Indeed, he displays considerable contempt for cops who relish playing the bad boy, portraying one police ambush he witnessed as little more than a gangland hit. Most of the narrative details his work inside the Bandidos, a Pacific Northwest gang, and a long assignment with the Hell’s Angels in California. Along the way he also describes operations involving Toronto gangs and the KKK. His personal life suffered from all the role-playing: “My mind is really a graveyard for all the people I've been,” he writes. Two marriages broke up, and an investigation involving a family member estranged his sisters. Unlike ATF special agent Jay Dobyns (No Angel, 2009), Caine remains resolutely unromantic about his targets and has no problem doing exactly what the book’s title directs.

A refreshingly open and clearheaded account of the dirty side of law enforcement.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-53719-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2008