Ex-biker ends up a top FBI informant inside a white supremacist group.
In 1996, Hall was living on disability checks in Dayton, Ohio, fixing the occasional motorcycle for friends and taking it easy. That changed after he provided a marijuana connection to a distant relative, who turned out to be working with the feds. Special Agent Burkey persuaded Hall to use his biker-club connections to infiltrate the local chapter of the Aryan Nation. The story of Hall’s smooth climb up the AN’s chain of command is related in straightforward fashion; his words alternate with Burkey’s terse accounts in a dual memoir stitched together by prolific crime scribe Ramsland (Inside the Minds of Healthcare Serial Killers, 2007, etc.). At 6’4” and 350 lbs., sporting abundant tattoos, Hall looked like many other AN members, but he was hardly comfortable in his hatemongering surroundings. He had biracial nieces and nephews, and he viewed his new “friends” as psychopathic losers who couldn’t hack real life. But he acted his part well and was soon being groomed for a pastoral position in the AN’s pseudo-Christian hierarchy. A paranoid, trigger-happy bunch of KKK rednecks, militia types and Nazi skinheads made highly dangerous companions, but Burkey kept Hall burrowing deeper. A year after the Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI was fiercely focused on preventing another attack by white supremacists like Timothy McVeigh. Pretending to be a bile-filed racist took its toll on the easygoing Hall. By the time he was made privy to plans for truck bombings and the assassination of white-supremacist scourge Morris Dees, he was having panic attacks, knocking back Xanax and drinking himself to sleep. While the knocked-together prose shows signs of Ramsland’s overly busy schedule, she does a good job of keeping the focus on Hall’s problematic double life, relegating the FBI’s role to the background. This view of the domestic terrorist underground benefits hugely from an impressively charismatic informant’s ringside seat.
Informative, plainly recounted trip into a nexus of homegrown evil.