A federal agent earns his colors with the Mongol motorcycle gang while working undercover.
For more than two years in southern California, Queen worked his way up through the feudal/corporate hierarchy of the notorious Mongols, for whom “murder and mayhem have become simply a lifestyle choice.” They ran drugs and trafficked in guns to fill the group’s coffers; they got their kicks from assaults, gunfights, stabbings, and other hideous, random acts of violence. Queen’s narrative voice is a bit intimidating: gruff and unflinching, like a mean stare. This doesn’t come as a big surprise, however, considering that the Special Forces veteran spent 16 years at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, working undercover to buy cocaine from the Crips in Los Angeles and machine guns from neo-Nazis in West Virginia. Queen is a natural storyteller and explainer, and his material offers top-shelf adventure. As he went about trying to gather evidence against the Mongols, he felt the disorientation that comes with long, deep cover. He began to appreciate the gang’s camaraderie—they consoled him when the woman who raised him died, while his partners in the BATF never mentioned it—but was snapped back to his senses when they went out and stomped some poor slob to death. Much of Queen’s time was spent trying to figure out how to thwart a murder or avoid participation in dope-taking. The episodes describing those efforts are packed with great intensity, as so much hangs in the balance. In spare moments, he tried to give his sons a real life, though that didn’t happen until he surfaced to testify, when the boys were relocated along with his ex-wife to a different state under new names.
A dark and twisted world, fully realized. Don’t be surprised if it runs to bestsellerdom. (16-page photo insert, not seen)