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Dead in 5 Heartbeats

Dead in 5 Heartbeats

3.0 6
by Ralph (Sonny) Barger, Keith Zimmerman, Kent Zimmerman

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Ralph "Sonny" Barger first gained the attention of the book world with his bestselling memoir Hell's Angel. Now he uses what he's learned from a life insidea subculture few will ever know to create his no-holds-barred first novel, giving readers a taste of the camaraderie, the pain, and the thrills of what it's like to live life on two wheels.

Everett John


Ralph "Sonny" Barger first gained the attention of the book world with his bestselling memoir Hell's Angel. Now he uses what he's learned from a life insidea subculture few will ever know to create his no-holds-barred first novel, giving readers a taste of the camaraderie, the pain, and the thrills of what it's like to live life on two wheels.

Everett John "Patch" Kinkade just wants to be left alone. The former president of the Infidelz, the most powerful motorcycle club in California, Patch has grown weary of the responsibilities and burdens that come with the mantle of leadership. He leaves California for Arizona, determined to start a new life and to put a few hundred miles between him and the tragedy that tore his family apart.

But it isn't long before a new crisis pulls Patch back to his old stomping grounds. Tension between the Infidelz and a rival club, the 2Wheelers, erupts one night in a lethal free-for-all, littering a casino with the corpses of club members and ordinary citizens alike. The newspapers call it a war, and Patch knows he must return to help the club, either by making peace or by charging into battle. Now it's not just his life at stake, but the lives of the rest of the Infidelz as well, and Patch would fight the Grim Reaper himself to protect his brothers. Prepared to destroy any man who crosses his path, even if it means confronting the demons from his past, Patch gases up his Harley, sharpens his blade, and heads out on the highway for what could be his final ride.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
Barger, best-selling author of Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club and former president of the Hell's Angels, burns rubber with this joyride of a story while co-authors Keith and Kent Zimmerman help keep it running like a classic Harley.— Nicholas Thomas
Publishers Weekly
Legendary Hell's Angel Barger (Hell's Angel; Ridin' High, Livin' Free) teams once again with co-authors Keith and Kent Zimmerman on this debut novel of motorcycles and murder. Patch Kinkade, ex-president of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Infidelz motorcycle club, the toughest MC in the West, has relocated to Arizona in the wake of a busted marriage. But he finds that ties to home and past are not easily severed. The Infidelz have a serious dust-up in a bar with three other clubs-the 2Wheelers, Soul Sacrifice and the Gun Runners ("Fists flew everywhere. Broken ribs. Broken arms. Broken bottles. Broken teeth. Broken pride)"-and after it's over, a new member of the Infidelz lies dead in the parking lot, his murder seemingly unrelated to the fight inside. Ahab, the president of the Oakland chapter, hunts down Patch and asks him to investigate. Soon enough, the reluctant Patch is back in Oakland, facing renegade FBI agents and unexpected treachery and deceit. The authors have an un-ironic, breezy style: "Patch wore no businessman's haircut. The wind was his stylist." Despite colorful nicknames (girls named Blondie and LiLac, dudes called Nine Inch, 12-12 and Eight Ball), thin characterization leads to reader confusion, and degenerate behavior makes it difficult to cheer for the novel's putative good guys. The mystery falls flat, but there's plenty of sex, violence and tricked-out bikes in this "gasoline and adrenaline" ride. Barger's fans should love it. (Oct.) Forecast: Aggressive marketing, including a coast-to coast motorcycle rally tie-in tour, coupled with the indefatigable Barger's extensive signing schedule, will mobilize the faithful and make this a seller. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Nonstop violence in a debut thriller about sociopaths on wheels. If you belong to the Infidelz, the preeminent motorcycle club in northern California, you'd better be ready to maim and kill at a moment's notice. But that's okay: you like maiming and killing. It's why you hooked up in the first place. "Patch" Kinkade, alienated, battle-scarred, encyclopedically tattooed-"skulls, gargoyles, fiery crosses, tombstones, thunderballs, and . . . the names of ex-girlfriends"-is a lurid case in point. For 23 years, better than half his life, he's worn the black and orange (complete with demon skull) of Infidelz. He's served as club president; earned membership in its elite 187 Crue (187, to honor the murder statute in California's penal code); been anointed a 1%er ("the baddest of the bad"); and so on down an unabashedly sociopathic list. But, as the story opens, Patch has decided, for personal reasons, to forsake Oakland-scene of his glory days. Throwing a leg across his beloved Mean Machine (a Harley Road King), he heads for Arizona and new citizens to intimidate-though not for long. During his brief absence, internecine war has broken out. As a result of a bad night at Trader's Roadhouse, bikers from the Gun Runners, the 2Wheelers, and Soul Sacrifice, others joining in along the way, have taken to killing each other off. So far, Infidelz isn't directly involved, but everyone knows it soon will be, and that Patch, plus his weapon of choice, a seven-inch Schrade blade, will be needed. He owns a lot of Schrades. Why not? Multipurposed and sturdy, they're also cheap enough to "leave stuck in some unlucky victim." Barger, an ex-president of the notorious Hell's Angels, has authored (with an assistfrom the Zimmermans) nonfiction about biker activities and clearly knows whereof he speaks-if that's a recommendation. Agent: Jim Fitzgerald/Carol Mann Agency

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)

Read an Excerpt

Dead in 5 Heartbeats
A Novel

Chapter One

Incident at Trader's

Trader's Roadhouse was bike-friendly and colors-welcome, a neutral hangout for riders of all stripes. It was a gigantic rectangular Quonset playground that sat on the dusty city limits of Hayward, California, a small blue-collar town a dozen miles southeast of the Oakland flatlands.

The joint was shaking wall-to-wall, shoulder to shoulder at Trader's Thursday Bike Nite. Topic A screaming over the cavernous din among the men propping up the long mahogany bar: Which Johnny Cash "prison" album kicked it more? At Folsom or At San Quentin?

An assortment of barroom anthems played as customers jammed the jukebox and voted with their quarters. A wide variety emerged: Willie's "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" followed by Kid Rock's "American Bad Ass." Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music" flowed into "Sweet Child o' Mine" by Guns N' Roses. No logical pattern, just a mishmash of rock, soul, and renegade country. Sweet musical chaos. Since this was California, the only missing barroom ingredient was the stale smell of cigarette smoke.

The loud crack of the opening break of a rack of pool balls pierced the bar's ambience, followed by the unmistakable deep thunk of the first cluster of balls rolling toward their not-so-final resting place below the green felt playing surface.

A muted television set mounted up behind the bar broadcast an A's-Tigers game but was roundly ignored. Motorcycle memorabilia was plastered throughout Trader's, with Easyriders pinups, a mural-sized David Mann painting, tools, wrenches, and scooterparts hanging from the walls. Entire bikes were suspended from the ceiling.

The blonde behind the fryer was doing bang-up business. She handed out red plastic baskets of deep-fried zucchini, jalapeño poppers, chili bacon burgers, and cheese fries to the waitresses as fast as they came off the grill and out of the grease. Popular American brews, assorted premium lagers, and Mexican beers were sold on tap. Top-shelf whiskey, single malts, and Mexicano tequila brands moved briskly off the back line while fancy liqueurs gathered dust behind the plank. Suicidal mixed drinks were served in Ball mason jars. Customers ate peanuts and threw the shells on the floor.

The "male–female ratio" was impressive for a weeknight, close to fifty–fifty. There were more than enough eye-catching, mostly divorced, Chardonnay-chugging honeys with their 2.2 kids back home sleeping. They were the bait that lured the many buff bad boys on motorcycles to Trader's. These guys figured they had a better–than–fifty–fifty chance of scoring some decent tail before the weekend hordes invaded the place. The closer the clock came to striking two A.M., the stiffer and wetter the talk progressed, and the more coinage the condom machines in the men's room took in. After all, Trader's was "pro-choice." Ribbed, regular, and whiskey flavored were the most popular.

A dozen miles away, down a darkened road, a lone motorcyclist was headed in Trader's direction. Wearing his beanie helmet, he looked up from the darkness of the roadway and watched the stars punch their sparkle through the sky. Marco was supposed to meet up with a couple of his club brothers from the Infidelz MC. One by one, each rider had opted out. Marco made the trip anyway. He'd earned his Infidelz patch less than three weeks ago. He was in "any excuse to ride" mode. Nothing was going to stop him from throttling his FXR through the wind and enjoying a cool summer breeze on two wheels.

Marco was glad he hadn't stayed behind in Oakland. He needed a putt away from the ball and chain and the screaming kids. How could his brothers miss riding on such a night? The patch on his back, orange and black on a clean white background, seemed to add power to his glide and pride to his posture. After a few pops, maybe he'd head back into Oakland to the Infidelz clubhouse and drink beer with his buddies until dawn.

Thursday Bike Nite at Trader's, for better or for worse, was primarily a "1%er" night out. Depending on who you asked or how you looked at bike riding, a 1%er was either the baddest of the bad bikers, the cream of the riding world, or the 1 percent that gave all motorcyclists a shady rep. One thing was true -- 1%ers didn't give a shit about the reputations of the other 99 percent who rode. The remaining 99 percent of the area's bikers -- law-abiding Rich Urban Bikers (RUBs), rice rocket daredevils, and weekend Harley riders -- were safe at home in front of their TVs watching late-night CSI reruns.

The crowd at Trader's was divided mostly into four 1%er factions: patch-wearing MC (motorcycle club) members, their prospects (would-be members), supporters (friends and family), and hang-arounds (those thinking about prospecting for an MC). The three clubs drinking that night were the 2Wheelers, the Gun Runners, and Soul Sacrifice, the latter a racially mixed club. A leather-clad group of independent riders and a few HOGs (Harley Owners Groups) hung around the bar and minded their own business.

In theory, everyone got along. In practice, it didn't always work out that way.

It all started when Too Tall from the Soul Sacs smacked into Shadow from the Gun Runners. Both had been drinking steadily since early evening. Shadow's temper was short-fused enough so that when Too Tall trod on Shadow's expensive footwear, spilling beer, their tempers flared. "Watch yer black ass, boy," muttered Shadow the Gunner. He brushed the beer off his pants, then gazed down at the silver-dollar-size droplet as it seeped into his brand-new light tan Tony Lama ostrich-skin cowboy boots.

"Motherfucker!" Shadow seethed and shouted ...

Dead in 5 Heartbeats
A Novel
. Copyright © by Sonny Barger. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Ralph "Sonny" Barger is the author of Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. A master mechanic who has owned and operated his own bike shops, he currently lives in Arizona, where he rides every day.

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Dead in 5 Heartbeats 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Barger's books are quality. As far as I know this was his first attempt at 'fiction'. However, having read several non-fiction books about the Hell's Angels, one cannot help but think Barger has taken advantage of the protection of fiction to tell a real story. The events and characters reveal so many similarities. I am sure Barger put his own creative flare on the events and did not reveal anything incriminating. But, I am almost certain he didn't just dream up many of these events. I think his real life provided fuel for his imagination. I read this in a day. Great book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here we have Ralph 'Sonny' Barger, figurehead of the Hell's Angels, at it again. The main character is named 'Patch' a burned out motorcycle gang member that can't seem to keep his Shrade Sharpfinger knife sheathed. The body count mounts as rival motorcycle gang members are being played by the 'man'. The boring, predictable story line is really difficult to get through. I was hoping for more depth from this writer that lived through numerous incarcerations at well known correctional institutes. Writing fiction doesn't seem to be the authors best talent. If you enjoyed Sonny's other books you will really be disapointed with this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
glorifying Patch .... yuck! And these guys want to represent entire motorcycle community. Traveling on motorcycle is NOT A POKER RUN and gang wars! It is something else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has you addicted from page one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago