Murder for Hire: My Life As the Country's Most Successful Undercover Agent [NOOK Book]

Overview

Jack Ballentine became a Phoenix police officer in 1978 and quickly rose to the top as one of the world’s most successful undercover operatives. His specialty: posing as an undercover hit man. None of the people who hired him had any inkling that he was actually a cop, and his work led to a perfect rate of twenty-four convictions out of twenty-four indictments on murder conspiracy charges.

Murder for Hire is Ballentine’s story. He worked with criminals of all sorts, from ...

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Murder for Hire: My Life As the Country's Most Successful Undercover Agent

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Overview

Jack Ballentine became a Phoenix police officer in 1978 and quickly rose to the top as one of the world’s most successful undercover operatives. His specialty: posing as an undercover hit man. None of the people who hired him had any inkling that he was actually a cop, and his work led to a perfect rate of twenty-four convictions out of twenty-four indictments on murder conspiracy charges.

Murder for Hire is Ballentine’s story. He worked with criminals of all sorts, from vengeful spouses and partners to the criminally insane, all who had one thing in common: the desire to have someone killed. Ballentine could change his character at the drop of a hat, often imitating characters and “bad guys” from television and movies. In assuming an alternate identity and developing a reputation among the Phoenix underground---bikers, strippers, junkies, and thugs---he developed an intricate network of sources who fed him work and kept him extremely busy.

All the while, the author strove for the semblance of a normal life and balanced his rough-and-tumble career with a new wife and stepson. His story is a unique look at how law enforcement delves into the heart of the criminal world.


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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Memoir of an undercover cop who posed as a hit man. A three-time winner of Police Officer of the Year, Ballentine began his unusual specialty soon after joining the Phoenix PD. "Within a couple years I was whisked off to a sting operation where I made a living undercover buying stolen property from burglars, thieves, and fences," he writes. "Then came the murder-for-hire business." He developed physical bulk and a repertoire of underworld identities, including "biker-gang warlord, Mafia hit man, soldier of fortune, disgruntled Vietnam vet, and Aryan Brotherhood prison convict." According to the author, he effortlessly dominated the Arizona underworld, working out of seedy bars and strip clubs, developing networks of informants who referred to him a steady stream of "clients." In every chapter he encounters such individuals, like an impoverished couple who tried to have their sociopathic son killed, or a "Black Widow" type who wished to destroy her husband. The anecdotes inevitably end with the surveillance team swooping in and slapping on handcuffs. Ballentine claims that he wrote this book to purge the strange double life that undercover work demands-"Never before have you seen undercover operatives in this light, as well as with whom they work"-and his account seems plausible. He effectively captures the violence and degradation of underclass criminality, where the lives of drug dealers, bikers, white supremacists, prostitutes, strippers and career criminals intersect. However, despite flashes of verisimilitude, the repetitive narrative fails to flesh out specific casework or time frames. The subplot of his marriage to a woman outside this dark world adds little drama. An intriguinglife story in need of a ghostwriter.
From the Publisher
“Jack Ballentine is a force to be reckoned with. Murder for Hire delves into the seedy netherworld of murder for hire, close scrapes, and life under cover. A fascinating read.”—Kerrie Droban, author of Running with the Devil: The True Story of the ATF’s Inflitration of the Hells Angels

“He effectively captures the violence and degradation of underclass criminality, where the lives of drug dealers, bikers, white supremacists, prostitutes, strippers and career criminals intersect.”—Kirkus Reviews

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429968850
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/9/2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 606,117
  • File size: 263 KB

Meet the Author

Jack Ballentine became a Phoenix police officer in 1978 and quickly rose to the top as one of the world’s most successful undercover operatives. He also served as a homicide detective for the Phoenix Police Department. He is a three-time Police Officer of the Year, and has been awarded both the International Investigator of the Year and the Medal of Merit. He currently serves as the Director of Investigations for the Phoenix Fire Department. He lives in Mesa, Arizona, with his wife.

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Read an Excerpt

From Jack Ballentine’s Murder for Hire

I constantly battle with who I am and what I should sound like when I get calls. It becomes even more difficult in the early-morning hours when the phone rings and I’m in a deep sleep. I found it best to always answer, “Yeah,” and then let the caller carry on until I gather myself and I locate the character I need to be. It’s a tough transition from biker warlord to Mafia hit man. The phone rings all the time and I hardly ever know who the caller is . . .

I always play hard-to-get. I make you believe that you want me more than anyone else. No matter what I say or do, you stay with me and don’t go anywhere else---unless you aren’t really that committed to having someone killed. I get inside your head immediately and get you to a point that you know you shouldn’t be with me because I’m really bad, but you like and want me so much that you won’t let me go. People have told me over the years they had been searching a lifetime for someone like me. That’s when I know I totally have you believing my act.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xi

1 The Other Side of Hell 1

2 Slaying the Serpent 7

3 Love Struck 18

4 Abandoned by the Man 30

5 Kristie and the Candy Store 39

6 Gun for Hire 45

7 Deadeye and the Shark 61

8 Can't Run Fast Enough 75

9 Four Eyes Are Better than Two 81

10 The Karate Kid 90

11 The Inner Circle 114

12 This Was the One 128

13 Ma and Pa Kettle's Revenge 137

14 Coming in from the Outside 146

15 A Massage to Die For 158

16 The Scar Face Chase 176

17 Just Like a Kid in a Candy Store 191

18 Lost in Nightmares 217

19 Waiting a Lifetime for You 233

20 Time for a Change of Scenery 250

21 Wayne's Strange, Twisted World 259

22 Regrets? I Have One 278

23 Finally, Home Again 285

Index 291

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2010

    A Riveting story of a man on the edge, brought back by the teachings instilled in him as a young boy. The knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil, love and hate.

    A chilling and true story of a brave man living in the dregs of hell, knowing he could just as easily die each day as live. What it takes to save others, others you don't even know, and risk your life on a daily basis because of his belief and love of people. A caring and crazy man with the gentleness and cunning to catch those who want to kill. A must read. An eye opening reality check for every one of us who take our police force for granted. I will always look at bikers a little differently now, wondering if maybe....if maybe they could be ... the good guy. Who knows?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    My kind of book

    I just bought Murder For Hire. I have seen interviews of Jack Ballentine and he seems like such an extraordinary person. I cannot wait to read this book. I even have my whole family waiting for me to finish it so they can read it. Thanks to Mr Ballentine for all his years of hard work and loyalty to justice.
    TKB

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A new favorite for my personal library

    This is easily one of the best if not the best true crime book I have ever read. The author shows both sides of working as an undercover law enforcement officer. From the cases he worked and the people he busted to the perils that came with the job and the impact on his personal life.
    I could not put it down once I started I almost read this book in one sitting.
    I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime topics. Trust me you wont be disappointed.

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