No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels

No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels

No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels

No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels


$15.99  $18.00 Save 11% Current price is $15.99, Original price is $18. You Save 11%.
    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


From the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the outlaw Hells Angels Motorcycle Club comes the inside story of the 21-month operation that almost cost him his family, his sanity, and his life.

Getting shot in the chest as a rookie agent, bartering for machine guns, throttling down the highway at 100 mph, and responding to a full-scale, bloody riot between the Hells Angels and their rivals, the Mongols—these are just a few of the high-adrenaline experiences Dobyns recounts in this action-packed, hard-to-imagine-but-true story.

Dobyns leaves no stone of his harrowing journey unturned. At runs and clubhouses, between rides and riots, Dobyns befriends bad-ass bikers, meth-fueled “old ladies,” gun fetishists, psycho-killer ex-cons, and even some of the “Filthy Few”—the elite of the Hells Angels who’ve committed extreme violence on behalf of their club. Eventually, at parties staged behind heavily armed security, he meets legendary club members such as Chuck Zito, Johnny Angel, and the godfather of all bikers, Ralph “Sonny” Barger. To blend in with them, he gets full-arm ink; to win their respect, he vows to prove himself a stone-cold killer.

Hardest of all is leading a double life, which has him torn between his devotion to his wife and children, and his pledge to become the first federal agent ever to be “fully patched” into the Angels’ near-impregnable ranks. His act is so convincing that he comes within a hairsbreadth of losing himself. Eventually, he realizes that just as he’s been infiltrating the Hells Angels, they’ ve been infiltrating him. And just as they’re not all bad, he’s not all good.

Reminiscent of Donnie Brasco’s uncovering of the true Mafia, this is an eye-opening portrait of the world of bikers—the most in-depth since Hunter Thompson’s seminal work—one that fully describes the seductive lure criminal camaraderie has for men who would otherwise be powerless outsiders. Here is all the nihilism, hate, and intimidation, but also the freedom—and, yes, brotherhood—of the only truly American form of organized crime.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307405869
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/02/2010
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 118,613
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

JAY DOBYNS is a highly decorated agent who worked for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) for more than twenty years. For his work on Operation Black Biscuit, he was awarded the ATF Distinguished Service Medal and also a prestigious Top Cops award from the National Association of Police Officers. Find him online at

NILS JOHNSON-SHELTON, unlike Jay Dobyns, has never been a cop and can’t even ride a motorcycle. This is his first book.

Read an Excerpt

Part 1

Chapter 1 Birdcalls

JUNE 25 AND 26, 2003

Timmy leaned casually against the rear fender of my black Mercury Cougar, a cell phone on his ear and a smile on his face. The bastard wastypically calm. Twelve months I’d been his partner, in and out of harm’sway, both together and alone, and the guy never looked stressed. Hewas as self- possessed as a rooster in a hen house—my polar opposite.

I paced in front of him, rehearsing what I was going to tell our Hells Angels brothers. I shook the last smoke out of a pack of Newports. “Shit.” I lit the cigarette, crumpled the pack, and threw it to the ground. It was 10:00 a.m. and I’d already emptied the first pack of the carton I’d bought that morning.

Timmy said into his phone, “I love you too honey cake. I should be home soon.” He’d been saying things like that going on five minutes. I stared at him and said, “The fuck, stud? Come on.”

Timmy put a finger in the air and continued on the phone. “OK. Gotta run. Love you guys. OK. See you tonight.” He snapped his phone closed. “What’s the drama, Bird? We got this.”

“Oh, you know. Nothing really.” I pointed at the guy lying facedown at our feet. “Just that if they don’t buy it, then we’ll end up like this asshole.”

There, in a shallow desert ditch, was a gray- haired Caucasian male, his head split to the white meat. A pile of brains had oozed to the ground where Timmy had put Joby’s .380. Blood droplets, sprayed into the sand and dirt, made small, dark constellations. His blue jeans were splattered with purple, quarter- sized splotches. His wrists and ankles were bound with duct tape, his hands were limp. It was already over 100 degrees and the promise of coagulated blood and exposed matter had begun to attract flies.

He wore a black leather jacket whose top rocker, that curved cloth patch that spanned the shoulder blades, read mongols.

I asked, “You think he’s dead?”

Timmy said, “Dude looks deader’n disco. Shit, those look like his brains in the dirt.” Timmy leaned in closer. “Yeah, I’d say he’s pretty dead.” He spat a stream of phlegm into the brush beyond the grave.

“Dude, no fucking around here. We go home and show the boys we killed a Mongol, then we better be dead- nuts sure it doesn’t look like he’s coming back.”

Timmy smiled. “Relax, Bird, we got this. Like Lionel Richie said, we’re easy like Sunday mornin’.” And then he started to sing. Badly:

Why in the world
would anybody put chains on me?
I’ve paid my dues to make it.
Everybody wants me to be
what they want me to be.
I’m not happy when I try to fake it!
That’s why I’m easy.
Yeah. I’m easy like Sunday mornin’.

I smiled and said, “You’re right, you’re right. And even if you aren’t, I don’t see how it matters. We’ve come too far.”

He thought about that for a second. “Yeah, we have.”

We threw a couple shovels of dirt on our corpse and took some pictures. We relieved him of his Mongol jacket, stuffing it in a FedEx box. We got in the car and headed home, to Phoenix.

Timmy drove. I made some phone calls.

I lit a cigarette and waited for someone to pick up at the clubhouse.

Inhale. Hold it in. Click.

The voice said, “Skull Valley.”

I said, “Bobby, it’s Bird.”

“Bird. What the fuck?”

“Teddy there?”

“Not now, no.” Bobby Reinstra’s voice was humorless and empty.

“We’re on our way back.”

“‘We’ who?”

Inhale. Hold it in.

I said, “Me and Timmy.”

“No Pops?”

“No Pops. He stayed down in Mexico.”

“So Pops is gone.” I heard him light a cigarette— he’d only started smoking again since he’d met me.

“Yeah, dude.”

“Wow.” Bobby smoked. Inhaled. Held it in.

I said, “We should probably talk about this later, don’t you think?”

He snapped out of it. “Yeah. Yeah, of course. When’ll you be back?”

“Soon. I’ll call when we’re back in the valley.”

“OK. Get home safe.”

“We will. Don’t worry. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“OK. Later.”


I flipped my cell shut and turned to Timmy. I said, “He bit it. Pops’s death should work to our advantage.”

Timmy barely nodded. He was probably thinking about his wife and kids. Above all else, Timmy was decent. I looked past him. The asphalt and brown California pines, the late- afternoon grid of Phoenix, Arizona, moved beyond him like a sunset movie backdrop.

The next afternoon, JJ, Timmy, and I chowed at a Pizza Hut. We hadn’t seen Bobby or any of the other boys yet. We wanted their tension to build.

JJ’s phone rang. She looked at the ID, then at me. I shrugged, stuffed a pepperoni slice in my mouth, and nodded.

She flipped open. “Hello?” She grinned. “Hi, Bobby. No, I haven’t heard from him. You have? When? What’d he say? He said what?! Bobby, what the fuck do you mean? Pops is—Pops is dead?” She lowered her voice and choked out the words with a frightened stutter. “Bobby, you’re scaring me! I don’t know what the fuck’s going on. All I know is a FedEx box came to the house this morning. It was sent from Nogales, Mexico.” She pulled the phone away from her ear and placed a slice of roasted green pepper in her mouth. She sipped more iced tea. “No way, Bobby! I’m not opening shit. No. Forget it. Not until Bird gets back.”

JJ’s fear was convincing and effective. Our plan seemed to be working.

I leaned into the leather banquette. We weren’t your average- looking cops— we weren’t even your average- looking undercover cops— and we painted quite a picture. Timmy and I were bald, muscular, and covered in tattoos. JJ was cute, buxom, and focused. My eyes were blue and always lit up, Timmy’s brown and wise, JJ’s green and eager. Each of my long, bony fingers was armored with silver rings depicting things like skulls and talons and lightning bolts. My long, straggly goatee was haphazardly twisted into a ragged braid. JJ and I wore white wife- beater tank tops and Timmy wore a black, sleeveless T- shirt that said skull valley—graveyard crew over the heart. I wore green camo cargo pants and flip- flops, and they wore jeans and riding boots. We each openly carried at least one firearm. Arizona’s open- carry, so there you go.

JJ continued. “No way, Bobby. I’m not coming over there with the box. I’m waiting till Bird gets home. All right. All right. Bye.”

She hung up. She turned back to us and asked sarcastically, “So, honey, when can I expect you?”

I grinned and said, “Any time, now. Any time.”

“OK! Can’t wait!”

We laughed and finished our lunch. We’d been running ragged for months and were in the homestretch. With any luck, Timmy and I were about to become full- patch Hells Angels, and JJ was about to become a real- life HA old lady

With any luck.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A high-velocity trip into a frightening American underworld told in rapid-fire, hard-boiled prose." —-Evan Wright, author of the national bestseller Generation Kill

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews