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Under and Alone


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About the Author

William Queen is the author of the New York Times bestseller Under and Alone and Armed and Dangerous. He spent twenty years as a special agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A Vietnam veteran, Queen devoted his career to law enforcement, serving first as a local police officer and then as a U.S. Border Patrol agent before joining ATF. He is among the country's foremost experts on the violent world of outlaw motorcycle gangs and has lectured widely to law-enforcement organizations in multiple countries. For his ground-breaking undercover work playing the part of biker "Billy St. John," William Queen was awarded the 2001 Federal Bar Association's Medal of Valor.


While undercover police officers may have backup relatively close at hand, their fate lies in their ability to alter their personalities and sense of right and wrong to match those of the criminals they are attempting to bring to justice. Queen was a Vietnam veteran who had worked undercover as an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms operative, but his previous experiences were no match for his assignment to infiltrate the vicious Mongols motorcycle gang, a California-based gang involved in drugs, stolen motorcycles, weapons traffic, and murder. Queen, a motorcycle enthusiast, used his training and courage to attain high rank in the Mongols and, after a long and difficult period, see most of them arrested. The author admits that at times he felt strong emotional ties with many of these extremely violent men, and the reader gets caught up in the self-doubt that seems endemic to undercover work. The rough language, constant drinking, and violence may put off some readers but are a natural part of this story. Suitable for comprehensive criminal justice collections in academic libraries and for public libraries.-John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

This harrowing, turbocharged account of undercover life is reminiscent of Joseph D. Pistone's Donnie Brasco. After military service in Vietnam, Queen began his law enforcement career, eventually spending 20 years as an ATF special agent. In 1998, through contact with a "confidential informant," he began to hang with the Mongol Nation, a violent Southern California motorcycle club ("a tight-knit collective of crazies, unpredictable and unrepentant badasses") with 20 chapters in several states and 350 members both in and out of prison. Assuming the role of bearded biker "Billy St. John," Queen entered into a 28-month undercover operation. To gather evidence of homicide, weapons and narcotics violations, he sometimes wore a wire, knowing that its discovery could lead to his murder. Indeed, he was suspected at first of being a cop and forced to prove himself in more than a few dangerous situations. But after months of hazing, he became a trusted member. Queen steers clear of melodrama and captures both sides of his double life; the sadistic characters and criminal camaraderie are contrasted with his own inner turmoil, as he thought of the Mongols as his friends while the investigation escalated. The strength and white-hot intensity of the writing make this read like a movie, and Hollywood is certain to take note. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (On sale Apr. 5) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Advance praise for Under and Alone

"Under and Alone is the dangerous and fascinating true story of an undercover ATF agent and the psychological price he was made to pay for his courageous work."
-Joseph Wambaugh, bestselling author of The Onion Field "A riveting story of a one-of-a-kind officer that takes you to the deepest and most dangerous part of undercover work. Highly recommended."
-Joseph Pistone, author of Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia "Top-shelf adventure . . . packed with great intensity . . . a dark and twisted world, fully realized. Don't be surprised if it runs to bestsellerdom."
-Kirkus Reviews

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