Under And Alone by William Queen.
Random House, 2OO5, 267 Pages,
In the 6O's, the Hell's Angels were the most violent motorcycle gang in the U.S. A story is told that one biker was in a coffee shop when a waitress infuriated him. I don't know what she said or did, but he went over the counter after her. Unfortunately he had a pair of pliers with him. He pulled two of her teeth.
In the 9O's in Henderson, Nevada, there was a show-down between the Hell's Angels and the Mongols. Everyone expected war. Although they had a greater number of men there, the Hell's Angels apologized and withdrew. Even William Queen, the undercover agent who had infiltrated the Mongols, felt proud of "his brothers" who were now the most violent outlaw motorcycle gang in America. This lone agent from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, rose through the ranks of the San Fernando Mongols as Billy St. John. In two years he'd become their treasurer with access to confidential figures and materials that would eventually convict the Mongols of selling and doing drugs, trafficking in arms, stealing motorcycles, driving get-away cars, and killings.
Although the Mongols had many murderers, ex-cons, and criminal psychopaths in their gang, their bonding was stronger than for their blood relations, "stronger than the most addictive narcotic." "When my mom died and no one from ATF had so much as offered their condolences, but the whole of the Mongol Nation embraced me, and guys like Evel had hugged me and told me, 'I love you Billy,' I felt I understood the bonding holding together these outlaw motorcycle gangs."
William Queen, showed incredible courage to pass the many tests to win his patch fully, to be accepted and trusted by the Mongols. Only full members can wear the patch on their jackets. He was torn when he had to testify against "his brothers." This book is a great read.
Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule.
Free Press, 2OO4, 436 Pages,
Although approached early to do a Green River book, Ann Rule decided to wait until the real serial killer was caught. She had twenty years to gather notes, pictures, and read 95,000 pages of police material before writing her greatest and most difficult work, which includes 47 pictures and biographies of Gary Ridgeway's victims - 47 of the 49 he killed.
What is so extraordinary is that Ridgeway was soft spoken and mild-mannered. He held one job for 3O years, and wasn't ever late for work His wife thought of him as the best and most gentle man that she had ever met. He allowed her great freedom in decorating their home. He didn't give her presents, but they seemed a perfect pair, loving swap meets and yard sales, filling their rooms like pack rats. She claimed to be very much in love with him, and was shattered at learning about his second self.
Ridgeway's wife believed that they did everything together. Her experience certainly underlines the belief that you can live with someone and be around that person a lot - and still not know him.
Ann Rule always makes me glad that I'm single.