Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Armed and Dangerous

Under and Alone: The Hunt for One of America's Most Wanted Criminals
© 2007 William Queen and Douglas Century
224 pages

When William Queen started as an ATF agent in the Los Angeles area, all the cops around agreed on one thing:  enemy #1 was that psycho who lived in the mountains, Mark Stephens.  He wasn't part of a gang, and he didn't have a pattern. He simply appeared from the wilderness every few weeks to stick pistols into the mouths of dope dealers and demand his money.  While he hadn't managed to kill anyone yet, he was an object of terror to cop and criminal alike, and daredevil Queen knew this was a man that needed taking down.   Armed and Dangerous is a semiautobiographical account of the months Queen spent working on a case against Stephens,  with reports of other busts mixed in, like that of a raid against a gang of skinheads.   To infiltrate them, Queen used a persona he'd been playing around with, that of a southern biker with fondness for dope and tenuous ties to a Klan-based organization. (That persona would become his full-time identity later on when he infiltrated the Mongols, recorded in Under and Alone)

 Although Queen's account builds toward finally convincing his bosses that infiltrating the mountain wilderness and hunting for Stephens' camp is worthwhile, Stephens' actual arrest is tame  after the dangerous climb and the escape amid a forest fire.  What isn't tame is William Queen himself,  a Vietnam special forces vet who tried racing until it proved too expensive a hobby.  He's definitely an adrenaline junkie, but happily his energies are targeted against actual psychopaths instead of blowing up people's homes to serve warrants, warrior-cop style.   This is a fast read, and not as substantial as Under and Alone, but fitting if you're in the mood for eighties cops heroics.

Under and Alone: the True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, William Queen

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