William Golding’s classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, “the boy with fair hair,” and Piggy, Ralph’s chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island’s wild pig population. Soon Ralph’s rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: “He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet.” Golding’s gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition.
What does school really teach our children? I struggle with this issue daily as I send my boys off to school only to retrieve them hours later and listen to their tales of grief, bullying, and abuse. Not exactly the value system I envisioned for my children. But it was clearly Golding’s vision in Lord of the Flies. My son, like Piggy, has “become fear”; he endures a special kind of hell in his classroom and on the playground. He is told he has a “voice” but when he speaks no one listens. The pig hunters operate in full force as they lure away the popular boys to join their “band of painted savages.” When my son is brutalized no one rescues him. No one sees him. No one cares. Recently, when he reported some punk in his class slammed his head into a wall, the principal did nothing. Meanwhile, my son convulsed into seizures. When my son advised a week later that this same creep tried to choke him with a string, no one took action. The bully was not suspended, reprimanded or even expelled. The school did not even summon the police.
Lord of the Flies is another term for the Devil. The island depicted in Golding’s book is my child’s classroom and sadly he is not alone. Unfortunately, we only hear about the tragedies, the children like Asher Brown who commit suicide because they have no advocates on that island. Brown was bullied to death. His school staff destroyed videos and other evidence of brutality. Brown’s father who, like me, spoke with staff about his concerns, whose son, like mine, made written and oral complaints, received no relief. Brown’s father followed protocol. He believed, like I did, that there was a “system”, that responsible adults would be horrified at the news that a bully roamed among them. But what we both learned is that there is no “system”, no “rules of engagement”. No one made Brown safe. No one has made my child safe. Brown’s perpetrator was “punished” by being forced to miss one football game! My son’s bully continues to harass, threaten and assault my son in plain view with no repercussions.
They called him “the Block Monster”, a killer who, at the age of twelve, still curled in bed with his mother and sucked his thumb unable to process his horror. Why should we save him? Judges asked me and their question reverberated in the packed pews. It was a fair question, made me think about the people whose lives I try to save and those who’ve saved mine. Why save the block monster? Because he is broken, because killing him means nothing, accomplishes nothing except more broken people, because understanding is healing. Because I, too, want to feel something, anything but numb.
His life is raw and visceral, I begin. The judges roll their eyes. He lived in bitter loneliness. They don’t want to hear his abuse. Give us “reality lite”, soft truth, the kind that has a happy ending despite the dark shadows. Sell us that? Maybe then we’ll listen. I can’t. This is his story, history, his truth.
How dare you deny him that.
In exchange for a reduced sentence on his drug smuggling charges, Charles Falco infiltrated three of America’s most violent biker gangs: the Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws. In separate investigations that spanned years and coasts, Falco risked his life, suffering a fractured neck and a severely torn shoulder, working deep under cover to bring violent sociopaths to justice. His dedication was profound; he even served time in San Bernardino’s Murder Unit and endured solitary confinement. He recorded confessions of gangland-style killings and nearly became a target himself before he sought refuge in the Witness Security Program.
His efforts culminated in the seizure of hundreds of illegal firearms, drugs, stolen motorcycles, and sixty two arrests of members for assault, dismemberment, and murder. Executing one of this country’s most successful RICO prosecutions and effectively crippling the criminal enterprise, Falco’s engrossing account of the dangers of the biker underworld and justice is perfect for fans of FX’s Sons of Anarchy as well as Hunter S. Thompson’s classic Hell’s Angels.
Side by Side Review of: Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws and Gods of Mischief: My Undercover Vendetta to Take Down the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.
“Falco rose to “officer” status in three biker gangs, and his book — “Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws: My Infiltration of America’s Deadliest Biker Gangs” — is the more polished, measured and authoritative of the two”. Full Review: Click Here —LA Times
“Falco was facing a minimum sentence of 22 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute and manufacture hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine when the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department made him an offer he couldn’t refuse—become an undercover informant instead of going to jail. The bulk of this fascinating autobiography describes in detail Falco’s work infiltrating the Vagos Motorcycle Club, an outlaw biker gang considered in 2003 to be the ‘largest urban terrorist’ organization in the U.S. Falco’s main assignment reads like a synopsis of the book: ‘Get inside, gather intelligence on the gang, identify the club’s leaders, purchase drugs from them, and collect as many illegal firearms as you can.’ Falco describes in almost excruciating detail how he rose in the Vagos ranks from a go-fer to a full-fledged member, a three-year descent into a violent world of drug abuse, Neanderthal treatment of women, and constant fighting that left Falco living constantly ‘in a state of veiled paranoia,’ even after the Vagos gang was brought down by the law. It is Falco’s unrelenting depiction of the stupidity and brutality in the Vagos biker world that makes his story powerful. Agent: Jill Marsal, the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency(Mar.)”
“The paranoia of crooks, the desperation of incarceration, the fear of getting whacked, and survival working undercover in a brutal biker world devoid of common decency. You can read about it all in this book. But Charles Falco actually lived it and miraculously came out a better man.” —Chris Blatchford, author of The Black Hand and winner of the Peabody Award for Investigative Journalism.
Available In Audiobook
Available In German
Prodigal Father, Pagan Son (working title Age of Fire) Anthony (LT) Menginie, the son of the legendary former president of the Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Club who betrayed his own to become the president of the Hells Angels Philadelphia chapter, recounts his life story growing up in a crime syndicate as sinister and chilling as an international drug cartel. His tale begins and ends with violence as LT avenges his father’s wrongs, prospects for the Pagans and becomes steeped in a world of organized crime. Prodigal Father, Pagan Son is scheduled for hardback release, March 29th 2011 from St. Martin’s Press.
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One of the most extraordinary true crime autobiographies.” —Sydney Morning Herald
“Raw honesty and horrendous recounts . . . Prodigal Father, Pagan Son is written with emotion, detail and brilliant imagery. The book is able to capture the audience with authenticity and believability.” —Nomads Leathers –
“People who enjoy [Sons of Anarchy] …. will definitely want to pick up this book!” Brittany’s Reviews for Prodigal Father Pagan Son
“The story is written with a breadth and depth not normally found in books dealing with the subject of motorcycle gangs…a compelling read…well written…powerful images…tragic and brutal.” Motorcycle USA for Prodigal Father Pagan Son
“A one of a kind true tale of being born into madness… and rising above it,” — Robert K. Tanenbaum, New York Times best-selling author of Betrayed and Capture
“Many readers may not know the Pagans, but the motorcycle club, founded in the late 1950s, is sort of the East Coast version of the Hells Angels, and its turf wars have been violent and bloody. Menginie, this book’s primary author, is the son of the former president of the Pagans’ Philadelphia chapter, who by the time he was eight years old was in prison on drug charges. With his mother also gone (she walked out), he was pretty much raised by the Pagans. It was not an idyllic life for a boy, unless you consider sex, drugs, and violence good influences on the young. Things became even more complicated when, upon his release from prison, Menginie’s father jumped ship and joined the Hells Angels. Menginie was faced with a tough choice: stay with his informally adopted family, or join his father and risk retribution from the Pagans. A down-and-dirty memoir that should appeal to readers of such books as Sonny Barger’s Hell’s Angel (2001) and Hunter Thompson’s classic Hell’s Angels (1967).“ — Kirkus Reviews
Available In German
The infamous Sonny Barger once declared that the Hells Angels would never be infiltrated. He was wrong, thanks to the ATF agents who risked their lives. This true crime book chronicles the story of the ATF sting and the two undercover agents who risked their lives in this landmark criminal investigation. For two years, they posed as members of a Mexican renegade motorcycle club, earning the trust and respect of the vicious Arizona Hells Angels. Their work led to the shocking 2003 bust in which ATF agents arrested fifty people and seized 650 guns, 30,000 rounds of ammunition, and more than 100 explosive items — including grenades and napalm! Following the steps of the ATF agents, who remain undercover today, author Kerrie Droban recounts their perilous mission up through the ensuing court case and jail sentences.
Along the way, Droban provides a startling — and unprecedented — expose on the treacherous inner workings of the Hells Angels brotherhood. “Because the case was profiled on America’s Most Wanted and in the courts, we had to wait to bring out this story until the criminal case was complete,” Droban stated. Acting as a modern day female Woodward and Berstein, Droban gives exciting and intimate details of what the agents had to do and discovered in this shocking case: “My goal was to provide readers with a voyeuristic view of life inside the Hells Angels, reveal ATF’s novel infiltration of the club and shatter the public’s image of the Hells Angels as harmless scruffy promoters of charitable organizations… Mostly, I wanted to write an accurate and compelling tribute to the operatives’ bravery and sacrifice.”
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Praise for Running with the Devil :
“Kerrie is a brillaint and talented author, and the book is a compelling masterpiece of contemporary nonfiction.” Burl Barer , Edgar Award-winning author and host of Outlaw Radio
Kerrie Droban Wins USA Book Award
“Our pal, crime hottie Kerrie Droban, just won a BIG AWARD! Yes, Ms. Droban, already famed for getting hit by a truck on her way to our True Crimes show last year, just won the USA Book Award for Best Non-Fiction True Crime for Running with the Devil. That’s the book about how our wise ATF wasted millions of dollars in the most stupid ‘infiltration’ of the Hells Angels imaginable. Well, that wasn’t the goal of the book, but that sure is how it turned out. It is a real page turner, and while there are bikers who think the undercover agent who ‘stars’ in this book is full of more crap than a Loon Lake outhouse, Kerrie deserves this award because (a) she knows how to write, (b) she looks real hot in tight jeans, and (c) she uses a quote from Burl Barer on her web site…”
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“A page turner that reads more like spy fiction than an expose”–Ironworks Magazine
“A compelling masterpiece of contemporary nonfiction” Burl Barer, Outlaw Radio and Edgar Award Winning True Crime Author
A Socialite Scorned is a classic “Who Done It” tale with a twist. In what has been touted as one of the “most complicated, difficult investigations of our time,” Gary Triano’s case has garnered media attention precisely because of its “story behind the story” of greed, power, and intrigue. Dateline NBC, America’s Most Wanted and countless local and national television news shows have featured Triano’s bombing fascinated not only by the sheer brutality of the crime but also the dangerous ways people love each other
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From the first pages, Droban lays out a story that is captivating and difficult to put down. Pleasantly surprising was that Droban doesn’t get weighted down in legalese which, as we all know, happens too often with writers who are also lawyers. Beginning to end, A Socialite Scorned is a fantastic read about a woman who was willing to steal another woman’s husband, tolerate his (alleged) abuse until the house of cards is tumbling, attempt to live off what’s remaining in the name of alimony and child support, and then murder him so she doesn’t have to work like a commoner. Definitely, most definitely, worth reading.”—True Crime Book Reviews
A collection of award winning poetry, winner of the Academy of American Poet’s Award, International Poetry Award, New Letters Award, Amelia Encore Award and the Daniel Shockett Award for outstanding verse.