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Riding with Evil: Taking Down the Notorious Pagan Motorcycle Gang

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Sons of Anarchy meets The Departed in this fast-paced, high-wire act memoir from former ATF agent Ken Croke, the first federal agent in history to go undercover and successfully infiltrate the infamous—and infamously violent—Pagan Motorcycle Club, a white supremacist biker gang. Longtime ATF agent Ken Croke had earned the right to coast to the end of a storied career, havi Sons of Anarchy meets The Departed in this fast-paced, high-wire act memoir from former ATF agent Ken Croke, the first federal agent in history to go undercover and successfully infiltrate the infamous—and infamously violent—Pagan Motorcycle Club, a white supremacist biker gang. Longtime ATF agent Ken Croke had earned the right to coast to the end of a storied career, having routinely gone undercover to apprehend white supremacists, gun runners, and gang members. But after a chance encounter with an associate of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang created an opening, he transformed himself into “Slam,” a monstrous, axe-handle wielding enforcer whose duty was to protect the leadership “mother club” at all costs. He befriended the club’s most violent and criminally insane members and lived among them for two years, covertly building a case that would eventually take down the top members of the gang in a massive federal prosecution, even as he risked his marriage, his sanity, and his life. With today’s law enforcement largely moving toward the comparative safety of cyber operations, it became one of the last of its kind, a masterclass in old school tactics that marked Croke as a dying breed of undercover agent and became legendary in law enforcement. Now for the first time, Croke tells the story of his terrifying undercover life in the Pagans—the unspeakable violence, extremism, drugs, and disgusting rituals. Written with bestselling crime writer Dave Wedge and utilizing the exclusive cooperation of those who lived the case with him, as well as thousands of pages of court files and hours of surveillance tapes and photos, Croke delivers a frightening, nail-biting account of the secretive and brutal biker underworld.


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Sons of Anarchy meets The Departed in this fast-paced, high-wire act memoir from former ATF agent Ken Croke, the first federal agent in history to go undercover and successfully infiltrate the infamous—and infamously violent—Pagan Motorcycle Club, a white supremacist biker gang. Longtime ATF agent Ken Croke had earned the right to coast to the end of a storied career, havi Sons of Anarchy meets The Departed in this fast-paced, high-wire act memoir from former ATF agent Ken Croke, the first federal agent in history to go undercover and successfully infiltrate the infamous—and infamously violent—Pagan Motorcycle Club, a white supremacist biker gang. Longtime ATF agent Ken Croke had earned the right to coast to the end of a storied career, having routinely gone undercover to apprehend white supremacists, gun runners, and gang members. But after a chance encounter with an associate of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang created an opening, he transformed himself into “Slam,” a monstrous, axe-handle wielding enforcer whose duty was to protect the leadership “mother club” at all costs. He befriended the club’s most violent and criminally insane members and lived among them for two years, covertly building a case that would eventually take down the top members of the gang in a massive federal prosecution, even as he risked his marriage, his sanity, and his life. With today’s law enforcement largely moving toward the comparative safety of cyber operations, it became one of the last of its kind, a masterclass in old school tactics that marked Croke as a dying breed of undercover agent and became legendary in law enforcement. Now for the first time, Croke tells the story of his terrifying undercover life in the Pagans—the unspeakable violence, extremism, drugs, and disgusting rituals. Written with bestselling crime writer Dave Wedge and utilizing the exclusive cooperation of those who lived the case with him, as well as thousands of pages of court files and hours of surveillance tapes and photos, Croke delivers a frightening, nail-biting account of the secretive and brutal biker underworld.

30 review for Riding with Evil: Taking Down the Notorious Pagan Motorcycle Gang

  1. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    I just love this type of undercover agent book, and this is one of my favorites out of the ones I’ve read. Ken Croak has a way with telling the story of his wild time undercover with the Pagans during a time they were all at risk of being attacked by Hell’s Angels. He had quite a few close calls and incredible luck. The first to even infiltrate the Pagans ever. He shares the toll it took on his family while he was risking his life to gather intel and make cases. A very wild ride but a great read I just love this type of undercover agent book, and this is one of my favorites out of the ones I’ve read. Ken Croak has a way with telling the story of his wild time undercover with the Pagans during a time they were all at risk of being attacked by Hell’s Angels. He had quite a few close calls and incredible luck. The first to even infiltrate the Pagans ever. He shares the toll it took on his family while he was risking his life to gather intel and make cases. A very wild ride but a great read of his experiences. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Randal White

    An absolutely incredible book! It is my favorite read of the year so far. I could not put it down! Croke was a 20 year veteran agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). He undertook a two year undercover investigation of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang. Through dedication, hard work, and a good dose of luck, he found himself "patched" (made an official member), appointed Sergeant-Of-Arms, and in charge of the books for his local chapter. He was the first law enforcement officer to ev An absolutely incredible book! It is my favorite read of the year so far. I could not put it down! Croke was a 20 year veteran agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). He undertook a two year undercover investigation of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang. Through dedication, hard work, and a good dose of luck, he found himself "patched" (made an official member), appointed Sergeant-Of-Arms, and in charge of the books for his local chapter. He was the first law enforcement officer to ever infiltrate the Pagans. Croke vividly describes the violent, paranoid, crazy world that the Pagans live in. He tells all about the process, how his persona was crafted, and "backstopped". How the Pagans leadership is constantly checking on it's members, and what happens when they are disappointed (spoiler: it's not pretty). He tells about the drug dealing, the illegal gun sales, the "Christmas presents" (bombs), the paranoia and fear of their rivals (the Hell's Angels), the partying and mandatory gatherings. How the author survived two years is an amazing feat. I found myself getting anxious during times in the book, as I did not know how he would get out of some of the situations. Never bragging, he comes across as a real American treasure. The writing is great. Coherent, easy to follow, impossible to put down. Just a great, great book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book was a gripping listen and I admire the sacrifices made by Ken and his family. At the same time while listening to him recount everything, I kept having this nagging feeling that we aren’t getting the complete truth on Ken’s behavior when we was in the motorcycle gang.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shawna Fox

    Ken's story is a keep you on your seat page turner. Loved learning about this amazing case about the Pagan Motorcycle Gang and all the hard work that went into it. Great read and highly recommend this book! Ken's story is a keep you on your seat page turner. Loved learning about this amazing case about the Pagan Motorcycle Gang and all the hard work that went into it. Great read and highly recommend this book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)

    This is an odd one. The writing is highly sensational with almost every chapter ending with either an ominous "it was going to get a lot worse" or a cliffhanger leaving you wondering who the heck was going to end up dead. Parts contradict each other and Ken spends a lot of the time talking about his other undercover jobs and his family life and yada yada I was reading for the juicy murderous motorcycle gang and not cop propaganda. He does describe some really grotesque things and the Pagans all s This is an odd one. The writing is highly sensational with almost every chapter ending with either an ominous "it was going to get a lot worse" or a cliffhanger leaving you wondering who the heck was going to end up dead. Parts contradict each other and Ken spends a lot of the time talking about his other undercover jobs and his family life and yada yada I was reading for the juicy murderous motorcycle gang and not cop propaganda. He does describe some really grotesque things and the Pagans all sound like despicable deplorable deadbeats, but parts read a little like 'he who doth protest too much' before he would partake in club violence. Also, he went through a whole lotta trouble just to get these guys in jail for like 5-10 years?! Idk seemed not worth it, but hey cops are weird. I will say I read this pretty fast because I was curious if he'd get found out, so it's definitely fast paced if you're into it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    I’m reading a lot of books right now and this was too similar to other things for me to keep up with it. Lol that almost every review of this book contains the word “Wow!”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Lennek

    I won this on Goodreads, hardcopy delivered 2/23. This fast paced memoir reads like a thriller. It starts fast and relentlessly tracks through author Ken Croke's undercover efforts to infiltrate the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. There are four main themes in the book, 1- what the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs do, how they operate. 2- How undercover works -maintaining "operating cover" while dealing with violent, frequently drunk and/or drugged-up bikers on a daily basis, gathering criminal evidence ( I won this on Goodreads, hardcopy delivered 2/23. This fast paced memoir reads like a thriller. It starts fast and relentlessly tracks through author Ken Croke's undercover efforts to infiltrate the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. There are four main themes in the book, 1- what the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs do, how they operate. 2- How undercover works -maintaining "operating cover" while dealing with violent, frequently drunk and/or drugged-up bikers on a daily basis, gathering criminal evidence (admissible in court) and perform as a gang member. 3-Juggling personal life - infrequently seeing his wife and three daughters and the stressors that generates. 4-Dealing with Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Bureaucracies (ATF management changes put the undercover agent's safety at risk as Careerist ticket punchers (my term) replaced experienced operators. Politically minded attorneys added spice to the effort. Read this book if you want to discover what undercover law enforcement members perform to keep the public safe.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dallas Shattuck

    WOW! What a fast-paced memoir! I've read a few memoirs from Federal agents who infiltrated motorcycle clubs, but I hadn't realized that the Pagans were never infiltrated until Ken Croke!! His story was fascinating to read, and I was honestly shocked by some of the events that he described in Riding with Evil. His courage, determination, and strength are apparent, and his undercover work provided law enforcement with critical information. He literally put his life on the line daily to try and make WOW! What a fast-paced memoir! I've read a few memoirs from Federal agents who infiltrated motorcycle clubs, but I hadn't realized that the Pagans were never infiltrated until Ken Croke!! His story was fascinating to read, and I was honestly shocked by some of the events that he described in Riding with Evil. His courage, determination, and strength are apparent, and his undercover work provided law enforcement with critical information. He literally put his life on the line daily to try and make our communities safer. My only comment: there were some details or situations that were somewhat repetitive, but not a huge deal. Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow for the gifted e-book copy!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I would recommend this book for fans of Paul Holes or Joe Kenda. Ken Croke's account of his time undercover in the dangerous Pagans motorcycle gang is harrowing and fast paced. It was more disturbing than other true crime books I've read, because Croke witnessed a lot of messed up incidents first hand. So be prepared for that. It was really interesting to learn about motorcycle gangs in America in general. I like how the author interspersed sections about history and his personal life with the t I would recommend this book for fans of Paul Holes or Joe Kenda. Ken Croke's account of his time undercover in the dangerous Pagans motorcycle gang is harrowing and fast paced. It was more disturbing than other true crime books I've read, because Croke witnessed a lot of messed up incidents first hand. So be prepared for that. It was really interesting to learn about motorcycle gangs in America in general. I like how the author interspersed sections about history and his personal life with the timeline of undercover events. The suspense was killing me so I had to jump to the end, even though I knew the author made it out alive.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Thank you for the free, hardcover copy of Riding with Evil. Wow, without a doubt one of the most, if not the most, exciting book I have ever read. To know that the events here are true and that Ken Croke made it out is simply astonishing. The book is expertly written without ever slowing down. The tension amazingly builds throughout the novel, as if the plot were fictional. David Wedge framed Ken's story so amazingly (what gushing adjective have I not used yet...?) that I felt like I was inside Thank you for the free, hardcover copy of Riding with Evil. Wow, without a doubt one of the most, if not the most, exciting book I have ever read. To know that the events here are true and that Ken Croke made it out is simply astonishing. The book is expertly written without ever slowing down. The tension amazingly builds throughout the novel, as if the plot were fictional. David Wedge framed Ken's story so amazingly (what gushing adjective have I not used yet...?) that I felt like I was inside the book. 10 stars if I could give it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shell

    Sons of Anarchy is mild compared to the real life adventures of an ATF uncover agent who gets patched in to The Pagans MC. Ken Croke survives 2 years being uncover by his intelligence, wits, and sometimes, sheer luck. An incredible journey of drugs, assault, extortion, and other forms of pure evil. I read this book almost non stop, it was that interesting. Thank God we have people like Ken who are willing to give up 2 years of their life to make the world safer, all the while putting their lives Sons of Anarchy is mild compared to the real life adventures of an ATF uncover agent who gets patched in to The Pagans MC. Ken Croke survives 2 years being uncover by his intelligence, wits, and sometimes, sheer luck. An incredible journey of drugs, assault, extortion, and other forms of pure evil. I read this book almost non stop, it was that interesting. Thank God we have people like Ken who are willing to give up 2 years of their life to make the world safer, all the while putting their lives and the lives of their loved ones in danger. This is a must read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Janice Roper-Graham

    Amazing. Thank You! This is an incredible story where the author risked everything to get criminals off the street. I appreciated how he acknowledged the hardship his undercover work caused his wife and daughters and was happy to hear that they got through it and stayed together. It’s also sad but not surprising about the meddlers and back seat drivers who think they know more than the person in the trenches. That you would be investigated instead of congratulated by your boss is crazy. Wow. This Amazing. Thank You! This is an incredible story where the author risked everything to get criminals off the street. I appreciated how he acknowledged the hardship his undercover work caused his wife and daughters and was happy to hear that they got through it and stayed together. It’s also sad but not surprising about the meddlers and back seat drivers who think they know more than the person in the trenches. That you would be investigated instead of congratulated by your boss is crazy. Wow. This is a meaningful life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Wow….. what a ride!!! This book really had me holding my breath as I was turning the pages. The authors really take you deep into the undercover life of this agent and what he had to endure to come out on the other side. I couldn’t put it down and it’s been awhile since I’ve felt that about a book! If you love true crime or are just looking for a good read in general, definitely pick this one up!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jaged

    Captivating read. Read this book in two settings. Often felt my heart rate increasing while holding my breath. Having been in public safety I’m always amazed how one persons ego, incompetence or just lack of professionalism can jeopardize another’s life. So thankful for those who put their lives on hold for our safety.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John D DeWeese

    While the writing is pretty straightforward and at times a bit cliche, this book still delivers an excellent true crime yarn. It does a great job of bursting the myth of the motorcycle outlaw and keeps you on your toes about how everything will shake out. Some decent twists that I didn’t see coming.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristin M Steele

    A Must Read I had to keep reminding myself this wasn’t fiction. Incredible story that I couldn’t put down. What Ken (and team) went thru over two years to take down these criminals is insane. I appreciate the sacrifice and bravery of Ken, team, and all those in law enforcement.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Keith

    Very good read about a ATF Agent who goes undercover for two years to take down one of the most notorious Motorcycle gangs in the country, the Pagans. The Agent moved all the way to the top of the gang to serve as their treasurer. He was able to obtain valuable information that brought numerous arrests and garnered insight into the workings of these groups.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Wow! This was an incredible read that had me hooked from the very beginning. And I'm definitely not ashamed to say that I finished reading this in less than one day. The story was captivating and it almost felt like I was watching a crime TV series! A very enjoyable, surprising read. Wow! This was an incredible read that had me hooked from the very beginning. And I'm definitely not ashamed to say that I finished reading this in less than one day. The story was captivating and it almost felt like I was watching a crime TV series! A very enjoyable, surprising read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gail O'Connor

    This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I never realized how terrifying these motorcycle gangs are. I also can't believe how our detectives infiltrate them. Once you start the first chapter you cannot put it down. Absolutely riveting. This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I never realized how terrifying these motorcycle gangs are. I also can't believe how our detectives infiltrate them. Once you start the first chapter you cannot put it down. Absolutely riveting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jason Weber

    4.5 stars. This book is just as good if not better than “Under and Alone” by Billy McQueen. Ken Croke went undercover into the Pagans, which was never done before, and this is his story. I really enjoyed it, if you have read other books like this, “Riding with Evil” does not disappoint.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sandy T. Scott

    This is not a happy feel good read but it is eye opening and educational. It will keep you interested and wanting to know more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    M.

    It was a good read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    Fantastic and interesting novel that dives deep into the Pagan lifestyle and how Ken Croke takes them down.

  24. 5 out of 5

    amanda

    engrossing. I find it insane that he worked this hard and the bikers got maybe 10 years in prison combined?? fun read/ listen though.

  25. 4 out of 5

    HTX361

    Great undercover agent book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tom Tobiasen

    i gave this great story 4 stars but in reality its 4 1/2. this tense story of undercover ATF Ken Croke kept me on the edge of my seat. its a knuckle biter with a great finish

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel B

    Not my usual jam but wildly fascinating. And I learned that a notorious biker gang worked in and around my hometown—truly surprised by it, still processing the strangeness.

  28. 5 out of 5

    James Hansen

    Fantastic! Couldn't put it down! Fantastic! Couldn't put it down!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Gaskins

    I love these types of stories! Great read!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Orion

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