Armchair detective work
by Alex Caine
Random House Canada, $32.00, 222 pp.
The author of Befriend and Betray is back with an offering that is focused exclusively on the Bandidos Motorcycle Club—“The Fat Mexican” is a well-known and generally affectionate referral to the Bandidos’ center patch. Caine’s singular focus is unlike his previous book, which featured vignettes about not only his infiltration of the Bandidos, but of the Russian Mafia, the KKK and other organizations as well.
But this book is a bit of an oddity in several ways.
To begin with, it seems to have had limited distribution or exposure—strange, considering the success of Befriend and Betray. The Canadian version of the book has been out for some time, but Amazon now lists an American paperback release as finally coming in September.
It’s also odd that the book bears the subtitle, “The bloody rise of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club,” even though it is essentially about one specific incident: the so-called “Shedden Massacre,” the 2006 murder of eight men in Shedden, Ontario, Canada.
The Shedden Massacre was certainly a horrific incident, and its detailed story is as compelling of a mystery as, say, a good episode of Law & Order or CSI. However, it’s dangerous to apply—or imply—its causes and effects to the whole of any group or organization. That would be like judging all of the U.S. Congress on the Gary Condit/ Chandra Levy affair or the David Vitter prostitution ring scandal, or Larry Craig’s lavatory dalliance; or all cops on the Rampart Division mess. Hmmm… but, then again, maybe those aren’t good analogies…
Finally, while Caine is known for his exploits as a mercenary involved with law enforcement infiltrations of various groups, that’s not what this book is about. Primarily it’s a research book. Rather than a personal, hands-on recounting of the Shedden incident, Caine explains (in the book’s Source Notes) how he gathered the material: The book is mostly composed of cited court testimony records; cited law enforcement journals and documents; “contacts”; sources “that, unfortunately, cannot be identified”; and “websites run by the [motorcycle] clubs themselves.”
Maybe there’s a reason this book hasn’t had as much exposure as Caine’s previous work. Befriend and Betray, it’s not.