Gods of Mischief Book Review
Rowe’s fiancee’ became suspicious of his frequent late night meetings with “Uncle John” but never considered he was a snitch. Privately she thought he might be gay, which in her mind was preferable to being snitch.
“The man she knew as a hard riding, hard drinking member of the Vagos MC, the man she had agreed to marry, the man who had saved her life and was the father of her unborn child had been lying to her for the last 3 years and was secretly leading the life of an undercover Federal informant.” “Now he had 15 minutes to convince her to join him in the Federal Witness Protection program, or be killed by those he had betrayed, along with their unborn child. He knew she wouldn’t take the news and this decision very well, but he never expected this.”
Gods of Mischief is a gripping true story about Big George Rowe, a reformed crystal meth addict and dealer, a bare knuckle brawler and convicted felon who seeks to satisfy his need for redemption by attempting to destroy the Vagos MC from the inside out. George becomes a full-patch member of the Hemut California Chapter and along the way falls in love with a struggling drug addict 20 years his junior, helping her with her addictions while trying to conquer his inner demons, never quite getting a handle on either. Far from the glamorized lifestyle of the bikers in the television series Sons of Anarchy, the MC world George Rowe lived in was dirtier, more mundane and filled with humans who seemed to enjoy and thrive on committing random acts of senseless violence.
In Gods of Mischief, Rowe carries the reader through a narrative (three years in the making) from an insiders perspective as he buys guns and drugs for the ATF and as a “Prospect” washes motorcycles and fetches tampons for his club brothers to pass the initiation phase on his way to becoming a full patch member of the Vagos. Now living under a new identity, in an undisclosed location courtesy of the US Witness Security Program, Rowe writes a revealing memoir of his activities with the Vagos MC. The life of a confidential informant is hardly the stuff of legends, and even those who walk entirely on the right side of the law have a love/hate relationship with them. On one hand we’re glad when justice is served on the predators, but, on the other hand, we don’t really like the informants who bring help bring the predators to justice. It’s hard to feel sorry for George Rowe, who lost everything trying to rid his town of what he saw as a criminal gang, terrorizing his friends and neighbors. It’s hard because we feel he dishonored himself, turned his back on his best friend. and in the process, became a little too much like those which he despised. For snitches like Rowe, the end justified the means, but it also shows there is no honor, even among thieves, and we place a high value on honor. Is this book a “tell all?” Probably not. The publisher, Simon and Schuster, does a good job of whitewashing Rowe’s unsavory past (and present actions) and painting him as someone who was motivated by the desire to “avenge” the murder of a friend. While most readers will never sympathize with Rowe, the narrative is still compelling enough to carry the story. If the 1% outlaw biker lifestyle intrigues you, then Gods of Mischief, My undercover vendetta to take down the Vagos Outlaw motorcycle gang is a good way to spend a cold weekend inside. It starts off a little slow, but revs up halfway in and even though you know how it ends, you’ll find yourself caught up in the emotional turmoil and you’ll be turning pages late into the night.
Available from Touchstone Hardcover / Simon and Shuster for $25.99; (ISBN 978-1-4516-6734-9)