Review Written By
Sunnie Gill

BEFRIEND AND BETRAY is an insider’s story of this complex and murky world where you can trust no one. Not only did Caine have to be wary of the gang he was infiltrating, but he also had to be circumspect about who he trusted in law enforcement.  His is a story of creating alternative identities and living on his wits, often for months at a time. It makes compelling reading.

Just how such people live, how they maintain their own identity and the effects on their relationships outside their work is as fascinating as the details of the work itself.  In some instances Caine’s story raises as many questions as it answers.  Just how effective are these types of operations? The biggest success of his career, Caine feels is his first, the infiltration of the Bandidos.  It resulted in dozens of arrests across the USA, Canada and internationally, but ultimately it didn’t put a stop to the gang’s drug-dealing activities. It just slowed it down for a while.

I thought BEFRIEND AND BETRAY said as much about the character of Alex Caine as it did about the gangs he was infiltrating.  Caine’s seemingly burning need for danger and excitement appeared to come before anything else. With a trail of failed marriages and estranged children behind him , Caine has finally given up this work. At least that’s what he claims in his book.  The author blurb tells us that Alex Caine now works as an advisor on motor cyclegang investigations and is a frequent guest speaker at police conferences. He is a certified fifth-degree black belt martial artist. One does wonder about the ultimate cost of his unconventional life.  Will he be alone in his old age or will his desire for living on the edge once more take control and lead him back to old life and ultimately cost him his?

Year of Publication

The Hells Angels. The Bandidos. Asian triads. Russian mobsters and corrupt cops. Even the KKK. Just part of a day’s work for Alex Caine, an undercover agent who has seen it all.

Alex Caine started life as a working-class boy from Quebec who always thought he’d end up in a blue-collar job. But after a tour in Vietnam and a stretch in prison on marijuana-possession charges, he fell into the cloak-and-dagger world of a contracted agent or “kite”: infiltrating criminal groups that cops across North America and around the globe were unable to penetrate themselves. 

Thanks to his quick-wittedness and his tough but unthreatening demeanour, Caine could fit into whatever unsavoury situation he found himself. Over twenty-five years, his assignments ran the gamut from bad-ass bikers to triad toughs. When a job was over, he’d slip away to a new part of the continent or world, where he would assume a new identity and then go back to work on another group of bad guys.

Told with page-turning immediacy, Befriend and Betray gives a candid look behind the scenes at some familiar police operations and blows the lid off others that law enforcement would much prefer to keep hidden. And it offers an unvarnished account of the toll such a life takes, one that often left Caine to wonder who he really was, behind those decades of assumed identities. Or whether justice was ever truly served.

Sunnie Gill
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

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