Cover Image: RatSnakes

RatSnakes

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The author Vincent Cefalu takes you through his life at the beginning of the book. Then how he got into the DEA. He also talks about the people he worked with male and female. He also talks about the classes he took and taught. Then about almost the halfway point you start getting into the different undercover assignments he went on. He even shows you the first ones where he made mistakes but they worked out and how he learned from them. Not all of the cases are his he also talks about different agents and some of their cases. What it was like doing an under-cover drug deal, then having to go undercover in a biker gang. Then you had to go undercover in another situation, each one was different and had their own problems, sometimes those problems would appear at least opportune time. He walks you through how you would have a plan for a take down but then part way through there would be a problem and all of the people would have to change, because some had worked together for so long it would be easier than when they had a new person.
I found this to be a very good book and very real. The author does not go off into a rant about all about me but gives it up to all of the agents he worked with as well. I also liked how he shows how he messed up at the beginning even though it worked out it could have ended differently. Overall a very good book.
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This book is a fast read. I found it very hard to put down. The stories Cefalu tells, and the situations he and his fellow officers experienced, were fascinating to me. The author was a man of many faces. One day he could be an outlaw biker, the next a drug dealer. How he pulled them off is a great story! Danger, paranoia, fear, hard drinking, fast living, it's all here. He describes a multitude of cases he worked, and they were all interesting.
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This is my final review.   I don't know if it is the author or a copyeditor who is responsible for this, but every sentence I read that contains an adverb (many, many sentences) makes me cringe. The order of adverb vs. helping verbs, and even action verbs, is incorrect and many instances and a large distraction from the story. 

Otherwise, I am enjoying the book and the way the author details the good and the bad of being an undercover operative.  The continuity of the information is succinct and the flow is good. He tells the story using relative side stories and events in a manner that draws you in and leaving you wanting more tidbits as you get to know him.

If the flow hadn't been disrupted so grievously by the misuse of adverbs I would have rated it a 4.  Unfortunately,  the grammar was a deal breaker.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC copy of the book. The opinions expressed above are my own.
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RatSnakes by Vincent A. Cefalu

Cheating Death by Living A Lie: Inside the Explosive World of ATF's Undercover Agents and How We Changed the Game

Reading the memoirs and anecdotes of Cefalu’s years working for the ATF was both interesting and eye opening. I learned a bit of the history and jobs that the department did in the past and continues to do in the present. I learned about the adrenaline rush it must be to make life or death decisions at the drop of a hat. Being able to trust the people you work with while undercover is a must. Being able to trust your superiors would be a good thing but it is not a given. Having those in power not see the picture from your perspective, not have experience and yet be making decisions and then at times turn against you must be demoralizing. I enjoyed reading about the people on Cefalu’s team and also about some experiences they had. I came away wondering if I would be able to do the jobs they did or if I would fit into their group...and...decided perhaps not. That said, I truly admire what these men and women do and the service they provide. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Ben Bella Books for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

4 Stars
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I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  
Thanks NetGalley!

Very informative book about ATF agents.    Quick read, lots of vignettes.
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I wanted to read this book because of the title and description. I kind of had in mind that it would be a procedural book....maybe describe a few cases. 
  Instead I learned a whole bunch about ATF agents in general. History of the ATF ( I had no clue how it all began ), and a pretty deep appreciation for the work these agents do. There is some about poor choices, illegal activity and outright corruption regarding  the upper echelon of the ATF, which did result in a whistleblower lawsuit, but primarily this book contains  snippets of what these agents do everyday.
   I feel like I learned enough to appreciate how difficult it was to hide those first recorder devices ( OMG ), how easily a thing can go wrong and how these agents must be able to think fast. This book does not give away any secrets of how an agent does his job...except in the most basic way ( how much planning, coordination and so on.)
   I know the next time I see a guy that looks like a potential outlaw at my grocery store....I am going to be thinking...I wonder if he his ATF?
   Pretty good book
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RatSnakes....the name given to undercover ATF agents. The author served as a RatSnake for over twenty years. This book is his story, and the story of other undercover ATF agents he served with. 
The book is a fast read. I found it very hard to put down. The stories Cefalu tells, and the situations he and his fellow officers experienced, were fascinating to me. 
The author was a man of many faces. One day he could be an outlaw biker, the next a drug dealer. How he pulled them off is a great story! Danger, paranoia, fear, hard drinking, fast living, it's all here. He describes a multitude of cases he worked, and they were all interesting. 
Cefalu chose to remain an undercover for his entire career. His disdain for his "higher-ups" is palpable, to put it mildly. In my own law-enforcement career, I had many friends who stayed "in the trenches", who did not want to be promoted. And I saw their contempt for those who worked in the "puzzle palace" (DC).  I chose to advance in my career, and got to experience the world through the eyes of those in the puzzle palace. And I witnessed some of the same antics that Cefalu experienced. People who would sell their souls for that next promotion. And who would screw over anyone who got in their way. I worked hard to maintain my appreciation for those who were on the front line. I hope that I succeeded, at least I know that I can sleep at night knowing that I did not become one of "them". 
The beginning of the book was fantastic. I really enjoyed reading the case that Cefalu worked. Towards the middle of the book, I grew rather frustrated and weary of the author's disdain for his "superiors". It really got old. But, by the end of the book, I could see the author's motivation. You could see his sense of duty, and of doing the right thing. I was left with the impression that he was a good man, put into some very bad situations, and came out with his honor intact.  And that is a successful life. 
I wish him well in his retirement. And salute him for his sacrifices and service.
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After reading mostly fiction books I picked this book based on description and the fact that it was non fiction. This book was completely out of my genre, and yes, to my surprised it was a very interesting read. For all peoole who would like to find out how it is and what happens to ratsnakes you will be suprr surprised with all the info that is given and presented here! Sometimes your jaw will drop,and sometimes you will say...I did not know that!, but no matter what will happen you will find this book very different and shocking. Good read if you are willing to read non fiction book.
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