Nasty Business: One Biker Gang's Bloody War Against the Hells Angels
Geoff Hamilton, a former columnist for the Queen’s Journal, is a
Toronto-based freelance editor and writer.
Peter Paradis was once a “full patch” member of the Rock Machine, a
now-extinct Montreal-based biker gang that engaged in a bloody turf
battle with the Hells Angels in the 1990s. In Nasty Business, Paradis
documents his rise to power in the gang, giving first-hand accounts of
drug deals, prostitution rings, murder plots, prison life, his near
death in a drive-by shooting, and his eventual arrest and plea deal with
the police. A recovering cocaine addict, Paradis has served his time and
is now living under an assumed name in the Witness Protection Program.
The book includes a number of black-and-white photographs of relevant
people and places.
This is an intriguing memoir, offering an entertaining and informative
series of lurid anecdotes about the lives of those involved in
Canada’s biker gangs. Though most of the factual information Paradis
provides is already well known to those who follow the literature, the
frankness with which these tales of the inner workings of gang life are
told is fresh and compelling (but not, because of the graphic nature of
the material, suitable for children). At times, the writing is
astonishingly baroque, as in this revenge fantasy the author relates:
“I dreamed of having a Hells killed, and then seeing 30 or 40 of his
fellow bikers at a wake in one of their clubhouses. We’d set up the
bazookas nearby and just blast the building into little pieces, not
caring if women or children were inside.” Paradis himself remains a
little indistinct as a protagonist—his self-awareness, glibly mediated
by his ghostwriter, is merely average, and one tends to be suspicious of
some of his self-exculpating claims—but his proximity to colourful
events and their participants provide ample narrative interest. The
subject matter is, to put it mildly, never dull, and this book should
suit anyone looking to read about organized crime from the inside.