Angels of Death: Inside the Bikers' Global Crime Empire.


465 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 978-0-676-97730-1
DDC 364.1'06





Alexander David Kurke is a criminal lawyer in Sudbury, Ontario.


This book, written on a broader scale than the authors’ earlier The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada, offers an overview of the violent underworld inhabited by the Hells Angels. It begins, appropriately enough, with three distinct scenes of violence: the murder and near beheading of an Arizona woman who “disrespected” the gang, the revenge bombing of an Australian man who exercised self-help against the “bikies” who invaded his town in the Australian outback, and the murder of three Hells Angels by their Dutch colleagues—killing as business plan in Hells Angels, Inc.


The book surveys the growth of the Hells Angels throughout North America and around the globe, explores the disinformation broadcast by the gang to create a public image of a harmless “motorcycle club,” and celebrates the efforts of authorities to secure evidence, prosecute, and reveal the Angels’ true nature to the world.


In various chapters, the authors describe the growth of the motorcycle gang through the American Southwest, Australia, Holland, Scandinavia, England, and Canada. Growth into each area offered unique logistical difficulties, but shared common elements: vast profits from illegal drug production and drug and firearms trafficking, and the willingness of bikers to visit extreme violence on competitors, wayward members, and innocent non-combatants, including children.


The heroes of the book are the various policing agencies that developed strategies to catch out the bikers. Several operations are discussed in detail, including one in the United States in which police agents were very nearly inducted as patched-in Angels. Canada, which has the misfortune to lie almost exclusively under the Death’s Head patch, can also boast a recent court ruling in which the motorcycle gang was found to be a criminal organization.


This book offers an excellent introduction to its subject, and a sobering antidote to anyone minded to romanticize the image of the outlaw biker, or to trivialize the global threat of motorcycle gangsters.


Marsden, William, and Julian Sher., “Angels of Death: Inside the Bikers' Global Crime Empire.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 21, 2024,