Ratsnakes: Cheating Death By Living A Lie: Inside The Explosive World Of Atf's Undercover Agents And How We Ch by Vincent A. CefaluRatsnakes: Cheating Death By Living A Lie: Inside The Explosive World Of Atf's Undercover Agents And How We Ch by Vincent A. Cefalu

Ratsnakes: Cheating Death By Living A Lie: Inside The Explosive World Of Atf's Undercover Agents…

byVincent A. Cefalu

Hardcover | May 28, 2019

Pricing and Purchase Info

$28.92 online 
$32.50 list price save 11%
Earn 145 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Pre-order online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not yet available in stores


Get ready to infiltrate the dangerous, secret world of criminals and cover identities by way of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)—where the world’s greatest undercover agents are known as RatSnakes.

RatSnakes are rarely, if ever, visible to the public they move among and risk their lives to protect. In fact, thanks to their cover personas, they’re often assumed to be members of the clandestine criminal world they investigate. Real-life undercover work is a far cry from the sexy, candy-colored world you’ve seen in Hollywood movies. Only those strong and clever enough get inside and survive.

Vincent A. Cefalu would know. He spent 30 years as an ATF undercover operative, in assignments ranging from the Symbionese Liberation Army to Asian organized crime. He has infiltrated notorious outlaw motorcycle gangs as well as splinter groups of the Ku Klux Klan, and in RatSnakes he provides a transparent look at the organization and the operatives with whom he risked his life.

Part field guide, part heart-pounding thrill-ride, Cefalu takes readers on a tour of what it’s like to confront death on a daily basis. En route, he gives us a look at the on-the-job techniques of kicking in doors, orchestrating “street theater” to ensnare criminals, and making high-stakes gun buys. His irreverent, explicit stories from the inside are a mix of danger and unexpected hilarity that will have readers laughing one minute and then biting their nails when things break bad.

Immersive and brutal, RatSnakes offers an in-depth and eye-opening look into the lives of an elite group of men and women who volunteer to do things most couldn’t and wouldn’t stomach. Civilians with common sense and good judgment run from danger, while RatSnakes sprint toward it—smiling.

Vincent A. Cefalu was born and raised just North of San Francisco in Marin County, California. After a troubled youth and lackluster academic performance, He enlisted in the U.S. Marines, where he spent six years in the military police and ultimately served in a classified Special Operations unit. The hook was set. Continuing to pursue...
Title:Ratsnakes: Cheating Death By Living A Lie: Inside The Explosive World Of Atf's Undercover Agents…Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:May 28, 2019Publisher:BenBella Books, Inc.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1946885967

ISBN - 13:9781946885968


Table of Contents

Foreword by James Ross Lightfoot

Introduction: To Know Them Is to Love Them. Or Not.

Chapter 1: Wired for Speed
Chapter 2: T-Men
Chapter 3: Acting School with Sand Gnats
Chapter 4: Crème de la Crème
Chapter 5: Snake Code
Chapter 6: Out of the Cage
Chapter 7: Freedom
Chapter 8: “Oh, Shit” Moments
Chapter 9: More with Less
Chapter 10: Executive Douchebags
Chapter 11: Have Gun, Will Travel
Chapter 12: Cold Knocks
Chapter 13: IA
Chapter 14: 5150s
Chapter 15: Hollywood on Crack
Chapter 16: Dysfunksional
Chapter 17: The Cost of Doing America’s Business
Chapter 18: A Special Place in Heaven

Encore: Smokin’ and Jokin’



About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“The LE Undercover community is limited to those who are born with the ability to take on some of the most dangerous, 'up close and personal' assignments. In that select group, Vince Cefalu is one who stands out because of his bravery and his ability to walk undetected among the most hardened criminals. A real badass who I'm proud to call my friend.”—Joaquin “Jack” Garcia, former undercover FBI agent and New York Times bestselling author of Making Jack Falcone“Cefalu bares all and lays out the gritty and true life of an undercover agent and the workings of the ATF. A must-read for law enforcement and the public.”—Joe Pistone, former undercover FBI agent, alias “Donnie Brasco”“Vincent Cefalu is the real deal. In RatSnakes, he takes us on a wild ride through his dark world of paranoia, danger, fear, hard-living, hard drinking and the chase. In the end, it’s a gripping story revealing how some of our most effective federal undercover agents earn their chops, make their living and work to protect their fellow Americans in ways that usually go unrecognized.”—Sharyl Attkisson, investigative correspondent