Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mark Young's Experiences Creates Memorable Gang Thriller--Broken Allegiance!

Broken Allegiance:
 A Tom Kagan Novel
By Mark Young

Whether it is right out of today's news or fiction created as back stories, Mark Young knows what it's all about! His latest, Broken Allegiance, takes readers directly into the family life of members of gangs... Truthfully, it made me think about my personal opinion on the Death Penalty...

"The gunman reached down and ripped the tape
from the victim's mouth. "Any last words, Paco?"
All of them seemed to be Hispanic, the gunman's
voice heavily accented. "Before I..."
"The kneeling man stiffened, glaring up at this
captor towering above him. "You're making a big
mistake, Rascal. This is not sanctioned. Check
it out, bro."
"I'm not here to flap my gums about the green light
on your ass...bro. I'm giving you an opportunity to
say your last words. Maybe shoot up a little prayer
to the big guy in the sky."
"The other two men, standing next to the bound
victim, gave nervous chuckles as if they couldn't
decide whether to laugh at Rascal's joke or
keep still. They lapsed into silence.
"Here are some last words for you." Paco spit in
Rascal's face. "Nos vemos en el infierno!"
While the young couple worked their way to the old winery building, carrying their blanket, giggling and happy, they thought they would have alone time...

But there was also a car heading to the same vineyard--to carry out orders. Rascal had brought along a couple of his street gang to back him up, but they'd already captured and bound their victim. They were fools, following blindly the orders to kill Paco. Paco was all good and well respected...

Broken Allegiance - When the lust for power turns even family against each other, there is no pride or respect. Fear, anger and so much more enters and reigns...

It is hard for most of us to even consider, and never to imagine, what it would be like to be in a family where it was known that, ultimately, you would be called upon:
Blood In; Blood Out. There will be no choice for you. If you are to gain respect of your peers, but, seemingly, more importantly, your family--the large family as well--you will be required to murder somebody...

How does it ever reach the point where men are allowed to gain so much power that they can freely order others to kill on command...even from prison?

This is from the same article as is the video above. These are real members of the family as identified in the novel. For purposes of this review, I'm choosing from the second level of the hierarchy, first box, the one of the right...He's fairly high in the Family, but still reports to others higher... Let's pretend for this review, his name is... Ghost...
Ghost had ordered the hit from prison... There were many others there from the family, but he had acted on his own to order Paco's death. He had heard that Tom Kagan had been assigned as lead for the kill. Although Kagan would not know him, Ghost remembered him quite well... He looked forward to being able to mix it up with this guy again...

Pelican Bay State Prison, California
"A guard shoved a white envelope into a small, tomb-like cell. The envelope had been cut open before delivery... What has my little bird to say? The man, known as Ghost to other gang members, pored over the letter's words. My faithful Rascal, have you obeyed my orders?
"Ghost rubbed a hand over his shaved hear. The smoothness felt good and gave his enemies nothing to hand on to if anyone dared to attach...They can read all they want; they'll never break the code...
"This was the second letter he received from the outside this week. The first one came under the protection of legal mail--precluding guards from taking a peek inside--directly from his attorney. After a frantic investigation, the attorney reported that gang and VCI investigators were taking a look at Paco's murder. Looking at the attorney's findings--including the fact that a cop by the name of Tom Kagan was assigned to the case--Ghost grimly smiled to himself. What a small world?...Ghost sent a protected letter back ordering the attorney to hire in investigators to find out everything they could on Kagan, his family, his residence. Kagan didn't know that he and Ghost had indirectly crossed paths in the past. This cop might be trouble, and Ghost wanted a dossier on this guy just in case. Know your enemy!
"My order has been carried out. Paco is dead and Rascal has earned his bones..."

For the young Rascal, he could now demand respect from his own street gang, looking forward to perhaps some time in the future being accepted into the Nuestra Familia...

Totally unaware that the Ghost had already commanded another to kill him...

In fact, orders were being carried in an out quite often, one for another high leader, who had chosen to leave the Familia two years ago. Ghost had been concerned about Paco and Mikio for quite some time. Mikio had left the Family, but had not been terminated...Blooded out... These men knew secrets of the organization, one of which was very personal to Ghost...

"Stevenson, still squatting, said, "This was a cold-blooded execution, Tom. It looks like they forced him to kneel before they shot him. He must have known it was coming."
"Tom squinted at Sevenson. "Maybe there is hope for you yet, Sherlock."
"His friend opened his mouth as if to retort and then closed it. Something else appeared to catch his attention as he leaned over the body.
"Hey, I recognize those tats." Stevenson pointed to the side and back of the victim's neck. This bird, it's an image Norteno gangsters like to copy, slightly modified from the farm worker's huelga bird." He pointed to the side of the victim's neck. See the tatoo of a sombero with the knife through it?"
"Tom nodded. "Only an NF, a Nuestra Familia prison gang member, wears those tattoos. This guy must be connected. Tom stood. "So we have an execution of a prison gang member. Where do we go from here, gang expert?...
"Stevenson looked up. Actually, it's a war, rookie. A war between prison gangs like the Mexican Mafia--whose gang claim blue--and Nuestra Familia with its gang claiming red."
"Tom glanced down at the body. "But this guy's not showing any colors, which makes me think it is an internal conflict unless the Surenos already had him in their sights..."

Obviously, learning about Paco's murder put the entire Familia on alert--the kill had not been authorized! And Paco had been a very important outside man...

Tom Kagan and his partner Bill Stevenson are being run ragged trying to keep up with the kills and soon even more were working as a team... Obviously much of the book is dedicated to the actual criminal investigations and if you love that, this novel will place right up there in action and suspense.

The appalling results within that Familia were what amazed and almost mesmerized me... Nephews were ordered to kill uncles... Even the female family members were forced into action, setting up murders, including from within their immediate family! They had no choice, either they, too, followed instructions or they would be killed. Everybody knew they would sooner or later be killed.. Blood in...Blood out... And for the majority of many of their lives, they would sit in jail...

To step up the story in tension and suspense, soon the Ghost has escaped! First, he kills Kagan's partner... And the whole family is closeted... But Ghost is smart--very smart...

"His hands were not clean of the blood of others. They dripped with the killings of many, many people. He had even forgotten some of the names he'd given a thumbs-down to when the secret vote came around. Or the many votes he had self-initiated in the interest of building up his own power structure.
"Now his blood was required. Blood in, blood out.
"It would always end the same way.
..."He was a warrior who had somehow lost his way, lost his bearings, his honed ability to sense and elude danger. He saw this coming but refused to believe his people would take these steps against him. His people? What a laugh. He should be worth something to the organization, but to them he was now a useless piece of garbage to be case away as others scrambled over his grave, grabbing what he once possessed.
"To some in the NF, he was just a coldhearted killer who'd lost his edge, an old man who needed to be removed from the seat of power to make room for others. New blood coming in. Old blood being spilled...
"The allegiance of brothers had been broken. Maybe deep down inside each member, there never was a true allegiance to the brotherhood. Just an opportunity to grasp power... now prepare for the end..."

I have to tell you, by the end of this book, learning how even the gang leaders are treated differently by prison staff--to help ensure inmates are kept calmer...

How police are routinely targeted...

And how those living gang life are constantly in fear???

It seems to me, the Code should be universal... Blood In... Anybody who murders to enter a gang is automatically set for the death penalty... Blooded Out...

Mark Young has created a memorable indepth look that goes far beyond what we see in movies or even in today's newspaper... Prison doesn't stop them from Murdering More People! Why don't we take care of business in the U.S.? This may be fiction--but it's based on FACT. Thank you Mark Young for telling us like it really is! A Must-Read in my opinion... Especially by cops, public officials...and...gang members who don't yet know any better...


Mark Young is an Amazon bestselling author. 
Both his Travis Mays and Gerrit O'Rourke novels reached the top 100 list, and his debut novel, Revenge, hit #1 for bestselling mystery/suspense police procedurals. Mark worked as a police officer and sergeant with the Santa Rosa Police Department in California for twenty-six years after working as an award-winning journalist. He is a Vietnam combat veteran, honored to have served with Fox 2/5, 1st Marine Division, and later with Headquarters company. 
He worked on several law enforcement task force operations, including the presidential Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force targeting major drug traffickers, and the federal Organized Crime Task Force charged with identifying and prosecuting prison gang leaders. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family. Visit Mark Young at his web site at

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