“A] great read. The story is full of cinematic action, but is also filled with the heart and soul that most action movies can't come close to capturing on celluloid... [continued in Reviews below]”—The Boston Irish Emigrant
A riveting first-hand account of life as an undercover drug agent
The mean streets of Boston in the 1970s played host to a nefarious underworld of pimps, pushers, and addicts, and Paul "Sully" Doyle was there. From Kenmore Square hippies to South Boston junkies to Combat Zone prostitutes, this undercover operative with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration met every type of unsavory character in town in his fight to bust violent rings of dope, coke, and smack dealers during a turbulent era in the city's history.
Now Special Agent Doyle bluntly chronicles the riveting, true stories from his years on the inside. Known on the street by his alias, "Paulie Sullivan," he recalls his rookie days, trying to infiltrate the criminal drug world under the tutelage of his veteran partner, through his coming of age as an experienced narc-sharing his keen observations on ruined lives, personal peril, and government red tape along the way. A former prizefighter not at all shy about punching his way out of trouble, the author divulges a candid, worm's-eye-view of the drug war with all its blemishes and glories. With abiding humanity and graphic detail, the memoir richly describes exploits with junkie stool pigeons and hooker informants, college burnouts and Chinatown mobsters, ghetto pimps and violent thugs, bureaucratic obstacles and uncooperative foreign governments, successful busts and brushes with death. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, LSD-no illegal substance failed to tempt those seeking the ultimate high, resulting in the long nights, sudden danger, and uncertain outcomes that faced Sully and his partners.
Combining gripping action with perceptive commentary, this unvarnished snapshot of one agent's experiences undercover adeptly captures the violence, futility, and endless frustration of the war on drugs. As engrossing as a fiction thriller, Hot Shots and Heavy Hits provides a rare glimpse into a harsh world unknown to most of us.
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Reviews / Endorsements
“[A] great read. The story is full of cinematic action, but is also filled with the heart and soul that most action movies can't come close to capturing on celluloid. And for a guy who never thought of himself as a writer, Doyle has a style that is clear and concise—and as honestly lyrical—as Hemingway's best prose.”—The Boston Irish Emigrant
“Hot Shots and Heavy Hits is an excellent source for understanding the life work of a drug agent who was active from the 1970s through 2000. The extensive use of recreated narrative and descriptions of the settings, people, and learning/thinking experience make for exciting reading.”—Criminal Justice Review
“What makes Paul Doyle’s book different from other police memoirs is that it is suffused with compassion. The writing is hard and direct except where leavened with good humor and deep feeling for the unfortunate of the world. This is a book that should be handed to everyone everywhere in law enforcement or to anyone who wants to understand how men and women in the profession can keep their heads above the dark waters of crime, addiction, corruption. Paul Doyle did—and he did it with style and a great and generous heart.”—Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes and ’Tis
“Hot Shots and Heavy Hits is a must read. Paul Doyle depicts perfectly what ‘living the life’ is all about . . . Doyle’s dramatic account of his experiences in the drug world is a sure hit. It is serious business.”—Joseph D. Pistone, author of Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia
PAUL E. DOYLE served as Special Agent in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and the Drug Enforcement Administration. He currently is Chairman of the New England chapter of the Association of Former Federal Narcotic Agents. He lives in the Boston area. PETER KIRBY MANNING is the Elmer V. H. and Eileen M. Brooks Professor of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, and the author of Narcs’ Game and Policing Contingencies. The author and this book are featured in the recently released documentary film, Floaters.