The Almighty Latin King & Queen Nation still reigns as one of the largest and most violent gangs in the United States. Thousands of young men and women join the gang in search of acceptance and excitement. Visions of grandeur of money, cars, fame sex and power form a nexus of seduction designed to lure new members into the fold. Tragically some of these members will live and die by the code of the gang. Others spend their lives in prison but some are able to leave the gang and face a life without the backing of the very people that they have called family for most of their young lives.
Reymundo Sanchez, author of ‘Lady Q’, tells his story or his own path to becoming a Latin King on the gritty streets of Chicago, IL, the birthplace of the Latin Kings. Born on the back of a pickup truck in Puerto Rico into a dysfunctional household, his young life seems as if it reads from a script all too often played out in low-income households. Upon re-locating to Chicago, his life takes yet another turn where he is formally exposed to the gang culture then beginning to tighten its grip on the windy city.
Gang memoirs are never easy reads and Sanchez’s story is no different. The encounters and acts of violence in the book are gritty and his struggle with his own personal demons is moving and eye-opening. And at times, his story has all of the hallmarks of a classic gangster film. There’s an assortment of characters, ranging from range from sexual deviants, homicidal maniacs, drug addicts, everyday people and young children caught in the vicious cycle of gang life. Reading this book made me reflect on my childhood in East New York and the many Latin Kings that I knew on a first name basis as this book could have been written by any one of them. In spite of its brutally honest recollections of violence, sex and drugs, the book is an invaluable piece of literature that should be read by anyone considering joining a gang or for those seeking to understand what drives kids to join in the first place. It also highlights the ongoing problem of lack of education and family structure issues that continued to plague inner city youths.