Review: Siege


Edwin Corley’s Siege is a 1968 thriller with a bizarre premise. In many ways it’s like the ahead-of-its-time version of Mike Lunnon-Wood’s Dark Rose. Except everything the much later Dark Rose does right, this does wrong.

The premise here is that Black Power militants are holding Manhattan hostage so that the American government will give them New Jersey as a new homeland for African Americans. As a New Yorker, I am obligated to bash Jersey, but I will suppresses the urges here. This makes it seem like the book would be wacky. But it’s actually not. It’s very dreary and sometimes even ugly.

First, the obvious issue. You might think a cheap thriller from 1968 would not be the most progressive or racially sensitive novel. And you would be right. But even by those low standards, the racial content becomes outright uncomfortable too many times here. Second, even leaving that aside, the book is terribly paced. Like Richard Rohmer, it’s just mostly meetings and plans, and the competence of the characters changes on a dime. Skip this book. It’s not worth it.

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