I have been voraciously working my way through the 20 books in the Alan Gregory books since recently discovering the series. They are extremely well-written and I enjoy all the regular characters. I only bought this book because it was the 17th of the series. A cameo appearance at the end of the book by Alan Gregory does not make this book an Alan Gregory book and I was disappointed. The only "regular" character who appeared was his friend Sam who carried about half the book. The other half of the book was about "Poe" and "Dee" and I do not care anything about this dysfunctional couple. I found myself skimming through the book as fast as possible to finish it. I hope the final 3 books in the series return to the original characters, especially including Alan Gregory, who were left with many unresolved issues at the end of book 16.
In the last 26 hours, I've worked 10 long ones, did a 4 hour favor for a friend, and, I think I dimly recall some sleeping and eating in there. The rest of the time I spent with my nose buried in "The Siege", Stephen White's 17th novel. And without blindly tossing around too many superlatives, it is an edge of the seat thriller, completely absorbing, and his finest novel yet.
I tend to rate at the 5 star level for White's efforts, and all in all, the public seems to receive them as more of a 4 star body of work. Nonetheless, for the sheer need I have to gallop through his books and the amount of what I call sideline information (Gregory has a passion for enlightenment in each installment. It is from him I've gleaned most of my knowledge of what it is like to live with Multiple Sclerosis, what it is like to be among the Latter Day Saints and try to understand their dedication to the church (while remaining an outsider), what the pitfalls and trials are for clinicians who constantly walk a tightrope with information gleaned from doctor/patient privilege; the list is pretty endless)that I take away from his novels, pound for pound, its been an entertaining run.
I've reviewed White for Amazon before.. the last two times for "Dry Ice" and "Kill Me" (somehow, I missed the 16th book, "Dead Time"). For "Kill Me" I said...
"I've read all of Stephen White's books and reviewed all of them in one place or another. But I don't just slap an "excellent" or 5 star label on his work because I'm hooked on the series. I really believe that White looks at both his long running series with the attitude that he wants to keep it alive, but he wants to keep it fresh. He's employed a number of different methods over the years...."
That's still all true. His method for this book, "The Siege" is to discard his hero, Boulder psychologist Dr. Alan Gregory. Gregory appears in a brief reference in the the next to last chapter -- in the aftermath of "the siege" referred to in the title. His protagonist in this novel is weather-beaten cop (now ex-cop, he's on suspension) Sam Purdy, who is Alan's best friend. He is a particular favorite of mine.
Fictional Sam Purdy may reside in Colorado, may have found love in California, and might spend most of this novel in Miami and New Haven, Connecticut, but Sam Purdy was born in Hibbing, MN, and his outlook on life stems from the bleak and somewhat rural, hardscrabble living and passion for hockey that comes from there. I should know, I was born there.
Through Carmen, his significant other, Sam is asked to attend the engagement festivities of Carmen's daughter, Dulce. She's in Miami with her fiancee, who is the son of the wealthy Calderon family. Ann Calderon, a scientist, has a secret. She needs assistance from someone for a family crisis. And, that someone has to be not only trustworthy, but needs to appear to be a passing acquaintance to a villain who is watching the family of Ann Calderon .
Purdy could not know, in accepting the assignment, how much out of his league is the scope of the crisis. But, he's observant, he's intuitive, and he knows how to bring his cop instincts to the forefront. The Siege involves the kidnapping of not only Ann's daughter, but the children of high profile Americans who share a commonality. They are all students of Yale, they are all involved in one of the Yale secret societies. And a force that can stand up to the tactics of the FBI's best and brightest has taken them prisoner.
What the kidnappers want, the audacity of what they are willing to do, the impenetrability of the building they have comandeered, and the rationale behind their actions will unfold for you in taught, tense moments. The story's told from points of view of not only Sam, but two romantically involved agents (FBI and CIA), Poe and Diedre, who are on the scene. Less tied into the solution, but more crucial on the forefront is hostage negotiator Christine Carmody, whose job it is to save as many of the hostages from a world class terrorist as she can. We get her point of view, too.
I'm sure the book is filled with some unrealistic details, some unlikeliness, that the average reader might never be able to spot. I'm not concerned with those. I've had before me a harrowing tale, one that keeps the reader blind to the identity and the reason behind the acts of the terrorists. Weaving through all of it is White's skill with dialogue and characterization, and his ability to put the story in perspective of all the craziness in the landscape of what is American "current events" without politicizing or sermonizing.
It's a damn fine book and I expect it to be White's biggest novel yet. Don't wait to hear about it from others. Enjoy it now.
Even though one of the characters from the Alan Gregory series is in this book, I would not put this book in the actual series. Now, that being said, this is a really good story that turns in to a non stop page turner. I don't like to rehash what happens in the books I read in my reviews, you can read what the books are about online, I'll just say this is a great read.
Stephen White's novel, "The Siege" was a disturbing fictional story with interesting yet not well developed characters.
Without giving away the plot, ingeniously ruthless terrorists that are constantly one step ahead of our government forces kidnap college kids and demand access to unique parental possessions in exchange for their children's lives. Compliance leads to release while disappointment results in death.
While the book kept this reader on the seat's edge, it was not one of my favorite reads. Too much time was spent on the trivial and not enough on character development. Additionally, the story was disjointed. It did not flow naturally.
On the other hand, the story keeps the reader guessing about how the terrorists could have so much better intelligence than our government, what kind of access they gained from parents of kidnapped victims and what they really wanted from America.
A thought provoking story, but my guess is that this is probably not Stephen White's best work.
Wow!! If you are looking for lots of action, suspense and a great story line then "The Siege" is a must read for you as it does not disappoint!
The book starts out with a bang and does not fizzle out until you have read the last word. Fast moving story line with lots of action that keeps you at the edge of your seat. Very strong characters that are believable along with a "who is the bad guy pulling the strings" mystery. There is some violence but it goes along with the story line and at times it does get intense but it all adds to the story. When you hold college students hostage when all of their parents are either politicians or very rich you know there going to be fireworks. A great read and another to add to you "must read" list!
Although much of the concept strains credulity (authorities failing to act despite repeated public murder and an enemy that has thought of "everything" and were able to pull it off without any outside observation or interference), White puts forth here the true definition of a page-turner, while exposing us to some new characters worthy of a sequel.
Too, he steps away for a while from, what I have come to find, the whiny, anxiety-ridden and rigid character of Dr. Alan Gregory, and displays to us a different and more fully developed picture of long-time sidekick Sam Purdy.
All in all, fans of White will find this a welcome variation on a theme and a "not to miss" addition to the series.