This new thriller by Alyssa Cole sparked this month’s spooky new read by popularity in the book community. This story takes you on a suspenseful journey through “Black America” in Brooklyn, New York with two characters, Sydney and Theo. With both black (Sydney) and white (Theo) perspectives, they go through the effects of their neighborhood going through gentrification. Using historical context mixed with thriller fiction, the story reveals the methods of how this private organization chose to force the black community out of their homes and businesses and create a new place for white privilege and this “multimillion” pharmaceutical corporation to take over Brooklyn.
Through hyper gentrification; which really occurred in Brooklyn at a time when Spike Lee was a center spoke person against it, we see the character Sydney start to realize that her friends and close neighbors are rapidly and weirdly disappearing while her neighborhood changes right before her eyes. Unaware of the bigger picture at first Theo ends up becoming Sydney’s partner in exposing the evil doings of Theo’s ex girlfriend and her counterparts. While the story, in my opinion, takes some time to reveal the action and unravel the secrets, it just gives you everything at once towards the end of the book. In short summary the end exposes where are the missing neighbors were being held captive, the truth behind the pharmaceutical corporation and the bloodbath spree Sydney and Theo embarks upon together like Batman and Catwoman. The story suddenly ends with them taking back their community but realizing it’s not just them that are targets of an unorthodox hyper gentrification.
What I did enjoy about the way Alyssa Cole went about writing this story was the use of historical context to fact check what was going on throughout the book. I found it a means to do more research and educate oneself on the topics of Black America, gentrification,Red-lining and bank takeovers.
Spike Lee explained it best when he called it the Christopher Columbus Syndrome; “ an urban phenomenon which new comers, usually mid-class/caste and affluent whites believing they have “discovered” a neighborhood as if nothing and no one had been there before them.” You may ask how did they accomplish this ? Oh they had help from the banks through the process of Redlining .
Redlining was an unethical tactic using red ink to outline on a map “high risk” areas that lenders identified and referenced neighborhoods with greater share of people (marginalized and people of color) deemed more likely to default on mortgage. This resulted in denied mortgages, unable to buy homes or get loans, raised rents and created more low-end service jobs. Does this still exists? This process was backed by the government in the 1930s but Supposedly now illegal by the 1968 Fair Housing Act and the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. Reality check ....it still exist but by other means; one being called gentrification.
I gave this historical thriller fiction novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. The characters and the situations they encountered was relatable to attitudes and behaviors we are experiencing present day.From the Karen’s, the Karen’s man, white privileges and how our communities are rapidly changing before our eyes ;it’s a shame of how society is making it normal and blatantly deemed acceptable. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of waking up.