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Publisher's Summary

"Delta-Two, I've got tanks through the wire! They're everywhere!"

World War III explodes in seconds when a resurgent Russian federation launches a deadly armored thrust into the heart of Germany. With a powerful blizzard providing cover, Russian tanks thunder down the autobahns while specially trained Spetsnaz teams strike at vulnerable command points.

Standing against them are the woefully undermanned American forces. What they lack in numbers, they make up for in superior weapons and training. But before the sun rises, they are on the run across a smoking battlefield crowded with corpses.

Any slim hope for victory rests with one unlikely hero. Army Staff Sergeant George O'Neill, a communications specialist, may be able to reestablish links that have been severed by hostile forces, but that will take time. While he works, it's up to hundreds of individual American soldiers to hold back the enemy flood.

There's one thing that's certain: The thin line between victory and defeat is also the red line between life and death.

©2017 Walt Gragg (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

As believable as the Easter Bunny eating bratwurst

Honestly, I'm not finished with this book only about 3 hours into it, but so far it sucks.

The backstory is rather lame. It is about as believable as the Count and Bert teaming up to take over Seasame Street. Actually, that would be more believable.

In a nut shell, this book is set in the near future. Not sure how near, since they are holding "SALT VI" talks (in reality SALT II was held in 1979 and never ratified, it was superseded by the START I and START II and the New START talks). It may be in the next few years, since the combatants are using a good bit of present day equipment, like T-80 and T-90 tanks, but not using the T-14 that the Russians are introducing now. Oh, and they are still using T-62 tanks that the Russians stopped using about 20 years ago.

The setting for this book seems to be a hodgepodge construction taken directly from the mind of kid who got a 'D-' in 20th century history because he sat in the back of each lecture snorting bath salts and/or meth. So, in this universe Germany is back to being divided between East and West, with sectors occupied by the US, British, Soviets, and maybe the French (or the Canadians, possibly French Canadians). Yeah, I know, Germany has been unified and unoccupied since 1990. Anyway, who cares because the Nazis are back in power. Yes, the Nazis.

Outside of Germany this time traveler's buffet persists. Apparently the Warsaw Pact did dissolve (just like it did in 1991), and the Czech Republic was formed (just like it did in 1993), but the gang has got back together. The Warsaw Pact is back, I guess all of its members quit NATO, but I think that I must have blanked out on that part. Oh, and the Russians are communists again and are called Soviets again. Yeah, I know, the Russians as Soviets in the modern day using T-90 tanks that weren't introduced until 2-3 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But who cares about details, the Nazis are back and on our side.

Ok, so if you are a better person than me and can beat down that little voice from your hind brain that keeps screaming "WTF!!!!" and listen to the rest of the story, that sucks too. The characters are pretty unbelievable. The scenario is pretty unbelievable. The dialogue between the characters, yeah, can't believe that either...it is pretty stiff. And the narrative...it seems to have been written with with a thesaurus in one hand with the other hand free to pick at the keys. It takes at least 90 words to move the story two words forward.

The narrator does an okish job, but he really does not have much to work with.

So far what I'm liking best about this book is that is really is a sleeper. Seriously, I set my iPhone on the bedside table, set the sleep timer, and so it is nappy time. This is better than Ambien. The only distraction is that voice in my hind brain that keeps screaming "WTF!!!" but after a bit the voice just starts to cry and sob and that is pretty soothing too.

Truthfully, I think that this might have been a good book if it was written in 1987, where it belongs, instead of 2017. This book feels more like the wet dream of someone who was disappointed that the Russians never did come through the Fulda Gap and decided to write this book to resurrect glory day dreams. This book is not a Team Yankee or a Red Storm Rising, and it is kinda demeaning to compare it to those works.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Terrible

I was really excited for this, but it was the worst military thriller/Russia vs NATO I have ever read. “Red Storm Rising”, “Team Yankee”, “Red Army”; I read them all as a kid...in the 80s when this was a real threat. I played the games, read all I could, did a few reports in college on the scenario. There is plenty of work and research on this subject.....and it was all ignored.

I believe the authors little prologue about “how the story prevails over the facts” must have been after someone pointed out how bad it is. Very poorly researched.

Just a few things:

Back story about how the Russians got back the eastern block is unlikely and unbelievable.

The 82nd Airborne has never been called “the burgundy berets”. The red berets occasionally (they wear those, but aren’t commonly called that). But burgundy berets is used about 30 times and sounds stupid.

The Russians don’t have half the forces today that are in the book. It’s like the 80s Soviet army returned from the past.

What are “Air police” USAF security forces personnel haven’t been under that designation for 30 years.

A russian Airborne invasion is a key part of the story....but the Russians don’t have enough airlift capability to move half of what’s dropped. (Course they got an 80s army back so guess the Air Force came back with it).

A lot of action takes place at Rhein Main airbase. It’s been closed since the early 2000s and was razed to the ground, it can’t be rebuilt. Later FrankfortInternational Airport is described as being over 5 miles away. But that’s not right, as Rhein Main and Frankfort Int share the same runways....they are two sides of the same place. I have been there (at both) but 5 min on Wikipedia can help you learn this.

US Armored Cav organization and tactics are woefully wrong. Abrams don’t sit like pillboxes and wait to be surrounded.

The Russian politburo is a bad caracature of “Boris and Natasha”. It (and the rest of the book) is made worse by the over dramatic narration, all the Russians are written and narrated as bad 50s or 80s b movie commies.

Only reason I finished was I thought it might get better. A few of the action scenes were OK, but the badly researched facts just killed it for me.

First book I have requested a refund on.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • Richmond, Vatican City State (Holy See)
  • 06-18-17

Story OK, Tactics BS

Any additional comments?

The author is right when he tells us in the forward to follow the story, not necessarily the tactics and weapons system. To ignore the use of field artillery, either by the Russians/Warsaw Pact or the NATO stretches belief. Russian/Soviet doctrine relies heavily on the use of artillery bombardment to soften up FLOT units such as the Cav platoon mentioned so that armor is not bogged down. On the other side, MRLS artillery systems, organic to US and other NATO units, would have made mince meat of massing armor channeled in the valleys along the frontier. I guess if you are like 92% of Americans who have not served in the Armed Forces, the story sounds plausible.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ernie
  • Washington
  • 09-26-17

I want my money and the hours of wasted time back!

Would you try another book from Walt Gragg and/or Peter Berkrot?

Fat Chance! this book was so bad I wouldn't force listen this to a terrorist in GITMO!

What could Walt Gragg have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

How about some damn research for starters! This guy obviously never even stepped foot on a military base. Let alone read a damn thing about a single military weapon.

Did Peter Berkrot do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

He did a pretty good job. However, I couldn't finish this book because of how horrible the story was.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Red Line?

The ENTIRE manuscript should have been thrown into the trash.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Awful... just awful, and in SO many ways.

A bad tale, quite poorly executed. Wildly unrealistic and inaccurate prose by someone who has only fleeting experience with military operations, and even less with how military personnel speak with one another. Numerous and distracting technical problems. Flagrantly silly plot holes that you could drive an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank through. The whole work is a sorry affair. Listeners, you've been warned!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Over simplified and too many inaccuracies.

The dialogs between military members is not realistic and there is almost no technical details. The battle is over generalized except for the gore.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

definitely not Clancy<br />

I know not to read anything else from this author, it isn't worth the time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

w w lll

one of the best books I have ever read. Compares with Tom Clancy’s RedStorm rising. Could not stop listing to this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very good read,

Takes you through a roller coaster ride in the psyche of the characters in the nightmare of a WW3 scenario.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Potential to be great but lacking

The author seemed to have limited and dated knowledge of the military. Some will think it was a little wordy but it was a nice way to kill time on a long ride.