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  1. #1
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Nov 2017
    Somewhere in the middle of Ohio

    The Red Effect, by Harvey Black

    I'm on staycation this week, and I read a book faster than I've ever read one before.

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    The Red Effect: The Day the Cold War Turned Hot, by Harvey Black. This is a fictional account of an imagined buildup to WWIII in 1984. And this author clearly knows what he's talking about. Mr. Black served in British Army Intelligence for more than a decade. Many readers would be turned off by his constant use of military jargon, but I would imagine most wargamers wouldn't mind. Since I've been wargaming (mostly Cold War and modern) for eight years, I kept up fairly well.

    I didn't know anything about this book. I just dove in. I was surprised that the first shots weren't fired until page 226 (out of 253). It's a very slow book. Mr. Harvey wants his readers to understand all the details of how this could've happened. And I quite enjoyed it. By the way, those first shots didn't hit their targets until page 235, nine pages after they were fired! That's how crazy detailed this book is. The remainder of the book shows the very first effects of the war and how the characters are feeling about it now that it's finally started. This book is followed by two sequels (The Black Effect and The Blue Effect), so have no fear that the war will actually be shown. I haven't read those yet, obviously.

    Another thing many readers may not like is that there is no main character. This is the opposite of a character-driven novel. But it's not just a series of short stories, either. There are recurring characters, though their appearances are few and far between. There is a pair of characters that show up early in the book, and they see far more action than any others. Needless to say, they were my favorites. I might read the second book just to see what happens to them. Other characters include people at the top levels of government, as well as troops on the front lines and spies penetrating well into enemy territory. My kind of yarn!

    The last thing I want to mention is that 90% of the characters are Russian or British. Which I found funny, considering the role of the U.S. in this story, and the fact that nearly all of it takes place in Germany. Even funnier is that the Russians, who make up half the characters, talk just like Brits. I have to wonder if Mr. Black included so few American characters because he doesn't know how Americans talk!
    Last edited by josta59; 04-12-2020 at 02:39 PM.

  2. #2
    Looks like a East German T55 on the cover, the boxes welded to the side of turret are a giveaway. I also enjoy books with no main characters, lets you know better how the other side is thinking and the steps being taken.

    I have read, and enjoyed slow starting books before and enjoyed them, Scorpion East comes to mind but I have to be in a certain mind set for that. I do prefer 1 chapter to get me up to speed then let the action begin. Nothing better then a good book though.

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