I originally wrote this for Breach-Bang-Clear a while back, but it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle, so here it is. Line in the Valley is hard to categorize. It’s a crime novel, a war novel, and a psychological study of men under the highest possible stress in combat, all at the same time. It’s set against a backdrop of an invasion of South Texas, but that really only sets the background against which the events take place. The story starts off with a bang, as advance elements made up of local gang-bangers eliminate all the cops in the target border towns. It then follows the initial response, which goes very badly, before we get into the nitty gritty of the counterattack, which is where the meat of the story happens.
Imagine Die Hard, if John McClane had been a retired Special Operations soldier instead of an off-duty cop. That’s pretty much the scenario that Steven Hildreth presents in The Sovereigns, albeit with a bit more going on behind the scenes. It is an alternate 2005. An anarchist/sovereign citizen terrorist group calling itself The Liberty Brigade, made up of a few true believers and a few more violent sociopaths who find the idea of revolution fits right in with their particular idea of fun, has seized the Saguaro Towers, a Carlton Hotel, in Tucson. They have struck fast and hard. Security is dead, the hotel’s guests are held hostage, and they have the situation under control. Their demands hit all the high points of the isolationist and conspiracy theorist narrative. They are also calculated so that the government can never agree to them.