Category Archives: Jon Land
This is an ARC sent to me several months ago by Jon Land (who you all should know by now is the reason I am TracyReaderDad). Life sometimes gets complex, and the reason it took me sooo long to finish this book is because it is complex. I had to get rid of one complex to finish this…whew. :-)
I read this book on my Nook Simple Touch.
This is the third in the Caitlin Strong, Texas Ranger series. I love Caitlin, but, my only concern is that it may be time for Caitlin to grow up a bit and stop being so impulsive. She has a “family” now, and the Strong legacy (at least from my understanding) is one of contemplative thought then action, not the other way around.
Other than that, “Strong Vengeance” is a rousing, complex, story spanning about one hundred and eighty years. Included are: Thirty year old unsolved murders, a missing treasure, stolen radioactive waste, terrorism, deceit, and death.
Jon Land takes multiple disparate stories and weaves them together for an exciting tension filled ending worthy of…..hmmmm, Caitlin Strong.
Here are the main stories:
1. A man, in 1820, is carrying a treasure on his person on a boat off the coast of Texas, when the boat is boarded by pirates. These pirates happen to be Jean LaFitte, and Jim Bowie. The treasure was never found.
2. (30 years ago) Jim Strong, Earl Strong, and D.W. Tepper investigate (without success) the murders of 5 college age men on Galveston Island, Texas. Word has it they were searching for LaFitte’s treasure.
3. (The Present) All the crew of an off shore drilling rig are found dead.
4. The Rangers find that barrels from a local garbage processing facility that had been under the drilling rig, are now missing.
5. Terrorists are planning a major attack on U.S. soil.
To find out how all these five subplots (and a few others, including a creepy pedophile) come together at the end, you will just have to buy the book (or e-book) when it comes out. :-)
Needless to say, Caitlin, Cort Wesley, D.W. Tepper, and, the angel of death, Colonel Paz make an awesome crime fighting team.
Rating: 4 WaterTowers
This is more than an ARC. Jon sent me an email and asked if I wanted a PDF version of his upcoming book (June 21, 2011) now…..or wait for a paper version. Since I have the Nook, I figured it was time to give the PDF a try (and besides, I wanted to read the latest Caitlin Strong book asap). It worked! For those who don’t know, I owe EVERYTHING I am doing now as a book reviewer to Jon Land. I am sooo lucky to have met him (virtually only) and many other great authors (including the few special friends I have made…you know who you are).
“Strong at the Break” is the next in the Caitlin Strong, Texas Ranger series. I have been lucky enough to read the series from the beginning, and am already looking forward to the next book…come’on Jon…..get crackin! :-)
Catlin Strong is the latest in a long line of Strong Texas Rangers. Her grandfather, Earl, was a legend. Her father, Jim, was a feared lawman, and Caitlin is, well, a “gunfighter”.
When Caitlin was a young girl of about 13, Jim had a tip that a particularly bad fellow (Church of the Redeemer founder, Maxwell Arno)and his son, Malcolm, were at the Bait and Tackle store. Jim went there, with Caitlin, to arrest Maxwell. Only problem was….Maxwell did not want to be arrested…..so he died in his sons arms. This set into motion the events of “Strong at the Break” many years later.
Caitlin is on a drug stakeout in Canada (as part of a drug task force). The stakeout goes sour as the Hells Angels arrive and start taking out (ie killing) the occupants of the house. Caitlin cannot stand by and watch, so the fighting begins. At the end, the Canadian Mountie working with Caitlin is wounded and several Hells Angels are dead (2/3′rds of the LaChance brothers).
Caitlin heads back to Texas amid a firestorm of controversy (in other words she kicked ass, took no prisoners, and the Canadians are in shock). Back home, she and Cort Wesley Masters are thrown into another firestorm with profound National Security implications. Interestingly, the person at the center of this problem is none other than Malcolm Arno (who has built an evil empire far surpassing his fathers) .
Ah….the wheels of fate are turning to put Caitlin and Malcolm face-to-face once again.
As “Strong at the Break” zooms forward, Caitlin, Cort Wesley, and Colonel Guillermo Paz (Angel de la Guardia from the last book) may be the only ones who can stop Arno.
Do they succeed? You will have to wait until June 21, 2011 to find out! :-)
“Strong at the Break” is a complex story. Jon Land introduces several seemingly disparate plot lines that ultimately converge at the end (I had several “Ah…I see now” moments). And just when you think you know what is going to happen, and think you know Caitlin, you are surprised.
“Strong at the Break” is a great read. Smooth and fast. The characters come alive off the page. Clearly, Jon Land knows, and is very comfortable with, Caitlin Strong, Texas Ranger…..gunfighter.
Update from Jon via Faceboook:
And don’t forget the big news that my first 13 long-out-of-print books have just been reissued as E-books by Open Road Media, including the first five in the Blaine McCracken series. You can check them out on Kindle at:
As slow as I read….I’d have to live to 230 to read all these…. :-)
Rating: 4 WaterTowers (Caitlin Strong, Texas Ranger, kicks ass)
This is an ARC sent to me by Jon Land. It is due in stores in June 2010. I will try to remain as objective as possible, but, so you know, Jon is the main reason I am getting all these cool books to review…Thank you, Jon!
In this second installment, Caitlin Strong, Texas Ranger, finds herself looking for missing women and finding a whole lot more (including her old friend and former convict / special forces soldier, Cort Wesley Masters).
Pity the poor bad guys standing in her way.
William Ray Strong and Texas Ranger legend George W. Arrington find 26 bodies rotting in the middle of the barren West Texas Plains. There is no indication how they died, or why. As time passes these deaths are attributed to an evil spirit, the Comanche’s Mishotunga.
Caitlin’s grandfather, famous Texas Ranger Earl Strong, was called in to help restore order in Sweetwater, Texas during the oil boom of 1931.
The new people who moved to Sweetwater were out of control and the local Constable Hollis Tyree (the town’s Banker before the Bank went under) could not handle the situation alone. Hollis called the Texas Rangers who in turn sent Earl.
Tough as nails, Earl quickly restored law and order with a tight fist, fast gun, and Ranger courage.
After the oil boom, Hollis became rich (black gold, Texas tea) and Earl eventually retired to tell Texas Ranger stories to his granddaughter…Caitlin.
Caitlin Strong is on the trail of missing girls when Cort Wesley’s son (Dylan) tries to help a teenage girl who happens to have escaped from her kidnapper, a bald headed, steroid pumped-up mass murder suspect named, Macerio.
Unfortunately, Macerio knows where Dylan lives and is out to get his girl back and tie up some loose strings in the process. Luckily for Dylan and his new friend, Cort and Caitlin are not to be messed with.
Macerio escapes, but, has unfortunately, for him, unleashed the wrath of the Rangers and his most formidable foe, Caitlin Strong.
Caitlin, now teamed with Cort (and being helped behind the scenes by an old foe, the “Angel de la Guardia”), find where the women are being taken; a water mining operation, in the same West Texas Plains location that the bodies were found 100 years ago, run by Hollis Tyree III. Nearby, in the town of Albion, unexplained violence has erupted from ordinary people, and far away in Mexico, someone with pure Mayan blood has hatched an evil plan to overthrow the U.S. in 2012.
The stage is set, the multiple lasers are charged and ready to be fired on the single pellet that will fuse creating an energy source hotter than the Sun…it is called “Strong Justice”.
Jon Land takes seemingly disparate events throws in some fictional history, a touch of real history, a pinch of current events (such as the real mass murder mystery of ”Las Muertas de Juarez”, see this Wikipedia article), fusing them together in a rockin’ kick-butt novel sure to please anyone who loves action, and plenty of it.
Speaking of current events, as I finished this book, there were several high profile murders in Juarez, Mexico which, for me, put an exclamation point on some of the topics discussed in “Strong Justice”.
I am definitely looking forward to the next Caitlin Strong novel. If you want to start from the beginning, I recommend reading ”Strong Enough to Die”. (See my review here.)
Oh yeah…watch for the appearance of Texas Rangers Jim Rollins and Steve Berry….VERY cool! :-)
UPDATES (March 18, 2010):
1. Jon sent me the cover photo. I believe I am the first to have this to post, even before Amazon….! WhooHoo :-)
2. I asked Jon two questions, here are the questions and his responses:
1. Is there gonna be another Caitlin Strong book?
Most definitely. I’m working on the 2nd draft of STRONG AT THE BREAK (the title is drawn from the Ernest Hemingwa quote) and it will be published in spring 2011.
2. You live in New England…do you have family, or a history, with the Texas Rangers?
None at all. I’ve loved Westerns, and the old west in general, since I was a kid. I think the Texas Rangers are the living embodiment of the spirit that created the great American frontier. I’ve always been enthralled by their mystique and mythology. And the more I learn about them, the more I realize how rich and vital their contributions to the state of Texas and country in general have been. Remember, they remain in existence to this day pretty much doing the same thing they’ve always done.
Rating: 3.5 WaterTowers
Jon Land sent me a signed Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of “Strong Enough to Die” which is due in stores in May 2009. How cool is that? Thank you to Jon!
“You believe in God, Belladonna? I asked you that before and you never answered me.”
“Strong Enough to Die” is a rip roaring adventure with an ending so exciting, brutal, surprising, and totally satisfying that when you finish you will realize you hardly took a breath the last ten pages.
“Strong Enough to Die” starts with some introductions.
- A shootout in the Texas desert between two Texas Rangers (the police, not the baseball players) and a band of Mexican outlaws. Caitlin Strong, our heroine, is one of the Rangers. And there is an American trying to kill her and her partner, on the outlaw side.
- In Bahrain, we meet a tortured, dazed man who does not know who he is and who thinks he does not exist. He has been totally defeated.
- In Washington D.C., we meet Harmon Delladonne, CEO of the all powerful MacArthur-Rain company (based in Houston, TX), discussing the failure in Bahrain to get what they wanted.
- In Houston, we meet a journalist writing an important story about “very dangerous men” when suddenly his computer erupts….and he dies.
These threads are woven neatly together as “Strong Enough to Die” evolves and more characters are introduced.
Most notably, we meet Cort Wesley Masters a killer from Texas who Caitlin sent to jail 5 years before for being that American involved in the shootout. He has just gotten out of jail, because new DNA testing proved that he was not at the scene.
Cort has made it his goal to kill Caitlin who had left the Rangers, gone back to school, and recently landed a job at a clinic caring for victims of torture.
In this clinic is the man from Bahrain who is again the target of the evil Delladonne.
One night a band of ex-military special forces, under the leadership of Delladonne’s right hand man, Clayton, invade the clinic to get to the man from Bahrain and, as a cover, killing everyone in the clinic. At the same time, Cort visits the clinic to kill Caitlin.
The special forces killers are surprised by Caitlin who kills several of them. With a change of heart, Cort spares Caitlin’s life and manages to kill a couple more of the invaders.
An odd allliance is formed.
Texas Ranger and killer partner up to find and destroy the secret that Delladonne is hiding. A secret so volatile, and pervasive, it could change the world.
Moving from Texas to Mexico to Bahrain the action pieces together the plot points culminating in the slam bang showdown at the end.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed reading “Strong Enough to Die” and now have a new author with over 25 books written to read!
I particularly enjoyed the bits of Ranger history and lore throughout the book. If you want to learn more about the Texas Rangers (the police, not the baseball team) you can visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
I heartily recommend this book when it comes out in May 2009.
I guarantee the ending will wrap you up and blow you away.