Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway: Strong As Steel by Jon Land

Caitlin Strong is back with another suspenseful adventure that brings to light secrets from a long ago case that ties into the massacre that claimed the lives of all the workers at a private intelligence company while she is helping to serve a search warrant.

In 1994, Texas Ranger Jim Strong investigated the murder of three men on a freight train where the cargo mysteriously disappeared and for which no record exists.

In present day, Texas, Caitlin finds herself serving a search warrant at a private intelligence company that ends up with everyone else dead. She and lover Cort Wesley are now drawn into this bloody tide that has been rising for centuries.

Things aren't going to well for their pal Guillermo Paz either. He has returned to Venezuela for his mother's funeral and ends up in a spot of trouble.

How will Jon Land tie this all together? You'll have to read Strong As Steel to find out.

Oh, how I have missed this series! Every time I think Land has outdone himself, he amazes me once again. While I haven't read the previous few installments--though now I really want to go back and catch up--Strong As Steel reminded me what a creative and talented author Land is.

It's hard not to like Caitlin Strong. She is a fifth generation Texas Ranger--no pressure there--and, true to her name, she proves she has earned her reputation. Filled with recurring characters and newbies, Strong As Steel ties numerous events together into a phenomenal, action-packed story that readers of this genre will enjoy. Another reviewer has said this, but I must concur the Caitlin Strong series is ripe to be turned into a TV series. Maybe Chuck Norris can have a cameo.

One of my favorite aspects of the series is the variety of quotes and article excerpts from real life Texas Rangers featured throughout the different parts of the stories.  I look forward to reading those as much as the story itself.

If you want action; if you want adventure; and if you want a female character that is strong despite her flaws, then pick up Strong As Steel and be impressed.

Series: Caitlin Strong Novels (Book 10)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Forge Books (April 23, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765384671
ISBN-13: 978-0765384676

I received an ARC of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Dallas, Texas

“You want to tell me what I’m doing here again?” Caitlin Strong said to Captain Bub McNelly of the Texas Criminal Investigations Division.

McNelly, who favored string ties and shiny cowboy boots, turned to the quartet of figures in equally shiny windbreakers milling behind him in the makeshift staging area, who looked more like businessmen. Caitlin had heard he was a descendant of the famed Texas Ranger captain Leander McNeely, a man who’d once told the whole of the U.S. government to go to hell, but wasn’t too keen on the freedom with which Rangers still operated today.

“Special Response Teams hang their hat on being multi-jurisdictional,” McNelly told her.

“Consider yourself the representative Ranger.”

“Since when does an SRT look more comfortable holding briefcases than firearms?”

“I need to tell you that computers are the real weapons these days?” McNelly asked her. “And those boys accompanying us are forensic experts who know how to fire back.”

“Just two guns, yours and mine, backing them up,” Caitlin noted.

“I don’t need a computer to do the math, Ranger,” McNelly said, while the four techs wearing windbreakers hovered behind them in front of the elevator. “You and I serve the warrant on the geek squad upstairs and let the experts do their thing with brains instead of bullets. How hard can it be?”

They were about to serve a search warrant on an information technology firm on the 42nd floor of the Chase Tower, the city’s tallest building. Caitlin had served plenty of more “traditional” search warrants in her time on the likes of biker gangs, drug dealers, and various other suspects. The kind of service that found her backed up by guns and plenty of them, instead of briefcases and backpacks.

A chime sounded ahead of the elevator door sliding open.

“In my experience,” Caitlin said, stepping in first to position herself so the door didn’t close again before the SRT computer forensics techs were inside, “it pays to have brains and bullets.”
McNelly smiled thinly. “That’s why you’re here, Ranger. You were specifically requested for the job.”

“By who?”

“I don’t know. Orders came from the top down.

The cab began its ascent. If this were a Ranger operation, as opposed to CID, Caitlin would have insisted on securing the space in question prior to bringing up the civilians. Because that was clearly what these personnel in ill-fitting windbreakers pulled from a rack were. Civilians.

“Get your warrant ready, Captain,” she told McNelly, as the cab whisked past the floors between “L” and “42.”

He flapped the tri-folded document I the air between them. “Got it right here.”

“What’s CTP stand for again?” Caitlin asked, referring to the acronym of the company on which they were about to serve the warrant.

“Communications Technology Providers. I thought I told you that.”

“Maybe you did, but you never told me what the company did to get on the Criminal Investigation Division’s radar. I’m guessing that’s because somebody ordered you to take me along for the ride. All well and good in this political world we live in, until something goes bad.”

McNelly flashed Caitlin a smirk, as a chime sounded to indicate the elevator had reached its desired floor. “I can tell you this much, Ranger. The suspects we’re after here don’t know a gun from their own assholes. Worst thing they can do is infect us with a computer virus.”

He led the way through the open cab door, without waiting for Caitlin to respond. She exited next, followed in a tight bunch by those four computer techs in their windbreakers which made it look like they’d stuck their arms through Hefty bags.

The doors along the hall were uniformly glass, sleek and modern, some frosted. According to the building layout Caitlin had studied, Communications Technology Providers occupied a pair of adjoining office suites adding up to nearly five thousand square feet in total. One was a corner office, meaning at least a portion of those suites would enjoy wraparound windows and plenty of natural light.

Caitlin had just reflexively shoved her jacket back behind the holster housing her SIG Sauer P-226 nine-millimeter pistol, when the glass double-door entrance to Communications Technology Providers ruptured behind a fusillade of gunfire.


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CMash said...

I feel the same way. I love this series!

Jon Land said...

What a wonderfully thoughtful and beautifully written review that hits on all the main points of the book! I can't thank you enough and there's no better feeling for a writer to have their work evaluated based on all the points and nuances you highlighted. I'm proud to count you as a reader and a fan, and can't thank you enough for your support. Jon

Cheryl said...

Thanks for visiting, Cheryl. It's definitely a great series.

Jon, I appreciate you stopping by. I am so glad you liked the review. As long as you keep writing, I will keep reading. I'm hoping to check out your Murder, She Wrote books next. I was a huge fan of the show and I'm sure your books will be fabulous. Thanks again.