Friday, August 21, 2020

Book Review: Strong from the Heart by Jon Land

You better get ready, because Caitlin Strong is back!

Strong from the Heart is Jon Land's latest addition to his Caitlin Strong series, and this time it's personal.

The opioid crisis hits home when the son of Caitlin's lover Cort Wesley Masters nearly dies of an overdose. She is also investigating how the residents of a small Texas town all died in one night.

When this fifth generation Texas Ranger realizes both instances are related, she finds herself following a trail to uncover the truth behind a crisis that claimed 75,000 lives in the last year. She doesn't yet know, however, that the same forces have taken over the opiate trade and have even more nefarious goals in mind.

Pitted against a cabal nestled within the highest corridors of power that’s determined to destroy all threats posed to them, Caitlin's latest adventure draws the current crisis, the deaths in a small Texas town, and an amazing story from Texas in the late 1800's into one powerful and exciting conclusion.

I've been reading Land's Caitlin Strong novels for years. This hard-as-nails Texas Ranger gets the job done every time... but it's not usually easy. As with other novels in the series, the current story is woven alongside a story from the past. In this instance, her great-grandfather, Texas Ranger William Ray Strong, is sent to the border town of Camino Pass to transport Pancho Villa to stand trial, but his plans are waylaid when he learns all the town's children have been kidnapped.

Strong from the Heart floats between present and past, drawing the reader deeper into the story with each step. Caitlin is battling some of her own demons in this story and learning to deal with her half-sister Nola on top of everything else going on. She is so profoundly human in Strong from the Heart that you connect with Caitlin in a different way than you might have in the past. Seeing her bring down the bad guys in this one is a great reward.

My favorite series regular remains Colonel Paz. He's this strange blend of gentleness and violence, has a strong sense of reason and repentance, and is truly not a force to be reckoned with. He starts off the story in an unusual role--one which I wish would have turned out differently.

As I mentioned before and in this week's Top Ten Tuesday, the Caitlin Strong series is overdue to be brought to series TV. I hope you're listening, Netflix.

Land's masterful storytelling never ceases to amaze me. As long as he keeps writing Caitlin Strong novels, I will keep reading. Simply put, this is one of the best thrillers you'll ever read.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller

Published by: Forge Books

Publication Date: July 28, 2020

Number of Pages: 368

ISBN: 0765384701 (ISBN13: 9780765384706)

Series: A Caitlin Strong Novel, #11

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



San Antonio, Texas

Caitlin Strong pushed her way through the gaggle of reporters and bystanders clustered before the barricade set up just inside the lobby of the Canyon Ridge Elementary School building.

“Look,” she heard somebody say, “the Texas Rangers are here!”

She’d focused her attention on the six men wearing black camo pants and windbreakers labeled I-C-E in big letters on the back, glaring at her from the entrance to the school to which they’d clearly been prevented from entering. She pictured several more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stationed at additional exits in case their quarries tried to make a run for it.

“We didn’t call the Rangers,” snarled a bald man, the name tag he was required to wear reading ORLEANS.

“No, sir,” Caitlin told him, “that would’ve been the school principal. She told Dispatch you’d come here to collect some of her students.”

She let her gaze drift to a windowless black truck that looked like a reconfigured SWAT transport vehicle.

“Just following orders, Ranger. Doing our job just like you.”

“My job is to keep the peace, sir.”

“Ours too, so I’m going to assume you’re going to assist our efforts, given that we’re on the same side here.”

“What side would that be?”

Orleans snarled again, seeming to pump air into a head Caitlin figure might’ve been confused for a basketball. “United States government, ma’am.”

“I work for Texas, sir, and the principal told me all the kids you came for were born on Lone Star soil.”

“That’s for a court to decide.”

“Maybe. And, you’re right, the both of us are here because we’ve got a job to do and I respect that, sir, I truly do. My problem is it’s never right in my mind for adults to involve children in somebody else’s mess.”

Jon Land
Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of fifty-two books, including eleven featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. The critically acclaimed series has won more than a dozen awards, including the 2019 International Book Award for Best Thriller for Strong as Steel. He also writes the CAPITAL CRIMES series and received the 2019 Rhode Island Authors Legacy Award for his lifetime of literary achievements. A graduate of Brown University, Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island., Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

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


CMash said...

I agree. This would make an excellent TV series!!

Jon Land said...

Your reviews are always just about my very favorite every time a new Caitlin Strong book comes out because they are so well thought out and inclusive. I loved your comments in this one about Nola and Paz--and agree entirely. I can't thank you enough for your continued insightful coverage and am already looking forward to your thoughts on Caitlin's next adventure. Oh, and stay tuned on your imploring NetFlix to do the CAITLIN STRONG TV series--they just might be listening!!!!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for visiting, Cheryl.

Jon, it means so much that you take time out to stop by. I am now eagerly awaiting further news on any plans with NetFlix. If you bring Jessica Fletcher back, too, you'll have a fan for life. Wait a minute... I already am. :)