Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Strong Rain Falling: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land

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Strong Rain Falling: A Caitlin Strong Novel

Strong Rain Falling: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land
ISBN-10: 0765331500  $25.99
Publisher: Forge Books (August 13, 2013), 368 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the author.

I've been following Jon Land's Caitlin Strong character from Strong Enough to Die, the first book in the series.  This latest and 5th in the series, Strong Rain Falling, is one of my favorites.  If you're new to the series, you can read Strong Enough to Die without having read the earlier novels because Land gives us the backstory of the main characters.  Having said that, I'd still recommend reading the novels in order if only because you get a fuller sense of who they are and what drives them.

For those new to the series, the lead character, Caitlin Strong is a third generation Texas Ranger and one of the only women in her group.  Whether her toughness is genetic or environmental, we'll never really know but there is no question that Caitlin Strong has that edge that makes the best Texas Rangers and has caused them to be feared and respected throughout Texas and much of the Southwest and Mexico.

First, she's tough.  Like Lee Child's Jack Reacher and Carol O'Connell's Detective Mallory, Caitlin Strong doesn't react to danger the way normal people do.  She's trained to rush into the fray, but she does it with lightning reflexes, almost unnatural strength and grace, and with quick intelligence.  Like her father and grandfather before her, she's the sort of person that you want on your side.  "One riot, one Ranger" is the often repeated saying but fortunately with Caitlin Strong on your side, it's not just a saying.

Caitlin's love interest is the prickly Cort Wesley Masters, a man known to be as dangerous and deadly as Caitlin.  Cort's life took the opposite direction as he was less fortunate - crime, deadly confrontations, limited options - he'd ended up protecting some of the most notorious criminals in the US and below the border.  But Cort mellowed out, turned respectable with his love for Caitlin and the discovery of two young sons.  More than anything, fatherhood sobered him up and forced Cort to change his way of life.  The scenes where Cort has to pull back and restrain himself are some of the more interesting and fun in the book.

In Strong Rain Falling, Caitlin takes Cort's elder son, Dylan, to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island to interview for college when they are attacked by armed men.  Cort and his younger son, Luke, face similar deadly force in an amusement park in another state.  As Caitlin investigates it turns out that the boys are the main targets because of a secret that their mother's family has kept.

These attacks coincide with the brutal mass murder of five children in Willow Creek, Texas.  We discover that these events are tied together somehow.  I don't want to give away any of the plot details, so I'll stop here.   A historical backstory, further adventures of the early Texas Rangers, a seemingly unbeatable opponent, horrendous odds, a complex and fast-paced plot, and characters that we come to care about all come together in Strong Rain Falling.  You'll want to block off a chunk of time when you  start Strong Rain Falling - you won't want to put it down!

1 comment:

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