Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review: Texas Rangers in Terrific Techno-Thriller!

Strong Enough To Die
By Jon Land
Forge Books
ISBN: 9780765312587
351 Pages

A “western” flavor with great historical information and action from the Texas Rangers is merged within an exciting techno thriller, in Jon Land’s Strong Enough To Die. In my opinion, it’s a must-read out this month!

Caitlin Strong, a fifth-generation Ranger, has had one too many close calls--the last one resulting in the death of a dear friend and partner. Leaving the Rangers, she goes back to school to get her degree for counseling and gets a job at the Survivor Center for Victims of Torture. Although the director is unsure about her working with victims, when Caitlin is brought in to see one of her potential patients, and recognizes him, she is pulled into an experience to be faced like no other she has ever known and assures the director that she will work hard to handle the job in order to be able to care for the man.

As she begins her new job, she learns that Cort Wesley Masters, the man who had been the leader at the ambush where her partner was killed, has been released due to a new test for the DNA that had proved him not guilty, and he was coming after her for revenge. They meet when he finds out where she is working and goes to the Survivor Center, only to find that the facility is under attack and Caitlin is the only staff member left alive and she is fighting to save her patient. In a split-second decision, Cort forgets his original plan and works along with Caitlin to eliminate the attackers!

Reclaiming her Ranger’s badge is one part of Caitlin’s first acts after this massacre. As Caitlin discovers that Cort was set up and wants to find out who falsely accused him, she also learns that, by protecting her patient, who others are trying to kidnap, she, Cort, and his two children, are now all under attack. Cort and Caitlin are forced into an uneasy alliance as they discover more and more about everything happening.

Caitlin and Cort are terrific characters and I hope they will be in future books; however, one minor character, Guillermo Paz, stole a lead role for me—a mercenary/hit man, Paz visits various churches and confesses his actions to the dismay of local priests. His latest job has brought him from South America by the “head man” and is told to get rid of all witnesses. However, when he finds Caitlin, protecting the sons of Cort Wesley, he leaves without killing them—and later revisits a local church. Paz has found his role in life!

Strong Enough To Die by Jon Land is refreshingly different as the role of Texas Rangers is blended with hi-tech murder. One of the best I’ve read!

G. A. Bixler

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