A Book Spy Review: ‘Strong Cold Dead’ by Jon Land

51BmUIRrMaL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgSet in the heart of the Lone Star State, Caitlin Strong is a lone-wolf Texas Ranger who fears nothing and trusts her gut above everything else. Unfortunately for Caitlin, though, her way of doing business has worn thin on her superior officer, Captain Tepper, and others. 

More than ever before, Caitlin is receiving pushback for actions and tactics. At one point she’s even  assigned to a desk in an effort to keep her out of trouble until things cool down. To say that doesn’t go over well would be a massive understatement, as Caitlin essentially disobeys the order with little regard and no regrets. 

Caitlin comes from a long family line of Texas Rangers, and she’s great at her job. Her instincts are her strong suit, as they rarely ever steer her wrong. That proves true once again when she notices that something seems off at a local Native American reservation.

Further digging uncovers a sinister plot that goes all the way back to the days when one of Caitlin’s great-great-grandpas was a Ranger, bringing a new dynamic to the overall mystique of the story.  

Jon Land shines the brightest when the story switches back and forth between 1874 and the present day. By really setting the scene and altering his writing style to reflect a time period more than a hundred years in the past, Land transports the readers back and forth as he masterfully reveals more of the plot, pulling the curtain back a little further each time. 

Caitlin Strong is a fantastic character. Instantly one of the most attractive women in any room that she walks into, she’s comfortable letting her hair down and glamming it up whenever necessary. She’s also just as comfortable pulling her hair back and getting down into the mud with the men where she’s more than capable of handling herself, even against much bigger opponents. 

As it turns out, something powerful lies buried beneath the surface of the reservation. Something that, if used by the right people with good intentions, could be a game-changer in the medical world. However, should people with less-than-good intentions get their hands on the material, it could be weaponized to do incomprehensible damage on the grandest of scales. 

With the clock ticking down, Caitlin finds herself in the middle of two sides racing to secure the material. But when she finds out that the Islamic State is involved, things get taken to another level. They must be stopped at all costs, obviously, but doing so is no easy task. 

While the terror group, known for their brutality, has a plan, they never accounted for a down-home country girl standing in their way, guns-a-blazing.

Big mistake! 

Caitlin Strong is at her very best here, as is Jon Land. Strong Cold Dead is a gripping thriller with a unique, original plot that sizzles from beginning to end. 

My Thoughts

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and, staying true to form, the stakes have never been higher for Caitlin. 

I really enjoyed the scenes set in the 1800s. If Jon Land ever wrote a book set completely in that time period, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. That historical aspect added another layer to the story and provided a welcome switch in narratives at just the right times. 

Land is one of the most underrated thriller authors writing today, as he routinely puts out solid page-turners year after year. This series, without question, is his strongest work (pun intended) so far. His Blaine McCracken series is good too, but there’s just something unique about Caitlin.

In a genre dominated by tough-guy protagonists, Caitlin Strong breaks the mold in a bold and captivating way. I love how Land has balanced her character. She’s feminine, yet strong, independent, and a little in-your-face. Kind of like if star UFC fighter Ronda Rousey joined the Texas Rangers–part of you wants to ask her out, yet part of you is kind of scared she might punch you in the face. 

Other than the book starting out a little slow, which is necessary to build the story, Strong Cold Dead is nonstop fun, action, and sass. 

Book Details

Author: Jon Land

Pages: 346 (Hardcover)

Publisher: Forge 

Release Date: October 4, 2016 (Order now!)

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