Fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong is proud of her
family’s service and honored to be part of the legendary
Texas law enforcement institution. Raised predominately by male
role models, Caitlin has a lot of rough edges, but what she lacks
in femininity and finesse, she makes up for in courage and
After a bloody firefight in the desert leaves her partner
Charlie Weeks dead, Caitlin is dead set on revenge. However,
revenge comes at a steep price. She quickly learns how torture and
violence can damage not only the victim, but the torturer as
Five years after the desert shootout, with her career as a Texas
Ranger over and her husband declared dead, Caitlin tries to rid
herself of guilt by volunteering at a survivor center for torture
victims. What she doesn’t expect to find among the damaged
patients is a “John Doe” amnesiac torture victim with a
very personal link to her past. Buried deep within his memory is
knowledge of a plot that threatens the safety and lives of
After four years in prison, DNA evidence exonerates Cort Wesley
Masters of Charlie’s murder. Elated to be released from
prison, Cort Wesley is determined to exact revenge on the person he
believes responsible for his false imprisonment --- Caitlin.
Not that Cort Wesley is a totally innocent man. From an early age
he was baptized into a life of crime, and his violent ways were
confirmed during his military service. His redeeming quality is the
love he has for his sons and his fearless dedication to protect
them at any cost. Cort Wesley also holds a key to the true identity
of the murderers of the Texas Ranger, as well as information that
could help unlock the secrets of the amnesiac patient.
After Caitlin saves Cort Wesley’s sons from an
assassination attempt, the ex-convict puts aside his revenge, and
the unlikely duo joins forces to uncover the truth and track
down the man behind the deadly plot. In their pursuit, they cross
paths with an assassin ironically named Guillermo Paz. A
complicated k iller educated by missionary priests, Paz is versed
in philosophy and ethics and regularly quotes Kierkegaard, but most
of all seeks redemption and understanding.
While sculpting a breathless adventure, Jon Land subtly nudges
the reader to ponder larger questions about human behavior and free
will: how parents, especially fathers, can shape the lives of their
children, and how some grownups, no matter how successful, seek
fatherly approval. The historical snippets, quotes and vignettes
about the Texas Rangers complement the understanding of the
legendary law enforcement organization and add to the intimate feel
of the story.
STRONG ENOUGH TO DIE is a high-stakes, high-octane thriller with
memorable characters, unusual plot twists and fast-paced action.
Another quality I look forward to in Land’s novels is how
they get me to think long after I’ve finished reading the
last page. His latest effort does that, and more.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (firstname.lastname@example.org) on January 23, 2011