Strong Rain Falling by Jon Land
For Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, life is never easy. Why should chaperoning a university tour be any different? While getting the lay of the land at Brown with college hopeful and football star Dylan, the son of her lover Cort Wesley Masters, Caitlin finds herself dodging bullets - and shooting a few of her own. Meanwhile, back in Texas, Cort Wesley comes up against an armed brigade of his own with his youngest son, Luke, in tow. While Caitlin and Cort Wesley are no strangers to a shootout - she a fifth-generation Ranger, he a former outlaw - they're both surprised to discover that they themselves were not the target of the dual assassination attempts. Coinciding with these deadly happenings, five children have been found murdered in a small, abandoned Texas town that was ravished by death a century before. As Caitlin embroils herself in the mystery of these deaths she’ll unravel a hidden history involving her Ranger ancestors, coming face-to-face with a female terrorist descended from the very founders of the Mexican drug trade; a woman whose path toward vengeance won’t be diverted until she takes America to its knees.
The fifth in Jon Land's series following the tenacious Caitlin Strong, Strong Rain Falling delivers a fast-paced contemporary thriller woven between threads of history in the West. Carrying all the hallmarks of its genre, the novel embarks on a refreshingly original storyline bolstered by its cast of richly imagined characters. A fierce study in female independence, Strong is unquestionably one of the most unique heroines of the mystery genre today and her fearless pursuit of justice – on her own terms – seems to leave the reader with no shortage of surprises. She never seems to succumb to the weight of the struggles her job entails, and while her gumption is undeniably a gift handed down by her Ranger ancestors, Caitlin is supported by a cast as unique and determined as she is. From reformed killer Guillermo Paz to the unpredictable Cort Wesley Masters, Caitlin's unconventional allies are vibrantly entertaining as they endeavor down their separate paths to unravel the mystery and stop a killer made mad with vengeance.
One of my favorite elements of Strong Rain Falling was how Caitlin's current mission tied mysteriously into a story hidden in history, when her grandfather and great-grandfather lead a brigade of selfless Rangers right into a war with the founders of Mexico's drug trade. Seeing the two worlds intertwine was fascinating, it kept me on my toes as I tried to connect the dots, and Land's depiction of the West in 1919 was a delight to read, rich with well-researched detail. The author also handles some difficult subject matter with a grace and respectfulness that keeps the story from becoming too heavy. With a compelling storyline and one spectacularly nail-biting finale, Land achieves a great success with this new novel. Full of heart and grit, Strong Rain Falling is a smart, electric thriller lead by an unforgettable heroine.