Strong Light of Day by Jon Land

I think the Cold War suddenly got red hot to the touch.
— Jon Land, Strong Light of Day

In her newest adventure, fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong takes on Russian terrorists with a mission born of history and a new kind of weapon that could completely change the future of the United States. When Caitlin is called to a bayou where a bus full of local teens has gone missing and a cattle ranch where a full herd of cattle has been reduced to skeletons, she never dreams that the mysterious occurrences could possibly be linked. With help from Mexican gunslinger Guillermo Paz and her love interest Cort Wesley, whose youngest son is among the missing, Caitlin works to make sense of the scenarios, uncovering a plot linked back to Afghanistan in 2003 and the ghost of a villain who challenged the Texas Rangers, namely her father, in the ‘80s.

Strong Light of Day, the seventh book in Jon Land’s series, boasts explosive action, heart-pounding drama, and a mystery steeped in history that will keep readers guessing until the final pages. Land has many strengths, not least among them his way of bringing one of the genre's grittiest and most human female protagonists to life on the page. Readers can always expect Caitlin Strong to go where others won't, with a will to match her name and an intuition befitting a fifth-generation successor to the Texas Ranger mantle. Land hits all the right notes as he brings Caitlin to life; she's fearless yet not unfeeling, powerful but relatable and imperfect. Whether her mind is working to put the puzzle pieces together or her heart is hammering in the middle of a gunfight, Caitlin pulls the audience into her experience as only she can do.

Another element that readers can always look forward to in a Jon Land novel is a superbly detailed mystery that winds its way back through history, and this, in the Caitlin Strong series, means plenty of flashbacks to the historic men of Caitlin's family tree. In Strong Light of Day the story takes readers back to the 1980s where Caitlin's father Jim Strong teams up with none other than outlaw Boone Masters, the father of Caitlin's boyfriend Cort Wesley. As Caitlin and Cort Wesley learn about the time their fathers joined forces, Cort Wesley wrestles with his own role as a father as the disappearance of his son Luke leads him to uncover a secret that will test his love.

When the smoke of gunfire clears, family plays a recurring role in the Caitlin's stories, from her Texas Ranger lineage to the new and unconventional family she forms with Cort Westley and his boys, and even in a sense of her relationship to Guillermo Paz, the reformed killer whose change of heart has left him with the personal life mission of protecting Caitlin from the shadows. Easily one of the most colorful characters to be found in the genre, Paz operates in extremes: one moment he may be speaking philosophically with a priest or visiting a psychic, and the next he bounds into a violet action scene while double-fisting assault rifles. In a way, to describe Paz is to describe the series as a whole: ever unpredictable, and always entertaining.

Land excels again in Strong Light of Day with his penchant for action-packed mystery and in-depth drama; the dialogue between characters maintains a true grit and Southern-born honesty that only adds layers to an already atmospheric thriller. Caitlin Strong is back in all her glory, proving her worth as an honest and bare-knuckled fighter for justice against the greatest of foes.

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MysteryCasee MarieJon Land