Saturday, August 10, 2013

Strong Rain Falling

Strong Rain Falling by Jon Land
Forge Books, 8/13/2013
368 pages
ISBN-13: 9780765331502
Caitlin Strong Series #5

 Mexico, 1919:  The birth of the Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the U.S. border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement in general and the Texas Rangers in particular.
The Present:  Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover Cort Wesley Masters both survive terrifying gun battles.  But this time, it turns out, the actual targets were not them, but Masters’ teenage sons.
That sets Caitlin and Cort Wesley off on a trail winding through the past and present with nothing less than the future of the United States hanging in the balance.  Along the way they will confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the Mexican Revolution and the dogged battle Caitlin’s own grandfather and great-grandfather fought against the first generation of Mexican drug dealers.
At the heart of the storm soon to sweep away America as we know it, lies a mastermind whose abundant power is equaled only by her thirst for vengeance.  Ana Callas Guajardo, the last surviving member of the family that founded the Mexican drug trade, has dedicated all of her vast resources to a plot aimed at the U.S.’s technological heart.
This time out, sabotage proves to be as deadly a weapon as bombs in a battle Caitlin must win in cyberspace as well.  Her only chance to prevail is to short-circuit a complex plan based as much on microchips as bullets.  Because there’s a strong rain coming and only Caitlin and Cort Wesley can stop the fall before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

Strong Rain Falling by Jon Land is the fifth book in the action/adventure series featuring female Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. Normally Caitlin or her good friend Cort Wesley Masters are the intended target when/if the shooting starts, but much to their surprise and horror this time Master's two teenage sons, Dylan and Luke, are unmistakably the planned victims. Caitlin must figure out why the boys are being targeted and how it ties into two different massacres that happened on the same day but decades apart. It seems Caitlin's famous Texas Ranger grandfather and great-grandfather hold a key to her present day case from one they worked on in 1919. 

 The murderous plot leads back to the Mexican drug cartels of 1919. Unknown to Caitlin a complex plan for vengeance has been set into motion by the present day surviving head of her family's business, Ana Callas Guajardo. Caitlin's own massive and dangerous guardian "angel" Guillermo Paz is there to help her at every turn, while Masters is also searching his contacts to figure out why his son's specifically are being menaced. 

 Land's starts out running and quickly becomes a gallop as clues are uncovered and questions answered even as the body count rises and, it seems, nowhere is safe in this fast-paced complex thriller. 

 The characters are just as complex as the plot. It is always refreshing to see a strong female characters well written and Land has done a credible job with Caitlin and Ana. It's good to see a strong woman (or is that Strong?) as a Texas Ranger working things out on her own terms, not taking guff from anyone, and figuring out what is happening.  As for other characters, Paz's self-searching that has him "auditing" college classes to hear about philosophers and then challenging the professors was very entertaining. In comparison, the DHS officer (Smith, Jones) was comparatively slimy.

 For those of you who haven't read any of Land's previous books in the Caitlin Strong series, don't let that stop you from reading Strong Rain Falling. Let me admit right now that this is my first Jon Land book featuring Caitlin. Previously I had read several novels with his main character Blaine McCracken. While you won't be privy to all the intricacies of the back story established in previous novels, Land provides enough details to get you up-to-speed quickly. Certainly I didn't feel lost and unable to figure out how everyone was connected. 

Very Highly Recommended

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Tor/Forge Books via Netgalley for review purposes.

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