Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong returns in Jon Land's Strong Cold Dead, a thriller with heart-stopping action and a high-stakes terrorist plot
The terrorist organization ISIS is after a deadly toxin that could be the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. The same toxin holds the potential to eradicate cancer. There is a frantic race to see who can get to it first, even as Caitlin Strong begins to assemble the disparate pieces of a deadly puzzle.
At the center of that puzzle is an Indian reservation where a vengeful tycoon is mining the toxin, disguising his effort as an oil-drilling operation. This is the same reservation where Caitlin’s great-great-grandfather, also a Texas Ranger, once waged a similar battle against the forces of John D. Rockefeller.
In her highest-stakes adventure yet, Caitlin Strong faces off against a host of adversaries that just might include the beautiful Comanche girl with whom the son of her ex-outlaw boyfriend Cort Wesley Masters has fallen in love, along with a mythic monster culled from Native American folklore that the tribe believes has risen to protect its land. The lives of those Caitlin loves most are threatened by the villains she’s pursuing; her own moral code is challenged. The fate of both the country and the state she loves is dangling on the precipice of a strong cold death.
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As shown by Land's complex eighth Caitlin Strong novel (after 2015's Strong Light of Day), the fifth-generation Texas Ranger has the cowboy cool and the gunfighter bravado of a Louis L'Amour hero, just like her legendary great-great-grandfather, Steeldust Jack Strong. In a flashback to 1874, Steeldust Jack inspects the mangled body of a fancily dressed gunman near a Comanche reservation outside Austin. Steeldust Jack's saga provides counterpoint to the case that Caitlin is working on in the present day, which involves terrorists (both homegrown and foreign), Canadian Mounties, boarding school bullies, Comanches, Bingo-playing old folks, an American president, ghosts, giant bats, and much else in this rich tapestry. Land skillfully pulls all the disparate strands together and delivers a rootin' tootin' grand finale. Whether kicking bad guy butt or giving a commencement address, Caitlin gets the job done efficiently and with great aplomb.