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Strong Cold Dead (Caitlin Strong) by Jon Land
Cover Artist: Photos by Trevillion Images and Arcangel Imgaes; Design by Peter Lutjen
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Forge Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765335135
Date: 04 October 2016 List Price $26.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

An angry genius, Daniel Cross, seeks vengeance against those who tormented him during his youth. On a Comanche Indian reservation in the Balcones Canyonlands of Texas, he's discovered a chemical that can be used to kill millions. Two wealthy, but demented, mineral magnates, Sam Bob Jackson and Cray Rawls, will resort to any diabolical act to extract this same chemical for a different reason: It can greatly extend one's lifespan.

Meanwhile, Cross has been recruited by ISIS. Many evil men descend upon the Indian reservation which has a macabre history; the reservation creates monsters that slaughter anyone who threaten it. Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her friends must rally together to protect Texas from an environmental disaster.

Jon Land has written another thriller that has been ripped from today's headlines. Strong Cold Dead centers around ISIS using social media to locate and target angry, vindictive youths who can be used in their plans to destroy America. One such youth is a chemistry genius, Daniel Cross. Caitlin first met him ten years ago when he was trying to blow up his high school.

Other deviants in this novel include Cray Rawls who likes to illegally dump chemical waste and beat prostitutes nearly to death. Suspicious deaths and disappearances occur whenever the obese Sam Bob Jackson tries to secure mineral rights to someone's property. Another evil character, and the worst of all, is ISIS commander Hatim Abd al-Aziz; he terrorizes entire villages in Iraq.

Strong Cold Dead, like all the previous Caitlin Strong novels, has an extremely complex plot. Readers will definitely not get bored with this one. The plot switches from 1874 to the present and involves the same Comanche Indian reservation at the Balcones Canyonlands. History is repeating itself. Readers are introduced to Caitlin Strong's great-great-grandfather, Texas Ranger Steeldust Jack Strong. He's investigating the death of a man who was shredded by some type of monster outside the Indian reservation. Jack also encounters the slimy, shifty John D. Rockefeller, owner of Standard Oil, who is illegally attempting to gain the rights for drilling oil beneath sacred Indian lands. More men die--slaughtered by monsters.

The present mirrors the past as Caitlin discovers shredded corpses and battles construction workers trying to gain access to the Indian reservation. Dozens die as Daniel Cross demonstrates his powers to ISIS. Thousands more will die beneath the streets of Houston if Caitlin and her boyfriend, Cort Wesley, can't stop the ISIS soldiers. The origins of the chemical and of the monsters at the reservation are bizarre mysteries.

Cort Wesley's eldest son, Dylan Torres, finds himself in danger as he attempts to aid and defend his beautiful girlfriend, Ela Nocona, a native of the reservation. Caitlin's protector, a Mexican giant name Guillermo Paz, returns to San Antonio. This time he is working as Jones's private assassin for Homeland Security, which is shooting first and asking questions later.

Jon Land's Strong Cold Dead is aptly named. Many cold-dead bodies pile up in this Texas thriller. From beginning to end, readers should expect a lot of bloodshed. And there are more villains than you can shake a stick at. In this installment, I think the bad guys outnumber the good guys. This is fine with me. The Strong family will definitely even the odds.

I truly enjoyed the macabre element in this one. In 1874 and the present, there are bodies that appear to have been shredded by inhuman creatures or monsters. I also enjoy how Land expertly interweaves history and historical characters into his stories.

Caitlin Strong is an exceptional personality and I greatly admire her courage and dedication. Her series keeps getting stronger and stronger as it progresses. I can't wait for the next installment, which is tentatively titled, Strong to the Bone. Caitlin Strong certainly is strong to the bone.

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