Strong to the Bone

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Caitlin Strong’s newest adventure finds her battling neo-Nazis in Strong to the Bone by Jon Land, a thrilling action ride that blurs the line between past and present.

In 1944 Texas, Texas Ranger Jim Strong investigates a horrific crime at a POW camp. One of the POWs murdered three inmates before fleeing, leaving the case seemingly unsolved. Flash forward to present day, and Jim’s granddaughter Caitlin Strong—a fifth-generation Ranger—finds herself drawn into the escaped-POW case in an unusual way. A current case of sexual assault mirrors her own unsolved assault in college. Caitlin relentlessly pursues the perpetrator but discovers a twisting web of lies and misdirection. Along with somewhat reformed outlaw lover Cort Wesley, Caitlin squares off against a shadowy alliance lead by the ruthless Armand Fisker.

The pacing and plot truly shine. Twin narratives jump between Caitlin’s current-day exploits and her grandfather’s historical adventures. Whenever one narrative reaches a natural plateau or quiet moment, the narrative skillfully jumps to the other. The relatively short chapters slowly connect and weave together a mystery. Without spoiling anything, these tightly weaved narratives explode into duel climaxes in a satisfying way.

Characterization hogs just as much of the spotlight. Even new readers will appreciate the distinct personalities, ranging from the assassin turned bodyguard, the heroic Rangers, the rakish outlaws, and even some subtly supernaturally-gifted allies. As the titular character, of course, Caitlin benefits the most from a solid foundational backstory and realistic dialogue. However, most of the large cast of secondary and background characters share this attention to detail.

A few of the narrative twists can strain incredulity. However, the story doesn’t rely on these shocking revelations that much. At the end of the day, Caitlin and allies stop bad guys no matter what. The motives are only necessary to confirm their maliciousness before Texas justice kicks in.

Strong to the Bone is the ninth book in the Caitlin Strong series. However, it is incredibly accessible to new readers and long-time fans alike. Everything new readers need to know is doled out at appropriate moments without hampering the overall flow of the story. While some of the more intricacies and backstories are omitted, nothing suffers. Obviously, it would be better to have read the previous books, but feel free to jump on in.

Fantastically written with larger-than-life characters and explosive action, Strong to the Bone by Jon Land is a stellar addition to the Caitlin Strong series and just a hell of a read. Fans of the Jack Reacher series should definitely jump in on this one, too.

Reviewed By:

Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 368 pages
Publisher Forge Books
Publish Date 2017-Dec-05
ISBN 9780765384640 Buy this Book
Issue November 2017
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller


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