Jon Land moves back and forth from past to present with cinematic ease in all of the books from his Caitlin Strong series, which chronicle the adventures of a female Texas Ranger. In the latest installment, Strong Rain Falling, the story begins in Texas, 1919 when a young boy wanders out of the desert, near dead and sacred out of his wits. "They come at night," is all he can tell the Texas Rangers who question him. So begins a complex thriller packed with numerous characters and a good deal of history, following the inception of the Mexican drug cartels in 1910 to what is taking place with today's drug traffickers.
Land has a knack for writing terrifying villains but he also has a sly sense of humor, so his books are not just filled with horror and dread, but are also populated by unconventional criminals. His latest creation is Ana Callas Guajardo, a ruthless Mexican drug kingpin fond of quoting Steve Jobs and other corporate leaders. Guajardo is monster with an apocalyptic plan of revenge against the United States. Fortunately Caitlin Strong has plenty of help, especially from my personal favorite, Guillermo Paz, a seven foot tall assassin fond of visiting Catholic confessionals and auditing college philosophy classes.
Land does not write page turners. His books are a solid combination of fact and fiction with plots and characters that are always well thought out and this one is a rare thriller that combines history, action and a touch of humor all blended together perfectly. Strong Rain Falling is a great read to close out the summer.