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Strong Enough to Die

Strong Enough to Die: A Caitlin Strong Novel - Jon Land

Being a Texas Ranger runs in Caitlin Strong's blood. She's proud to wear the badge, but when she's haunted by memories of a shoot-out, she decides she's had  enough of the lifestyle and changes careers. Five years later, she still hasn't escaped the nightmares, and when she makes a shocking discovery at her new job, she turns to her roots to survive, aided by outlaw and former nemesis Cort Wesley Masters. 

After I read and reviewed The Tenth Circle, Jon Land was kind enough to send me a copy of this book to try. He felt that it would suit my interests a bit more than the Blaine McCracken series did, and while I definitely enjoyed TTC, Land was right - this book appealed to me even more. I always tend to gravitate more towards books with female protagonists and I loved that Land included history in this. It was a modern-day western, and I enjoyed that much more than I ever would have thought possible. 


Land begins the book by throwing the reader directly into the action - and the action continues the whole way through, much as it had in TTC. This book is definitely plot driven and, once again. Land did a fantastic job of coming up with a super creepy twist revealing corruption in the government and big business. Published in 2009, this book did date itself at times. It concentrates extensively on technology and at times, characters would say things like, "This isn't here yet, but should be in 2010 or 2011." I am not technologically savvy enough to know if these advances did happen as predicted, but technology does advance so quickly that I felt that comments such as these made the novel feel a bit outdated at times. 


As plot-driven as the book was, I did feel that the book did lack character development, to some degree. Every one of the main characters is incredibly tough - and that's about it. We don't really get exposed to their other character traits. I've found that this is a flaw in many of the thrillers that I've read lately, so maybe it's a flaw of the genre in general? I felt that Caitlin was excessively masculine. I realize that as a Texas Ranger, it's highly unlikely that she's going to be a woman who loves shopping and romance and other stereotypically feminine things, but at times she came across as a caricature of a female Texas Ranger, one who stows away all emotions and focuses entirely on her job.

The relationship that develops between her and Cort Wesley wasn't very believable as a result. Sometimes, they'd each talk about feeling attracted to one another, but in their actual interactions, there is no hint of flirtation or sexual tension at all, until they randomly start making out in a parking garage. This felt very out of character for the Caitlin Strong that we get to know and it seemed somewhat forced.

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I'd say character development was the major weakness of the book. 


Overall, I think this book was well-written and well-thought-out. Character development aside, the plot progressed smoothly and the various twists kept me wanting to read more. I think this is a promising series, and I definitely encourage fans of the thriller genre to read it. If you're someone who cares more about plot development than characterization, I don't think you'll be disappointed. 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author, but in no way did this influence my review.