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Strong from the Heart    by Jon Land order for
Strong from the Heart
by Jon Land
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong charges in guns blazing once more in Jon Land's Strong from the Heart, eleventh in this gripping series. This time, she takes on the opioid trade - not only Big Pharma but also some very powerful Washington figures who pull the strings in the background.

The novel opens on catastrophe - almost all residents of the desert town of Camino Pass die the same night. Homeland Security is involved and Caitlin also investigates (after a run-in with ICE agents at a San Antonio school). How the townsfolk were killed is a mystery, though a survivor emerges after sleeping off a hangover in the town clinic, and the medical examiner later identifies cyanide as the agent of death.

Meanwhile Cort Wesley's younger son Luke is hospitalized after an opioid overdose, which sends Cort on the rampage on a quest for answers - and vengeance. Caitlin's ruthless half sister, Nola Delgado, joins the action, as does former secret police colonel Guillermo Paz, acting as a Guardian Angel to Caitlin and those close to her. Caitlin is unhappy about the relationship growing between Nola and Cort's older son Dylan.

As always in this series, there are flashbacks to earlier Texas Ranger exploits, this time involving Caitlin's great-grandfather William Ray Strong, in partnership with ... Pancho Villa in the 1890s! That story is told in episodes alternating with modern events - and, as always, they are related.

Caitlin, in Strong from the Heart, does her job in her own inimitable style once more, and wins an important battle in a long war against drugs.

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