One of the many things I love about this series is Land's use of secondary characters. In his hands, they are not mere caricatures but living, breathing, complex people ... Strong as Steel is, quite simply, unputdownable, and Jon Land keeps readers regularly off their feet with plot twists and revelations you will never see coming. This series seems to get better and better, and each entry finds a new adversary that has not only local but global consequences as their end game. What I respect most about Land, and what sets him apart from other prolific writers who spin out endless titles just to see their name on some bestseller list, is that his stories are all fully realized, intricately plotted and always suspenseful.
...another action-packed thriller ... This is the sort of thing you might get if Dr. Frankenstein sewed John Wayne’s head onto Wonder Woman’s body, gave the fearsome creature an unlimited supply of bullets and dropped it into The Da Vinci Code ... As always in this series, the plot has links to an old case investigated by one of [Strong's] ancestors, and the cartoonish portrayals of violence resemble what might happen if Quentin Tarantino and Marvel’s creator of Venom got wasted on cocaine and put their heads together ... Land’s fans are in for another wild ride.
After a steady buildup that covers the first quarter of the book, things take off with a bang ... Land’s latest is one of his most imaginative, original stories yet, involving a number of surprise players and memorable characters ... All in all, Jon Land turns in another fun, action-packed story featuring one of the best female protagonists in the business.
The only thing that can top a bigger-than-life hero is a bigger-than-life heroine. And we have her in Caitlin Strong ... And, this time, the mission is personal ... This south-of-the-border Da Vinci Code-style thriller with action on every page will have you trying to unravel the mystery of the boxes and the link between Christianity and the brutality of a Mexican drug queen.
The problem with the plot...is that while Land waggles between the two timelines, drawing out the suspense, it takes forever to get to the point of the whole thing ... Well over two thirds of the novel passes, in fact, before the magical words are uttered that are supposed to captivate and astonish us. Land has tried to splice his usual Texas-style gunfest with an action/adventure story in imitation of Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, or Douglas Preston, but the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t have the writing chops to pull it off. The story is lumpy and uneven. He tosses stuff into the mix like cups of lard, hoping it all will render down into something palatable, but it never really does. His characters are flat and not believable ... On top of that, the dialogue is hopeless ... Strong as Steel is an over-written splatterfest that may be fine for the shoot-’em-up crowd that buys Land’s stuff each time out, but he offers nothing of interest here to any reader who may be looking for something set in the Lone Star State that’s a little more realistic and three-dimensional, with characters that are believable, and a story that doesn’t stick in your throat like a lumpy, inedible stew.
Land effectively combines family dynamics with action and intrigue to create an original and inspiring thriller. The depth, tension, and character building in this series continue to impress with each installment. Readers who enjoy modern crime fiction with a hint of the Old West definitely need to be up to date with Caitlin’s adventures.
Land toggles smoothly between plotlines in his solid 10th thriller featuring third-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong ... The less than plausible resolution of the various story threads detracts from the suspense and tension of what’s come before. Still, Land fans should be satisfied.