Strong at the Break (Caitlin Strong Series #3)
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Strong at the Break (Caitlin Strong Series #3)

4.4 7
by Jon Land

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Fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong returns in an adventure with roots in a gunfight where her father shot down the cult-like leader of a separatist church.

Two decades later, that man’s son, Malcolm Arno, has become head of a militia movement bent on unleashing chaos and anarchy across the country. With all the guns and money he needs to wage a


Fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong returns in an adventure with roots in a gunfight where her father shot down the cult-like leader of a separatist church.

Two decades later, that man’s son, Malcolm Arno, has become head of a militia movement bent on unleashing chaos and anarchy across the country. With all the guns and money he needs to wage a second Civil War, nothing seems to be standing in Arno’s way. Until he runs afoul of Caitlin Strong.

Already mired in one investigation of drug smuggling over the U.S.-Canadian border and another involving an Iraqi war veteran who claims the army is trying to kill him, Caitlin finds herself embroiled in the search for the kidnapped son of former outlaw Cort Wesley Masters. When the missing boy’s trail leads to Malcolm Arno’s Texas compound, the three cases converge in an explosion of violence that will put Caitlin to the ultimate test.

From the frozen rivers of Canada to the desert wastelands of Mexico, the stage has been set for a battle like none Caitlin has ever faced before, where the stakes are nothing less than the survival of America as we know it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An outlandish, violent plot sets up a high-stakes showdown in Land's third novel featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong (after Strong Justice). Three cases that at first appear unrelated put Caitlin on a collision course with Malcolm Arno's Patriot Sun organization. Arno is the son of Maxwell Arno, whose Church of the Redeemer cult was brought down by Strong's Ranger father, Jim. A stakeout while on a joint Canadian-U.S. drug force in Quebec ends in a bloody confrontation with Hell's Angels; Iraq war vet Mark John Serles claims the Army targeted him with the IED that blew off his legs; and the 16-year-old son of Strong's friend, outlaw Cort Wesley Masters, goes missing. This perfect storm of events sends Strong from Canada to Mexico to Washington, D.C., in an effort to prevent Arno's attempts to unleash the deadliest arsenal ever employed against domestic targets by American "patriots." Series fans should enjoy the plentiful fireworks. (June)
From the Publisher

“A riveting, fast-paced story that leaves the reader breathless.” —Sandra Brown, New York Times bestselling author

“Well-designed and (especially) well-executed, the novel proves once and for all that Caitlin Strong is a compelling, series-worthy lead.” —Booklist on Strong at the Break

“The Strong books may be Land's best series yet, and his latest entry will undoubtedly be considered the ‘best of the best.' Filled with riveting action and suspense, vivid characters, and a fast-moving plot, this will attract fans of mystery and suspense with Western themes.” —Library Journal on Strong at the Break

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Caitlin Strong Series, #3
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt




From the street the house looked like those nestled around it in the suburban neighborhood dominated by snow cover that had at last started to melt. A McMansion with gables, faux brick, and lots of fancy windows that could have been lifted up and dropped just about anywhere. The leaves had long deserted the tree branches, eliminating any privacy for each two-acre spread had the neighbors been around to notice. Problem was the neighborhood, part of a new plot of palatial-style homes, had been erected at the peak of a housing boom now gone bust, so less than a third were occupied.

Caitlin Strong and a Royal Canadian Mountie named Pierre Beauchamp were part of a six-person squad rotating shifts in teams of two inside an unsold home diagonally across from the designated 18 Specter, the marijuana grow house they’d been eyeballing for three weeks now. She’d come up here after being selected for a joint U.S. and Canadian drug task force looking into the ever-increasing rash of drug smuggling across a fifteen-mile stretch of St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation land that straddled the border.

Beauchamp lowered his binoculars and made some notes on his pad, while Caitlin looked at him instead of raising hers back up.

“Something wrong, Ranger?”

“Not unless you count the fact I got no idea what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

“Get the lay of the land. Isn’t that it?”

“Seems to me,” Caitlin told the Mountie, “that the DEA got that in hand already. You boys too.”

“It’s task force business now. We need to build a case for a full-on strike.”

“You telling me the Mounties couldn’t have done that already, on their own?”

“Not without alerting parties on the other side of border, who’d respond by dropping their game off the radar, eh? When we hit them, the effort’s got to be coordinated and sudden. That doesn’t mean two law enforcement bodies working in tandem, it means two countries. And that, Ranger Strong, is never a simple prospect.”

“So we’ve got to tell both sides what they know already.”

Beauchamp shrugged. “Put simply, yes.”

“I guess I’m just not cut out for this sort of game,” Caitlin said and sighed.

The thunk of car doors slamming froze Beauchamp’s response before he could utter it. Both he and Caitlin had their binoculars pressed back against their eyes in the next instant, watching six big men in black tops, black fatigue pants, and army boots approach the grow house from a dark SUV lugging assault rifles and what looked like gasoline cans.

“Uh-oh,” said Beauchamp.

“Hells Angels?” asked Caitlin, following a bald pair of black-garbed figures who looked like twins.


“What exactly they doing here now, while there’s people and drugs still inside?”

The Mountie moved his gaze back to her, his expression flatter than she’d seen in the three weeks they’d been working together. “Only one thing I can think of.”


Copyright © 2011 by Jon Land

Meet the Author

JON LAND is the acclaimed author of numerous bestsellers, including Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, and The Seven Sins. Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Strong at the Break 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
formerhawk More than 1 year ago
Love the insights into the Texas Rangers history. Caitlin Strong makes you keep rooting for her.
ALLBOOKSREVIEWSJW More than 1 year ago
Jon Land’s Caitlin Strong, Texas Ranger novels are thrillers in every sense of the word and much, much more. A Creative Writing instructor once told us, “if you want to learn how to write smooth transitions, read James Mitchener.” Well, he was right about that but I think Jon Land is better. He’s able to perfectly juggle his past and present in such a way that it doesn’t slow down the suspense and action. Not easy to do. I read STRONG AT THE BREAK out of order, but no matter, though; any of the series stands alone. Hard to pick, but I think STRONG AT THE BREAK is my favorite so far because it mirrors the border and drug problems of today and also showcases how religious right nutbars and paramilitary megalomaniacs can suck a lot of needy people into their evil web under the guise of Faith. As with all the novels in this series, Land’s characters will totally capture your emotions and fill you with respect for the depths of their courage. I dare you to read fifty pages of any of these Cailin Strong novels and not become addicted. Double-dog dare! Jan Evan Whitford, author of MYSTIC FEAR
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JMCornwell More than 1 year ago
/A fourteen-year-old Caitlin Strong and her father, Texas Ranger Jim Strong, are supposed to be going fishing when Jim Strong confronts a fugitive cult leader and guns him down. Caitlin and Malcolm Arno, the reverend's son, are changed that day and the reckoning is at hand. Working several different cases, Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy that reaches to Canada, Iraq and Mexico and a young army medic whose legs were blown off in Iraq believes the army tried to kill him. With Cort Wesley Masters' son Dylan in the midst of a child slave ring based in Mexico, Caitlin begins to believe all the events are linked and lead back to a Civil War brewing with Malcolm Arno in the lead. Time is running out to find Dylan and stop a war that will tear the country apart. Jon Land returns with a new Caitlin Strong thriller in Strong at the Break. Using current events and the political unrest at the heart of America's discontent, drug and child slave trafficking, and money stolen from Iraq's reconstruction, Land creates a plausible situation and throws Caitlin, Cort Wesley Masters and Colonel Guillermo Paz into the midst of a meat grinder with serious personal, national and international implications. What is so surprising is that Land pulls it off believably and without exhibiting too much prejudice and authorial intrusion. One-time enforcer, Colonel Guillermo Paz, doesn't have as much to do this time around, but, when he does, his intervention is timely as well as ruthless, and congruent with his new ideology. There is, however, a separation of strategies between how Caitlin and Cort Wesley handle the situation and Caitlin emerges as the more mature and cool-headed of the pair. There is still considerable chemistry between the two, but Caitlin seems to come to grips with her past and rises above it, reaching a new level. When she has to deal out justice, she does so with dispatch. She also shows that she is a complex and intelligent woman who can keep a cool head in a crisis. There is as much blood and gun play as in previous books, but Land gives his characters more latitude and space to maneuver and choose a different course. The characters are gritty and memorable and the action sequences are rapid-fire quick. Caitlin and her father's history are neatly intertwined in the story and taking out a single element would make the story unworkable. One character was a surprise in the way he emerged from the shadows, and working him into the story obviously provided a challenge, but ultimately he becomes the final piece in an intricate puzzle that gives Strong at the Break a satisfying ending. Caitlin and Cort Wesley are gunfighters and no doubt about it. This time, Caitlin uses her head as effectively as she uses her guns.
Russ_Ilg More than 1 year ago
Review of STRONG AT THE BREAK By Jon Land Reviewed by Russ Ilg Gunfighters may be a thing of the past, but Jon Land seems hell bent on resurrecting the mythos in his Caitlin Strong/Texas Ranger books. He hit the bulls-eye dead center in her first two adventures (Strong Enough to Die and Strong Justice) while outdoing even himself in the latest of what is unquestionably the greatest thriller series being written today. In Strong at the Break Caitlin has to deal with Hells Angels, Indian drug dealers, white slavers, sinister government types and, for good measure, a radical right-wing militia plotting nothing less than a second Civil War.? Once again, Land has penned an intense, thrilling, action-packed tale featuring the greatest gunfights I've ever read. Many novels are aptly called page-turners. But Strong at the Break gives so much more than any of its more recent competition, I'd call it a page-burner. That's because you find yourself turning the pages so fast they nearly burn up from the speed. With so many twists and turns, coupled with a frantic nonstop pace, there's just no time to come up for air. Strong at the Break's short, snappy chapters flow smoothly from one to the next, each with an opening hook and closing cliffhanger. When you buy the book plan on a day or two of the greatest reading you will enjoy this summer, and you will not rest until the final smoking page is turned. The breakneck plot aside, Land has set about creating compelling characters you feel you know and would love to meet. Starting with fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong herself, they stand against injustice which seems especially plentiful in Strong at the Break. Good thing that standing by her side once more is the former most wanted man in Texas, Cort Wesley Masters, father to two sons Caitlin treats as if they were own. This time out Masters has his own reason to fight, that being the fact that one of those sons is kidnapped along a circuitous route that connects back to the Patriot Sun, that right-wing militia with its eyes on insurrection. To get the boy back, he and Caitlin are more than happy to take them and all comers including a Hells Angel gang running drugs over frozen rivers form Canada into the United States and a violent white slavery ring operating in the more familiar reaches of Mexico. To this already intense mix, Land adds an intricately developed flashback subplot that takes us into a parallel war waged by Caitlin's father Jim Strong against the father of the book's crazed villain and Patriot Sun leader, Malcolm Arno. Caitlin, in fact, was there when her dad killed his in the prologue, and the book builds to an ultimate confrontation between these two bitter adversaries who first glimpsed each other as teenagers. The result here is a keen appreciation of history, providing an understanding of what makes the Rangers in general, and Strongs in particular, the most feared lawmen anywhere. This is the best thriller of the year hands down. A book you don't want to end and will leave you clamoring for Caitlin Strong's return in the next installment which can't come soon enough
harstan More than 1 year ago
Malcolm Arno has become head of a powerful militia movement. His goal is to outdo his late father Reverend Maxwell who died in a shootout with Texas Ranger Jim Strong in Midland, Texas in 1990. To achieve his objective, Malcolm plans on a second civil war with guns across the nation that will cause chaos and death. Jim's daughter Caitlin was thirteen when she saw her father kill Maxwell. Her current caseload is overwhelming as she seeks a veteran who believes Americans want him dead and she is worried about her friend former outlaw Cort Wesley Masters who is to be extradited to Mexico to face a murder charge. When Cort's teenage son Dylan is kidnapped Caitlin leads the inquiry that takes her to Arno's compound. From Quebec to Texas and with flashbacks to two decades ago, the latest Strong Texas Ranger thriller (see Strong Justice and Strong Enough to Die) is an action-packed tale with a plenty of angst. Cait is terrific as she works on a task force with the Canadian Mounties as well as a case in Texas and assisting her friend with rescuing his son. Readers will learn how to be in two places at almost the same time using the sleep deprivation theory as fans and the heroine will get little rest during this strong caper. Harriet Klausner