From the Publisher
“Strong Vengeance blends high-octane adventure with a ripped from-the-headlines immediacy. Tautly crafted, brilliantly plotted, here is a thriller that's as gripping as it is important. A cautionary tale everyone must read.” James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Devil
“How the strong grow stronger! Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong proves once again she's the woman for the job, taking on lost treasures, cold cases, mass murder and homegrown terrorists in a do-or-die race against the clock that will leave you gasping till the end.” Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Love You More
“With a magnificent heroine and an adrenaline-packed plot, Strong Vengeance packs a Texas-sized wallop. If Jane Rizzoli ever gets into trouble, you bet she'll be calling Caitlin Strong for help.” Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Girl
Caitlin Strong battles Arab terrorists, homicidal pedophiles, murderous wealthy businessmen, and corrupt government agents in Land’s rousing, action-filled fourth novel featuring the fifth-generation Texas Ranger (after 2011’s Strong at the Break). Aiding Caitlin in all the derring-do is her lover, Cort Wesley Masters, recently released from a Mexican prison, where he languished for four months after killing a drug dealer. The main threat comes from terrorist mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki, thought killed by a Predator drone the year before, who’s implementing a massive plot on Texas soil and beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico that aims to kill hundreds of thousands. As always, Land slips in a lot of Texas Ranger lore while presenting the crime-busting cowboys as living legends, the toughest, most upright lawmen and women in the U.S.A. Land also proves himself a plotting virtuoso by pulling all the widely disparate elements into a coherent whole. Agent: Natalia Aponte, Natalia Aponte Literary Agency. (July)
Read an Excerpt
SAN ANTONIO, THE PRESENT
“This isn’t your play, Ranger Strong,” Captain Consuelo Alonzo of the San Antonio police said to Caitlin Strong beneath an overhang outside the Thomas C. Clark High School. Her hands were planted on her hips, one of them squeezing a pair of sunglasses hard enough to crush the frame.
Caitlin took off her Stetson and let the warm spring sunlight drench her face and raven-black hair that swam past her shoulders. Her cheeks felt flushed and she could feel the heat building behind them. She’d left her own sunglasses back in her SUV, forcing her to keep her view shielded from the sun, which left the focused intensity in her dark eyes clear enough for anyone to see. Her cheekbones were ridged and angular, meshed so perfectly with her jawline that her face had the appearance of one drawn to life by an artist.
Caitlin met Alonzo’s stare with her own, neither of them budging. “Then I guess I heard wrong about a boy with a gun holding hostages in the school library.”
“No, you heard right about that. But this isn’t a Ranger matter. I didn’t call you in and my SWAT team’s already deployed.”
Caitlin gazed at the modern two-story, L-shaped mauve building shaded by thick elm and oak trees. The main entrance was located at the point of the school where the L broke directly before a nest of rhododendron bushes, from which rose the school marquee listing upcoming events, including graduation and senior prom. A barricade had been erected in haphazard fashion halfway to the street to hold anxious and frantic parents behind a combination of sawhorses, traffic cones, and strung-together rope.
“SWAT team for one boy with a gun?” Caitlin raised.
A news helicopter circled above, adding to Alonzo’s discomfort. “You have a problem with that? Or maybe you’ve never heard of Columbine?”
“Any shots fired yet?”
“No, and that’s the way we want to keep it.”
“Then I do have a problem, Captain. I do indeed.”
Alonzo’s face reddened so fast it looked as if she were holding her breath. She’d lost considerable weight since the day Caitlin had met her inside San Antonio’s Central Police Substation a couple years back. They had maintained a loose correspondence mostly via e-mail ever since, both appreciating the trials and tribulations of women trying to make it in the predominantly male world of law enforcement. Plenty accused Caitlin of riding her legendary father and grandfather’s coattails straight into the Rangers. But Alonzo’s parents were Mexican immigrants who barely spoke English and lacked any coattails to ride whatsoever. She was still muscular and had given up wearing her hair in a bun, opting instead for a shorter cut matted down by her cap.
“This is the Masters boy’s school, isn’t it?” Alonzo asked Caitlin.
“Yes, ma’am. And he still uses his mother’s last name—Torres.”
“Well, I can tell you the son of that outlaw boyfriend of yours is in one of the classrooms ordered into lockdown while we determine if there are any other perpetrators involved.”
Caitlin glanced at the black-clad commandos squatting tensely on either side of the entrance. “When was the last time your SWAT team deployed?”
“That’s none of your goddamn business.”
“Any shots fired, innocents wounded?”
The veins over Alonzo’s temples began to throb. “You’re wasting my time, Ranger.”
“And you’re missing the point. You’re going in with SWAT without exhausting any of the easier options.”
“Me,” Caitlin told her.
Copyright © 2012 by Jon Land