Tag Archives: jon land

No Surrender: Faith, Family and Finding Your Way by Patrick Bisher with Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

No SurrenderAfter 40+ books, writing about heroes is nothing new for Jon Land. What is new for him is writing about an actual warrior, instead of a fictional one, which is exactly the point of No Surrender and then some. This wondrously written tale, chronicling the improbable route Navy SEAL Patrick Bisher followed in becoming a true American hero, rings true as an inspirational catharsis of rare depth and pathos.

No Surrender is subtitled Faith, Family and Finding Your Way for a reason: Because that’s exactly what Patrick discovered were the true keys to surmounting obstacles life kept throwing in his way. He was only nine when doctors told him he’d likely never walk again due to a congenital hip condition, but you wouldn’t know that from his performance through Navy SEAL BUD/S training. Nor would you know that his decorated service in Iraq was performed with an artificial hip made necessary when a parachuting accident threatened to waylay Patrick’s dream yet again.

Those BUD/S chapters are among the finest I’ve ever encountered as a backdrop to military training, but this is no standard military tome, despite a sequence set amid Patrick’s deployment to Iraq. It’s a memoir rooted in Patrick finding his faith when he’d lost everything else and how that faith, along with God, carried him from the darkness of despair to the light of hope.

The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

The RisingThe Rising, a sumptuously entertaining, lightning-paced romp, is a difficult book to categorize. Bestselling author Jon Land, and even bigger bestselling author Heather Graham, have joined forces to pen a tale that’s part sci-fi, part young adult, part thriller, part mystery, part romance, part—well, just take your pick.

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The amazing thing is that this genre hybrid hodgepodge works. And it works in a big way—literally, since The Rising features a pair of teenagers who are only thing standing between the world and total annihilation. One of them is Alex Chin, a blond-haired, blue-eyed, high school football hero heartthrob who’s life begins to unravel when he suffers a concussion during a playoff game. The CT scan reveals an anomaly that will ultimately send Alex on a mind-bending quest to find not only the truth that’s out there in true X-Files fashion, both about himself and the world as a whole.

Strong Cold Dead: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Strong Cold Dead“Nobody goes beyond this point, ma’am,” is the first thing Caitlin Strong is told in Jon Land’s superb and sensational Strong Cold Dead. And I probably don’t have to tell you what she does next in the eighth book featuring the stalwart fifth generation Texas Ranger.

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A gunfighter and loner hero in the frontier sense bred of the classic Western, Caitlin is no stranger to breaking the rules or gunning down bad guys. Strong Cold Dead features a weighty mixture of both, as she finds herself battling none other than forces of ISIS on Texas soil. It’s a long-buried secret on a mysterious Indian reservation that’s drawn the terrorist group here, thanks to a social outcast reaching out to them on social media.

Takedown: A Small-Town Cop’s Battle Against the Hells Angels and the Nation’s Biggest Drug Gang by Jeff Buck with Jon Land and Lindsay Preston

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

TakedownJon Land has proven once again that he’s much more then just a thriller writer with Takedown. This is Land’s second non-fiction book, spinning the story of one of the biggest drug busts in modern history, born of an unholy alliance between the Hells Angels out of Montreal, a corrupt Indian reservation in New York State, and the Russian mob.

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But the man at the center of the bust, Jeff Buck, actually comes from a small town in Ohio where he still serves as chief of police after a much lauded twenty-year career as an undercover drug officer that rightfully earned him the nickname “Dope Ghost.” This is Buck’s story, told in nourish, tough guy prose that features alternating chapters between the major case he spearheaded in 2009 and the chain of events the year before that led to his involvement in the first place.

Strong Light of Day by Jon Land

Strong Light of Day

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Strong Light of Day is another great novel in the Caitlin Strong series; I won’t say best because each book is the best in its own right, since this is without question the finest thriller series going today. But this latest entry is both the most complex and timely. Indeed, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine opening up the newspaper not long down the road and spying a headline about the nation’s food supply under attack. Agro-terrorism, in other words, in Strong Light of Day at the hands of Russians who never stopped fighting the Cold War. Indeed, reading these books serves as a pointed reminder that there are people out there icily committed to destroying our way of life.

Black Scorpion: The Tyrant Reborn (Michael Tiranno The Tyrant) by Jon Land (Author) and Fabrizio Boccardi (Creator)

Black Scorpion

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

I don’t know how he does it. Jon Land’s latest novel Black Scorpion: The Tyrant Reborn is just more proof of his ability to take the reader on the greatest ride of his or her literary life. The depth and complex nature of the characters takes you well beyond fiction to the point that you are carried into a world that is so real you become part of the book in every sense.

It’s been five years since the book’s hero Michael Tiranno, aka “the Tyrant,” saved Las Vegas from terrorists in the blockbuster The Seven Sins. Now he, along with the entire country and world, are facing an even greater enemy in the form of Black Scorpion, an international criminal organization that fancies human trafficking above all else. When Michael’s girl friend Scarlet Swan runs afoul of them while on an archaeological dig in Romania, Michael drops everything to embark on a mission that will ultimately define who and what he is. Black Scorpion’s mysterious leader, Vladimir Dracu, is the yin to his yang. Opposite sides of the same coin, in more ways than one as it turns out.

Strong Darkness by Jon Land

Strong Darkness

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Jon Land’s brand new Caitlin Strong novel, as hard as it is to believe, is his best to date in this stellar series that’s one of the best being written today. Every one of the novels has a life of its own from the first page to the last, but Strong Darkness seems to jump off those pages in terms of detail as well as character, achieving a life and vitality rare for fiction in general and thrillers in particular. The book doesn’t even give you a chance to get settled in your chair, just throws you back so far so fast you feel you’ve been struck by the train on the book’s creepy cover.

The real conductor here is Land’s heroic Caitlin Strong, a fifth generation Texas Ranger who’s kind of a throwback in terms of temperament and attitude. For her the past is never far behind, literally since her family history always plays a key role, taking us back to the earlier, sometimes very early, days of the Rangers in cases somehow connected to whatever Caitlin’s investigating in the present with the help of her reformed outlaw boy friend Cort Wesley Masters. Masters has two teenage sons for whom Caitlin assumes a maternal role in stark contrast to her gunfighter mentality. It’s a curious juxtaposition, kind of like a mother bear protecting her cubs, and one that creates the perfect balance between the twin sides of her nature.

The Tenth Circle by Jon Land

The Tenth Circle Reviewed by Russell Ilg

The stranger retrieved the phone and handed it back to McCracken. “My advice: keep this handy in case you need to call 9-1-1.”

“I am 9-1-1,” McCracken told him.

I’m not sure there’s ever been in a line in a modern thriller that better encapsulates the spirit of a book and enduring series hero than that from Jon Land’s latest mind-number The Tenth Circle. In the second installment of their resurrection, after last year’s bestselling Pandora’s Temple, Blaine McCracken and his equally bigger-than-life sidekick Johnny Wareagle are on the trail of a crazed preacher with eyes on unleashing a biblical-level Apocalypse. The Reverend Jeremiah Rule has a weapon in his possession rooted in not just the past, but in two of the greatest historical mysteries of all time, posing the question what if the mass disappearance of the Roanoke Colony and ghost ship the Mary Celeste were connected?

Strong Rain Falling by Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Strong Rain Falling is the new novel by Jon Land in the mega-series featuring Caitlin Strong, a 5th generation Texas Ranger, and her former outlaw boyfriend Cort Wesley Masters. It’s the fifth book in this series, continuing the painstaking, and at times painful, evolution of the characters. As an avid reader who reads close to 4-5 books a week, it’s the one series that I wait for every year because the story has so roped me in thanks to the complex relationships and writing unmatched with any out there today.

Before cracking the book open, I recommend that you strap yourself to a chair because it’s going to turn your world upside down and, otherwise, you may hit the floor between pages. Strong Rain Falling starts out with what has to be the greatest opening of any book I’ve read to the point that I kept saying, no, this cannot be happening; but it was in heart-stopping fashion that sets the stage for a story that hits you from every angle and doesn’t let up for a single second or page. Simply stated, Jon Land has taken an outstanding series to a whole new level and heights I didn’t think possible for a thriller.

Pandora’s Temple (A Blaine McCracken Novel) by Jon Land

Pandora's Temple Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Jon Land keeps the heat up with the best thriller writing you can find today. He has taken a break from the best series out there, featuring female Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, to go all the way back to his roots by bringing back the legendary Blaine McCracken and Johnny Wareagle who’d appeared in nine previous tales that ended with 1998’s Dead Simple. The McCracken series was the first Jon wrote, featuring the rogue agent the government goes to with impossible missions no one else would even think about taking on. Just another day at the office for McCracken who makes great use of the skills that made him an icon in his return to the page in Pandora’s Temple.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a book with so many twists and turns and classic action sequences. Make no mistake about it, this is a huge-scale thriller with nothing less than the fate of the world at stake and nothing less than the most powerful force in the universe posing the threat. This as the ever-vigilant McCracken faces turning sixty and beginning to question his skills, not so much because they’ve eroded as the phone has stopped ringing. It’s been two years since the government came calling, when all of a sudden Homeland Security approaches him with a mission to rescue four Brown University fraternity brothers from the clutches of a drug lord with hundreds of well-armed man guarding his compound in Mexico. The impossible rescue Blaine and Johnny undertake opens the book and sets the stage for all the equally redoubtable action to come. But all is not well, because one of the hostages dies in the process leading McCracken to further wonder if he’s lost his edge.

That question is swiftly answered when McCraken, and Wareagle, learn that the lone other surviving member of their Special Forces Vietnam A-Team is missing from an offshore oilrig; the whole crew is missing thanks to some inexplicable phenomenon the same Homeland Security that sent Blaine to Mexico dispatches him to investigate. What he and Johnny find on the remnants of that rig lead to a global chase for the most powerful force in the universe somehow connected to the mythical Pandora’s box (a jar actually, we learn). It lies in the equally mythic Pandora’s Temple, the search for which McCracken and his team undertake in order to save the world while battling two groups of adversaries with limitless resources hell bent on getting their hands on the “dark matter” first. One is led by a billionaire energy magnate and the other the leader of a Japanese doomsday cult. Both are hiding terrible secrets that have long scarred them. Both will stop at nothing to gain the ultimate prize. But neither will McCracken who sees in a young female eco-terrorist an oddly kindred spirit. She too harbors scars and secrets, clearly a dominant theme here in a tale that’s as much about healing as anything else.