Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review - Spider's Bite

Spider's Book
Elemental Assassin Book #1
By Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: January 26, 2010

" My name is Gin, and I kill people."

After reading that opening line, I was hooked! Gin Blanco is an assassin who goes by the codename, "The Spider". Gin is able to control the elements of Stone and Ice, but when it comes to her "work", she prefers to rely on her silverstone knives. When she's not busy offing people for money, Gin works at The Pork Pit, the best barbecue joint in Ashland--maybe even the entire South, in Gin's opinion. The Pit is owned and run by Fletcher Lane, Gin's handler and father figure, who rescued her from the streets seventeen years ago. He is one of the few people she actually trusts and respects. Fletcher's latest job for Gin is for her to assassinate Gordon Giles, a suspected embezzler at Halo Industries. For Gin, it should be quick and easy--kill Giles while he's attending a night at the orchestra and collect her payment of five million dollars. And then what?

"Do this job, and you can retire.”

Retirement. Something that had been on Fletcher’s mind ever since I’d come back with a broken arm and a bruised spleen from a botched job six months ago in St. Augustine. The old man kept talking about me retiring in a dreamy tone, as if there were a world of options that would magically open up to me the second I put down my knives. Instead of the dull boredom of reality.

“I’m thirty, Fletcher. A highly effective, well-paid, sought-after professional in my area of expertise. I’m good at my job, the blood doesn’t bother me, and the people I kill have it coming. Why would I want to retire?”

More importantly, what would I do with myself? I had a very particular skill set, one that didn’t lend itself to a lot of options.

“Because there’s more to life than killing people and counting money, no matter how much one might enjoy them.” His green eyes locked with mine. “Because you shouldn’t have to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life. Don’t you want to live in the daylight a little, kid?”

Easier said than done. When Gin is setting up her kill shot for Giles, she spies Donovan Caine entering Giles' orchestra box. Donovan is a police detective, honest and by-the-book, unlike most of the Ashland police force. He has investigated many of Gin's "jobs", but her last is the one that has him hot on her trail and out for her blood: she assassinated his partner, Cliff Ingles. Of course, Donovan didn't know about Ingles' predilection for raping and beating up hookers, and even young girls. Gin did, and in her eyes, it justified his death. Normally, a cop would never be her "type", but Gin is more than a little intrigued by Donovan Caine.

I tracked Caine through the scope as he approached Giles. Thirty-two. Six foot one. Cropped black hair. Hazel eyes. Strong chin. Square jaw. Bumpy, crooked nose. Lean body. Bronze skin that showed his Hispanic heritage.

... Caine moved with the loose, easy confidence of a man who knows what he’s doing—and knows he can handle any- thing that comes his way.

Was there anything sexier than confidence and the skill to back it up? I didn’t think so. A hot awareness coursed through my body. My breasts tightened, and a small, pleasant ache settled between my thighs. I wondered if Donovan Caine would be that smooth and sure in bed. Bet he would.

While Gin is musing on Donovan and his sexiness, she hears the click of a gun and feels the coldness of the steel on the back of her skull. The assassin has become the target now; Gin discovers that she has been double crossed by her client. They have ordered her to be eliminated, in addition to Giles, leaving no loose ends dangling. But she's The Spider, and her double crossing client is about to feel the sting of her bite. Gin manages to escape, but Giles is killed and now Gin's face is all over the news as his murderer. As if that isn't bad enough, she arrives at The Pit to discover Fletcher has been tortured and murdered by a powerful Air elemental, and his son Finn has been beaten severely. In order to find who is behind everything, Gin must join forces with Donovan. Can an assassin and a cop work together? Or will Donovan Caine become entangled in The Spider's web?

Jennifer Estep has penned a dark, gritty and action packed urban fantasy. Gin is one tough cookie, but she has a soft heart when it comes to those she loves. And she is incredibly attracted to the tall, dark and equally tough Donovan Caine. I love how they continue to fight their attraction to each other, the tension and passion so palpable you can practically feel the pages heat up. And when they finally give in to their desires--oh, boy!-- it goes from smoke to a raging inferno! Being an urban fantasy, there is no HEA for Gin, but rest assured, she'll get one before the series ends. With a breath stealing cliff hanger, Estep leaves her readers anxious for the next book, Web of Lies, which will be released in June 2010. The third book, Venom, will follow in October 2010.

I enjoyed the roller coaster ride that this book took me on and can't wait to find out what's in store for Gin and Donovan. So if you're in the mood for something dark and dangerous, Spider's Bite will NOT disappoint!

~ Gannon


  1. Gannon, this sounds interesting--and very different from Estep's superhero romances. I love plot twists, and this seems to have lots of them

  2. Hi, Gannon--

    I've been seeing this book around the internet & have been wondering if it was worth checking out. Looks like it is! Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Great review, Gannon! I'm looking forward to checking this one out...and finding out more about the series when Jennifer visits with us next week.

  4. Nancy, it is full of plot twists, and it's an excellent beginning of what looks like a compelling new series.

  5. Susan, I hope you enjoy it. It pulls you in from the first sentence and won't let go!

  6. Thanks, PJ. I'm looking forward to chatting with Jennifer about the rest of the series, too.

  7. Very good review, Gannon! It sounds like a really different story, not my usual reading material, but you certainly did a great job describing the plot! What kind of twists are there? (That would probably give away some of the story, wouldn't it?)

  8. Gannon, I will say one thing, the Dishers are certainly introducing me (a devoted dishie) to a number of fascinating books! This sounds intriguing. It is not exactly my cup of tea either, but your review has my curiosity stoked, and more willing to check out an 'urban fantasy' thanks so much!

  9. Deb, if I told you the plot twists, I'd have to kill you. LOL Seriously, it would give away too much and spoil the story.

    I do occasionally read urban fantasy, but it's usually not my first pick. This story, however, just sucked me in and I enjoyed every minute of it. I'm so looking forward to the rest of the series.

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  11. Drew, that's what we're here for, to introduce our devoted dishies to new books. :) Let me know what you think of Spider's Bite.

    The author, Jennifer Estep, will be dishing with us next week (Feb. 2nd), so I hope you'll drop in and chat with her.

  12. Ooh, Gannon, a reviewer who really gets into her work! :) Okay, no questions asked, no killing of question asker....

    All of you ladies at TRD are superb with the writing and pulling-out-what-readers-want-to-hear skills. (There has to be a simple way to say that, but couldn't think of anything.)

  13. All of you ladies at TRD are superb with the writing and pulling-out-what-readers-want-to-hear skills. (There has to be a simple way to say that, but couldn't think of anything.)

    Deb, what a lovely compliment. Thank you so much! We all have fun reading and writing the reviews and sharing our love of the genre with others.

  14. Wow, Gannon, this one sounds very dark. But like the others have said, you revealed just enough to have me wondering what happens.

  15. Buffie, it's pretty dark, but very compelling.