Friday, April 12

Review: Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

This is the 8th book in the Elemental Assassins series by Jennifer Estep.  This series started with Spider's Bite in 2010. Ms. Estep introduced us to Gin Blanco, cook at the best BBQ joint in town, perpetual student at Ashland College, Stone and Ice elemental and deadly assassin for hire.  The first book introduced us to Gin, killed off her mentor, handler and father figure Fletcher Lane, and basically set us up for the eventual showdown between Gin and the woman who killer her entire family when she was a child, Mab Monroe.  This series is set in fictional Ashland, in the heart of the Appalachian mountains.  If you are a fan of really good Urban Fantasy, you will want to find these books and start reading. I would not recommend reading them out of order though. If you are interested, but on the fence, make sure to check out Ms. Estep's website.  She has links to the first chapter in all the full length novels as well as several short stories to help fill in the gaps between novels or give historical insight.  Plus, some of Gin's favorite recipes are available on the site as well. 

This story about a month after the events in book 7, Widow's Web.  Finnegan Lane, Gin's foster brother, has convinced Gin to go to the opening of the art exhibit of Mab Monroe's treasures.  The gala had been planned since before Mab's death and now the reading of her Last Will and Testament will happen at the gala.  Everybody is going to be there.  Finnegan is busy harassing Gin into getting a new dress for the, as Gin puts it, "shindig".  Things get off to a rocking good start when the store Gin and Finnegan are at is held up.  Gin foils the robbery attempt and gives her sister, Detective Bria Coolidge a call.  Gin finds out that robberies are happening all too frequently lately, especially as all the giants, who are the guards of choice, have all suddenly quit their jobs.

The night of the gala, Gin comes face to face with Owen for the first time in a month. Turning around, there he is, just as startled to see her as she is to see him.  For Owen is at the gala with another woman.  One who has the same color hair and similar style as Gin, is the same height as Gin and is wearing the Exact Same Dress as Gin.  So much for Gin's original, one of a kind dress.  Finn is furious... about the dress.  (You have to know Finn to understand.)  

Little does Gin know that the gala is going to be robbed.  And the bad guys don't want The Spider to interfere, so they decide to do a little exterminating.  Unfortunately for Owen's date, the woman wearing Gin's dress, Owen wasn't the only one who had a case of mistaken identity. And with a missing face and only a dress and overall appearance to go by, everyone assumes that The Spider has finally been killed. And this is the point when the action cranks up into overdrive.

I love this series.  Just love it.  This is one of the very special few authors that I allow a permanent residence on my bookshelf.  Each new book has been better than the last.  The supporting characters are all so vivid and original, there is no confusion on who is who, each voice is unique and distinct.  Gin is a tough as nails, balls to the wall, unrepentant kick your ass female.  One of the things that I like best about her is that when she makes a decision, she doesn't waffle or whine or second guess herself.  She commits and follows through. She is confident in her abilities and the abilities of her friends and family.  The action is fast paced, yet believable. This is a series where good guys get hurt, bad guys sometimes win and a happy ending is not guaranteed.  It is gritty and raw and real.  Well, real for the world that Gin lives in.  I am just glad that Ms. Estep lets us visit.  5 stars on Goodreads.
Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me— Gin Blanco, aka the Spider—it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’s priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

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