Book Review: Jennifer Estep’s Bitter Bite

Posted April 17, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.

Book Review: Jennifer Estep’s Bitter Bite

Bitter Bite

by Jennifer Estep

three-half-stars

Series: Elemental Assassin #14

Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Jennifer Estep, Venom, Karma Girl, Tangled Threads, Touch of Frost, Spider's Revenge, Kiss of Frost, Hot Mama, By a Thread, Dark Frost, Widow's Web, Crimson Frost, Deadly Sting, Midnight Frost, Heart of Venom, The Spider, Killer Frost, Tan­gled Dreams, Tangled Schemes, Spider's Bargain, "Poison", Spider’s Nemesis, "Wasted", Web of Death, "Web of Deceit", Black Widow, Poison Promise, Cold Burn of Magic, The Spider's Trap, Dark Heart of Magic, Unraveled, "Nice Guys Bite".

Genres: Urban Fantasy

This Paperback has 374 pages and was published by Pocket Books on February 23, 2016. Discover more about it at Goodreads. You can also buy it at Amazon

Fourteenth in the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series and revolving around Gin Blanco, the Spider. It’s been a few weeks since Spider’s Trap, 13.

My Take

Poor Gin. She can’t get no respect, lol.

It’s a look back at Finn’s earlier years. How much he looks like Fletcher. How much he acts like his mother. Why Fletcher took the moniker of the Tin Man. Aw, man, that was almost enough to make me tear up.

It was pretty obvious about the partnership; I don’t know why Gin didn’t twig much, much sooner about all those anomalies that kept cropping up. Heck, if I can see it, anyone could! Why she (or anyone else in her clique) didn’t speculate more. Although, from what we learn in Bitter Bite, it seems not thinking much runs in the family. For such a smart woman, I don’t understand why she wasn’t reaching out to her mob contacts, either. How has she stayed alive so long? For that matter, for all her vaunted patience, she doesn’t do so well at that first meeting at the Pork Pit with Deirdre. Of course, it’s easy for me to be critical. I wouldn’t have done as well as Gin, at all.

Another gripe is the lack of show. Estep never did make me feel Finn’s longing for his mother. She talked it up, but it never sank into me emotionally. As for Finn’s obsessive attention to his mother, I was expecting a different explanation. Something to do with Mama Dee’s trinket, but no go. I was disappointed with that bit as well.

“He can be quite aggravating when he wants to be. But his true superpower is being aggravating when he’s not even trying.”

I’m guessing that those flashbacks, Gin’s nightmares of the night Finn threw that high school party, were supposed to expose Gin’s insecurity as a child and how long Finn has had her back. It wasn’t particularly impressive other than being a look back at their mutual childhood.

It’s fun to watch Silvio dig up the dirt on Deirdre. Dirt that gets enhanced later on with those warehouse confrontations. Including that interesting bit of foreshadowing about Deirdre and Tucker both coming from Ashland.

I’m also enjoying how Estep is keeping the series going, the new bad guys who crop up. This latest big bad should be truly nasty, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Gin deals with them and what new truths they’ll drop on her. As for her core characters, they’re quirky, loyal, and very supportive with interesting tastes.

It’s a lot of looking back. At mothers. At loss. And some nasty sharp shocks for both Gin and Finn. Alleviated by the letter from Fletcher to Finn that we finally get to read.

The Story

It hurts. Watching Finn get all doe-eyed and obsessed with his long-dead mother. So in thrall to her that he ignores his real family, the woman he loves.

Gin wants so much for Finn to have what he wants, but not at his expense. She’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground — for good.

Even from beyond the grave, Fletcher is still protecting those he loves.

The Characters

Gin Blanco, a.k.a., the Spider, is a “retired” assassin and Ice and Stone elemental who now heads up the criminal element in Ashland. Or so she thinks. The too-charming Finnegan “Finn” Lane, an investment banker, is Gin’s foster brother, her family. All that each other has left since Fletcher Lane‘s death. Their father, her mentor. Eira Snow was Gin and Bria’s mother; Annabella was their older sister.

Owen Grayson, a Metal elemental, is her very supportive significant other. Detective Bria Coolidge is Gin’s sister and an Ice elemental. She and Finn are in love. Work-wise, she’s partnered up with Xavier, a giant in love with Roslyn Phillips, a vampire madam who runs the Northern Aggression, a decadent nightclub. Silvio Sanchez was a mobbed-up vampire (Poison Promise, 11), and now he’s Gin’s very efficient personal assistant.

The Pork Pit is…
…the barbecue restaurant Gin inherited back in Spider’s Bite, 1. The Goth Sophia Devereaux works as a chef for Gin. Her sister, Jo-Jo Devereaux, another Air Elemental, runs a successful beauty salon and is called upon, often, to heal Gin. Catalina Vasquez, Silvio’s niece, is a waitress there.

Deirdre Shaw, a.k.a., Dee-Dee and Mama Dee, is Finn’s mother come back to life. A very strong Ice Elemental. Hugh Tucker, a vampire, is her personal assistant.

Rodrigo Santos is a highly skilled thief. Ralph is part of his crew.

The mob bosses of Ashland include…
Lorelei Parker and her greats-grandmother, Mallory Parker, a dwarf. Mallory considers herself Gin’s friend while Lorelei and Gin are making an effort. Lily Rose had been Lorelei’s mother. Raymond Pike had been Lorelei’s half-brother (Spider’s Trap, 13). The totally human Phillip Kincaid is a friend of Owen’s and runs a gambling operation on his riverboat, the Delta Queen. Jade Jamison is definitely happy with Gin, since Spider’s Trap, 13, anyway. The Circle runs everything in Ashland. Everything.

Dmitri Barkov and Luiz Ramos are minor league with a hate-on for Gin. Jonah McAllister is a “down-on-his-luck lawyer who fell from the Mob’s grace. He’s awaiting his murder trial. Ya shouldn’t try to cross Gin, boyo. Ethel and Don are the grave-robbing dwarves who learn better. Salina Dubois had been one of Gin’s enemies and Owen’s ex-fiancée in Widow’s Web, 7.

Warren T. Fox had been a friend of Fletcher’s. Stuart Mosley, a dwarf, is the founder of First Trust, the bank in Ashland. Briartop is the art museum where Clementine Barker’s heist shot the place up in Deadly Sting, 8. Larry is another cop.

Back in the day…
…the invited kids included Steve, Tony, and the oh-so-lovely Ella. Paul and two others were uninvited vampires.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a grayed-out purple with Gin right out front in her black silverstone vest, cleavage-enhancing T, and jeans, wearing her spiderweb rune necklace, brunette hair blowing in the breeze. The background is a stone arch filled with a silver spiderweb and lit with a storm of white lights.

The title is that Bitter Bite that only family can give.


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