Book Review: Jennifer Estep’s By a Thread

Posted May 8, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jennifer Estep’s By a Thread

By a Thread


Jennifer Estep

It is part of the Elemental Assassin #6 series and is a urban fantasy that was published by Pocket Books on February 28, 2012 and has 384 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have 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, 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, Bitter Bite, Unraveled, "Nice Guys Bite", Bright Blaze of Magic, Snared

Sixth in the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series revolving around Gin Blanco, an assassin known as the Spider.

My Take

It’s not a bridge story so much as it’s a tidy-up story using the greed of one man to feed his own ego and pockets. Gin is in agony — she just knows that Bria will get fed up with her and want to end their relationship. Bria is too much like Donovan Caine in her disgust for how Gin has lived and continues to live her life — killing first and questions after. Neither Bria nor Donovan seems to grasp the point that this is how Gin managed to survive her horrific childhood and that, in a town like Ashland that is teeming with elementals, it’s the only way she will continue to live.

Oh, there are a couple of food scenes that will have you craving fried chicken and the grilled chicken smothered in a sweet mango salsa with deep-fried hush puppies and pomegranate lemonade… Yum. I definitely want to try that buttermilk marinated one! I do like Owen’s attitude…he’s jealous, angry, and so in love.

There’s a lovely bit of metaphor here: “…we were already lost in another sort of undertow, swept away until there was nothing left but the climax that drowned us both.”

Mmm, Estep missed a good opportunity for confusion and tension with Vanessa in the bedroom. Then there’s Donovan, I mean, duhhhh, just what did he think Dekes was gonna do??

Gin, however, can also be pretty insecure and bitchy. She has some lessons she too needs to learn and its the events within this story that ram a few home truths in. One can get too cocky…

The Story

It’s getting old. Ever since Gin killed Mab, the bounty hunters and wannabes have been crawling out of the woodwork to take Gin Blanco, the Spider, down. This idea of Finn’s. A vacation. It just might be what she needs.

Only Gin reckons without Bria’s choice of visiting her old hometown and an old and cherished friend. Especially a friend who is in trouble.

The Characters

Gin Blanco, a.k.a., Genevieve Snow, a.k.a., the Spider, assassin and Stone and Ice elemental, owns a barbecue restaurant, the Pork Pit, she inherited from Fletcher after he himself was murdered over six months ago. Owen Grayson is a Metal elemental who is in love with Gin — more importantly, he loves her enough to understand what she needs to do.

Her sister, Detective Bria Coolidge is recovering from Mab’s “tender” attentions with Finn’s help. Finnegan “Finn” Lane is Fletcher’s son and close enough to be Gin’s brother. A financial planner by day, an information broker by night, and an all-round pain and ladies’ man at all times. But now, he’s fallen in love with Bria.

Jo-Jo and Sophia Devereaux are sisters and dwarves as well as Air elementals. JoJo runs a beauty salon and does healing on the side while Sophia uses her power to clean. Crime scenes, bodies…

Xavier and Roslyn Phillips get a brief mention. Jonah McAllister was Mab’s second-in-command, attorney and another of Gin’s enemies and he plays a small, but pivotal, role.

Callie Reyes is Bria’s best friend since childhood and she runs the Sea Breeze, a beach restaurant that’s been in her family for decades — I so want to eat here! Detective Donovan Caine is the morally upright detective who broke Gin’s heart and left town. For Blue Marsh.

Randall Dekes is a powerful vampire who is “buying up” all the land in Blue Marsh. Pete Procter and Trent the giant are just two of the men Dekes sends against Callie and her friends. Vanessa is Dekes’ wife and she has a younger sister, Victoria.

The Cover and Title

The greens and blue cover could be a metaphor for Gin’s thoughts…a walk in the park…except this one is a walk through the swamp and not the easy job Gin thought it would be. Instead, she’s poised in her jeans, royal blue tank top, and stiletto-heeled boots, a studded belt holding a sheathed knife, hips cocked as she leans against a tree next to the boardwalk.

The title is a reflection of where Gin’s life is…hanging By a Thread.