Book Review: Jennifer Estep’s The Spider

Posted February 1, 2014 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 The Spider

The Spider


Jennifer Estep

It is part of the Elemental Assassin #10 series and is a in eBook edition on December 24, 2013 and has 381 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, By a Thread, Dark Frost, Widow's Web, Crimson Frost, Deadly Sting, Midnight Frost, Heart of Venom, 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

Tenth in the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series and revolving around Gin Blanco. Discover the chronological timeline for the Elemental Assassin series on my website.

My Take

This origins story is nicely done. And satisfies my OCD heart, LOL. Estep starts off and finishes in today’s Ashland, but most of the story takes place yesteryear. It’s a reminiscence as Gin remembers the first assassination she did on her own, and the lessons learned.

Interesting lot of precog, er, foreshadowing?, as Estep tosses in bits and pieces of story that have occurred along the way: Dawes’ general store, Owen, Xavier, Roslyn Phillips just starting up her club, and we watch as Gin stumbles toward her first apartment on her own. Oops, mustn’t forget Finn, I’d never hear the end of it. That part of the story set in the past is of his rise to monetary power from intern to his current status although there is no need to rise up to Finn’s very confident ego…*grin*…that boy has been cocky from the get-go!

I suspect that part of what I love is our having a chance to spend some time with Fletcher. He may have only appeared in the first Elemental Assassin, Spider’s Bitehmmm, rather clever of Estep to give us this bare bones title…makes a nice prequel to the first one…but I’ve fallen in love with his character over the years.

I’m conflicted. Part of me is annoyed that it took Gin so long to figure out the truth, but then again…that was the point, wasn’t it? That Gin still had lessons to learn. It’s just too bad that it took her so long. It certainly does provide background on why Gin is so skittish.

I do wish Estep had explained how Sebastian found out. She talks about all the cut outs Fletcher uses, and yet no one ever questions this. With all these loose lips, how ever does Gin keep her identity secret?

Then there’s Gin’s dumb actions. She’s drugged out and unable to respond as she should, and she still heads into danger. Duh??? She knows Sebastian’s power and doesn’t plan for it? Part of that lesson Gin needs to learn, I guess.

It does get interesting once Gin shrugs it off.

The Story

It’s a trip down a sorrowful memory lane for Gin as she remembers her first solo assassination when that package is delivered…

…she can remember it as if it were yesterday. A dream take-down that will prevent a father from beating his child ever again…

The Characters

Gin Blanco is a retired assassin, the Spider, who simply wants to run the Pork Pit and have a life. Her elemental powers are Stone and Ice. Owen Grayson is her lover with Metal — yep, they’re back together.

In the past…
Fletcher Lane, a.k.a., Tin Man, runs and owns the Pork Pit, a very tasty barbecue restaurant in Ashland. He has an instinct that hasn’t failed him yet. Finnegan Lane is his money-oriented son and Gin’s foster brother with an ego the size of Texas. He’s just turned twenty-one and is finishing up his MBA with an internship. Jolene “Jo-Jo” Deveraux is a dwarven Air elemental who heals the Lanes and Gin when needed; her day job is running a beauty queen beauty parlor out of her home. Sophia Deveraux is Jo-Jo’s Goth sister also an Air elemental who works at the Pork Pit, manning the grill.

Cesar Vaughn, a Stone elemental, runs a construction firm in Ashland. Charlotte Vaughn is his thirteen-year-old, very accident prone daughter. Sebastian is her twenty-three-year-old, totally gorgeous brother. Xavier is the driver Charlotte likes; Porter handles Cesar’s security.

Harry Coolidge is a honest detective — it’s a rarity in this world — who is good friends with Cesar. His wife is Henrietta; their daughter is friends with Charlotte and looks a lot like Bria, Gin’s dead baby sister.

Mab Monroe, a Fire elemental, owns a big chunk of Vaughn’s company; Jonah McAllister is her personal lawyer. Elliot Slater is a giant and the chief of her bodyguards. Tobias Dawson is a coal mine owner. Roslyn Phillips is a vampire about to open a new club, Northern Aggression. Some guy named Owen shows up at just the right time for a ride.

Meredith Ruiz is an event planner.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a browns-to-oranges background of stone with a defiant Gin standing with her chest thrust out, a silverstone blade in each hand with her arms behind her. She’s wearing a cropped black leather jacket, a red T, and fitted black jeans with a large-rivet decorated belt.

The title is a reference to Gin’s first independent kill, and Fletcher’s acknowledgement of her as The Spider. It’s bittersweet.