Book Review: Jennifer Estep’s Poison Promise

Posted May 2, 2015 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 Poison Promise

Poison Promise


Jennifer Estep

It is part of the Elemental Assassin #11 series and is a urban fantasy that was published by Pocket Books on July 22, 2014 and has 400 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, The Spider, Killer Frost, Tan­gled Dreams, Tangled Schemes, Spider's Bargain, "Poison", Spider’s Nemesis, "Wasted", Web of Death, "Web of Deceit", Black Widow, Cold Burn of Magic, The Spider's Trap, Dark Heart of Magic, Bitter Bite, Unraveled, "Nice Guys Bite", Bright Blaze of Magic, Snared, Kill the Queen, "Winter's Web"

Eleventh in the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series and revolving around a “retired” assassin.

If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Elemental Assassin books on my website.

My Take

Part of the story revolves around Finn and the always birthday party he insists on. Another part revolves around Gin’s sister as Gin discovers that little sister is not all that accepting of Gin’s secret role.

A fact that rears up a very ugly head when Gin reports a murder. Bria’s lost someone she owed, and now she’s taking it out on everyone, but especially on Gin. It’s a nasty switch for Gin, to see the ugly on her sister’s face. To realize where that look comes from. It does lead to Xavier really tearing into Bria. Does a good job of pointing out what a hypocrite she is! But it’s not working and Bria is so incredibly careless.

We get a bit more on Roslyn’s background. How she got out of the life and opened Northern Aggression. Some scary stuff, there.

As for Gin versus Beauregard, it’s a battle of calm, for Beau needs, wants, is addicted to the fear and terror of his potential victims. For Gin, it’s a battle against her better nature and her fear for her family, how tired she is of battling the would-be assassins around every corner.

“‘You can’t just keep killing people for free. Pro bono is not a phrase that is in the Finnegan Lane vocabulary.’

‘Oh, no,’ I drawled. ‘But greedy, shameless hustler certainly is.’

‘Damn skippy.'”

I do love Gin’s feistiness. She won’t let anything get her down. She’ll even use the torture to discover a new release and insight into herself.

We also learn a bit more about Gin’s life on the streets, and it’s her reflection on one particular incident that makes Gin realize how wrong she’s been.

Gin’s rep is on the line, and I do love how she turns that around. Whew… Estep keeps getting Gin into some tricky situations, and it’s such a treat to see how Estep gets her back out again.

Pant, pant, gotta catch my breath… It’s this story that sets up Black Widow, 12. Unfortunately for me, I missed Poison Promise somehow, so I can tell you from experience: Do NOT read these out of order. It’s very confusing. I found myself questioning events and characters throughout, trying to figure out where they fit into the later story I had read too soon.

The Story

It’s a drug-pushin’ ex-boyfriend who brings Gin’s attention to a new drug setting Ashland a’fire while a new elemental magic user wielding a completely new type of magic gets Gin’s curiosity up and running.

But it’s the threat to family that raises Gin’s ire.

The Characters

Gin Blanco, who has Ice and Stone elemental magic, is turning thirty-one, perpetual student and do-gooder, and the retired assassin known as the Spider. Fletcher Lane was her mentor who died a year ago and left her the restaurant. Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s few good cops, is her baby sister with a gift for Ice, who somehow survived their childhood slaughter. The flirtatious, very well-dressed Finn Lane is Fletcher’s son and like a brother to Gin. He’s also quite the sharpshooter.

“Finn also ostensibly worked as an investment banker, although shameless, greedy money launderer would have been a far more accurate description of his job.”

Owen Grayson is a metal elemental and in love with Gin. Eva Grayson is Owen’s baby sister. Violet Fox is Eva’s best friend. Warren T. Fox is Violet’s grandfather. Phillip Kincaid is back to being one of Owen’s friends; he’s also hip-deep in the criminal factions with his floating casino, the Delta Queen. Gustav is his chef.

The Pork Pit is…
…a barbecue restaurant left to Gin by Fletcher. And damn, if Estep doesn’t half make me hungry for barbecue and coleslaw! Sophia Devereaux, a goth dwarf, is the head cook with a talent for Air magic and very helpful in disappearing bodies. Catalina Vasquez works as a waitress there while she attends college. Silvio is her uncle. Laura was Catalina’s mother. Jolene “Jo-Jo” Devereaux is Sophia’s sister and also has an Air power. She uses hers to heal Gin up in between making the beauty queen wanna-bes and their mamas look good in her beauty salon. Cooper Stills is a dwarven blacksmith and Jo-Jo’s beau.

Ashland PD
The giant Detective Xavier is Bria’s partner, and he’s in love with Roslyn. Cassie works in the lab.

Roslyn, a vampire who owns Northern Aggression, a decadent, after-hours bar. Lisa is her sister; Catherine is Lisa’s daughter.

Silvio Sanchez is the smart, vicious second-in-command to Beauregard Benson, the drug-dealing vampire king of Southtown with Air magic. And Beau has got a magic that is absolutely terrifying. Johnny, Derrick, and Joan are some of his guards.

Troy Mannis is a childhood friend of Catalina’s whom she wants nothing to do with anymore. Max Young is a young snitcher. Jonah McAllister had been Mab’s lawyer, and he has an itch to take Gin down hard. Lorelei Parker and Ron Donaldson are some of the other underworld bosses. Madeline Magda Monroe is Mab’s daughter, and she’s come to Ashland. Emery Slater, a giant, is her personal bodyguard; Elliot Slater was her uncle — and Madeline’s father.

Burn is the latest designer drug coming into Ashland.

Charlotte Vaughan still runs Vaughan Construction. Coral is a hooker Gin saved when she was on the streets. Reggie is her pimp.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a poisonous look to it with all that green. The green tinted rock with Gin’s rune drawn on in blood, dripping down the battered wall. A belligerent Gin with her arms crossed and in a cocky stance in a deep green tank top, her silverstone knives in sheaths at her waist like six-guns, her black jeans painted on. There’s more green in the soft pastel gradient in Poison as it wraps itself around the golden Promise.

The title is what Gin will provide, a Poison Promise for a poisonous man.