Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, Book 1)
So, why do most of the heroines in contemporary urban fantasy have to have some sort of tortured past? Aren't crusading women ever just happy? Why can't we all just get along?

That said (or asked), I did enjoy Estep's first novel in the Elemental Assassin series, and even tried to run out and buy the sequel, but it was nowhere to be found in the brick and mortar bookstores locally. I'll have to hit Amazon one of these days, when I'm feeling ambitious.

Gin is a paid assassin, known by the nickname of The Spider - highly paid, by the way. She's also got some elemental magic to add to her killing ways, though she never uses it on the job; it would feel like cheating, as if she wasn't good enough without it. The situation she ends up in pretty quickly in this novel, she's gonna need every advantage to defeat the folks who are out to destroy her.

Gin is contracted to kill an executive at a large corporation, Gordon Giles, suspected of embezzling from the most ruthless businessperson in town, Mab Monroe - a fire elemental. When she gets to the place she's selected to take him down, there's another assassin waiting for her, she's been betrayed by the person who placed the contract. The person responsible also tortures and kills her handler and adopted father, Fletcher, and Fletcher's natural son, Flynn, is next on the list for a visit from the bad guys...well, relatively speaking, bad.

In order to survive and catch the perpetrators, Gin has to ally herself with a police detective, Donovan Caine, who would like to take her out of the picture, himself. It seems that The Spider had a contract to kill his partner the year before. The partner was a rotten person, but somehow Donovan didn't know about it, though he seems to be a bit of a boy scout, himself, yet old enough to know better. To further complicate things, Donovan and Gin feel more than a spark of physical attraction for each other, which threatens to burst into flames, given the right tinder.

I've always been somewhat fond of assassins as anti-heroes, so I got a kick out of this book. It was a little predictable, but Estep has a little different slant on the usual run of monsters available for urban fantasy, using vampires, dwarves and elementals as the leaven in the human dough. The entertainment was worth the price of admission.

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