Release Date: Aug. 21, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books
Elemental Assassins #7
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Author
Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town.
Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back in town, she thinks he’s hers for the taking.
Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread.
Widow’s Web picks up only a few weeks after the conclusion of the last book, By a Thread. The opening is an amazing gut check that will leave you speechless for a couple of moments. It starts with Gin on the job – hunting her prey and preparing to take out her latest target. We learn the intricate details of how she prepared for this kill, and the scene is amazing. Ms. Estep is a masterful story teller, and she sucked me into Gin’s world so quickly.
All-in-all things are going well for Gin. She and Owen are closer than ever, and even the attempts on her life aren’t as frequent as they were after Mab’s death. But all good things must come to an end for our heroine, and that happens the moment Salina Dubois strolls into Underwood restaurant. We discover that this gorgeous southern belle is Owen’s ex, and she has her sites on reclaiming Owen as her own. Once again, Ms. Estep expertly weaves a scene that conveys an immense amount of intimate emotion and reaction. The fact that the story is told from first person puts the reader right in Gin’s head, and my heart was breaking as she notices all of the signs of someone who may still be in love with another.
As the story progresses, we learn that Salina may not be the polite charmer that Owen remembers. Owen’s sister, Eva, and underworld gambling racketeer, Phillip Kincaid, both have much to say about Salina, none of it good. Unfortunately for Gin, she’s now in the middle of an ugly situation — fighting siblings, enemies reengaged, and meanwhile, she’s watching her lover distance himself. This story is full of layers that Gin must peel away to determine where the truth lies. Ultimately, Gin must make some difficult decisions, which add much to her character and the tale. It was hard for me to read at times because I was so worried about what might happen, but in the end Ms. Estep takes the story in the direction it needs to go.
Gin is one of my favorite heroines. She’s an assassin with a heart. She has had so much bad in her life, that she values the good so dearly. And I love that Gin is smart. She notices everything around her, and puts pieces of the puzzle together. There is no finding a clue and then filing it away for another day. Since we are privy to her POV, we figure things out as she does. For example: Gin notices how quickly Kincaid eats and compares it to how she ate when she lived on the streets. That gives us quite a bit of information, rather than letting us figure it on our own.
I also enjoy how Gin’s relationship with her sister, Bria has progressed. In the last book, they began to open up and let go of the past. Ms. Estep has taken their connection another step forward, in fact, Bria even refers to Gin as the Spider without cringing. The pair are learning how to balance their opposing careers (assassin and police office) while continuing to support one another.
Finally, we witness a more emotional, vulnerable Gin. She has a lot on the line as she debates internally how to deal with Salina and what Salina means to Owen. Ms. Estep strikes my heartstrings as she takes Gin on an emotion-filled ride with highs and lows that left me wanting more. Gin is growing past her history with Mab and onto a life that is free of revenge, which opens up so many new avenues for our heroine.
In the end, this story moves and flows. As per usual, there is lots of action and adventure. Widow’s Web has both highs and lows, and I, for one, am happy to take on both ends of the spectrum with Gin as my guide.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
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