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I Belong

Review: Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep

Tangled Threads (4) by Jennifer EstepTitle: Tangled Threads

Author: Jennifer Estep

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Elemental Assassin Series (Book 4)

Publication Date: April 26, 2011

Format: Paperback, 357 Pages

ISBN-10: 1439192634 (Pocket After Dark)

ISBN-13: 978-1439192634 (Pocket After Dark)

Reviewed by: Sheila


I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead.

Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too.

The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . .

Quick & Dirty: Our lovable Pork Pit owner gets to enjoy some festive assassination attempts, both as Gin and as the infamous Spider.

Opening Sentence“Are you going to kill this guy?”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Gin Blanco, semi-retired assassin and restaurant owner, has declared open season on Ashland’s most infamous citizen, Fire Elemental Mab Monroe.  So all Gin wants for Christmas this year is for revenge for her family’s death.  And, you know, maybe good will toward man would be nice as well.  Mab has decided she wants something special too; she pays the assassin Elektra LaFleur to take down The Spider.  ‘Tis the Season for our favorite bad girl to show us how good she can truly be.

Gin is in a good place; a place where there is not a whole lot demanding her immediate attention.  Yeah, she is taking out Mab’s infrastructure one piece at a time, but it isn’t anything she can’t handle.  That being said, Gin does have something to really worry about; her emotions.  She does a lot of soul searching in this book about her relationship with her sister and her lover.  Is there room in her life and in her heart for these new people to belong in?  Can she afford to care for them and still be able to protect them from harm?  How much can these two people accept about Gin’s past, especially after the Caine debacle?

Gin’s sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, still doesn’t know the truth of the connection between Gin and herself.  She does know that Gin Blanco is more than what she seems.  Bria is a good cop and a good person.  Gin’s fear is that she will have the same reaction to her being an ex-assassin as another good cop, Detective Donovan Caine.  Gin has a perfect scenario in her mind of her reunion with her baby sister, and disgust and revolt don’t play a part in it.  Is it better for Gin to come clean and have a relationship based on truth?  Or is it easier for all involved if Bria is never let in on the family secret?  What kind of relationship would they be able to have then?  Gin has never struck me as a coward but I understand her hesitation on this matter.  Lovers come and go but she has so very little family; and no one can cut you deeper than family.

Gin’s man, Owen Grayson, is another relationship that needs resolving.  Owen is a man that knows what he wants and doesn’t stop until he gets it.  He knows he wants Gin, past and all, but how can he go about winning the heart of a woman trained to mistrust the motivations of others?  He remains consistently supportive of Gin and her “hobbies” while trying his hardest not pressure her into anything.  He wants her to make the first move; Gin would balk any other way.  Owen’s tenacity is commendable and his efforts prove fruitful.  Gin finally gets what Owen has been offering this whole time; unconditional love.  Now is she woman enough to grab and hold on?

Though the story is really about the “tangled threads” of Gin’s heart, we still see lots of Gin-style action and fighting.  LaFleur is a top notch assassin hired by Mab.  She is strong in Electrical magic and is sadistic enough to kill consistently with it.  She uses not only innocents to tempt the Spider from her lair; she graciously offers to take care of her lover’s, Jonah McAllister’s, restaurant owner problem, lovable and unassuming Gin Blanco.  Wow, right?  Can Gin keep her alter ego a secret while dodging a highly motivated assassin?  How well can the Spider’s Ice and Stone magic be when pitted against a strong Electrical magic user?

As much as I like to read about the Spider’s escapades, I truly enjoyed seeing more of Gin Blanco’s emotions and personal life.  She occasionally comes off as sociopathic in past books but this one puts those thoughts to rest.  Gin is looking past her next hit and her revenge and starting to make a life for herself now.  Her “Robin Hood” persona is endearing, and her friends and family make for a much richer story all around.

Notable Scene:

The whistle sounded again, a harsh scream in the night air, and five seconds later, I saw it.  A train churned this way, moving through the lower level of the yard, a line of cars snaking along behind it like the sections on a fat, metal caterpillar.

The train was moving much faster than I was, and the front engine car drew up next to me in seconds.  I grabbed hold of my Stone magic again, using it to harden my skin once more.  And when one of the train’s many cars passed below me, I jumped.

It felt like I hung in midair for several seconds before finally falling.

I slammed into the top of one of the railcars.  It was a thirty-foot fall, and since my body was already so hard and heavy with my Stone magic, I actually made a dent in the thick metal, a perfect, Gin-shaped groove with arms and legs spread out wide like a cartoon character.  Wiley E. Gin.

Elemental Assassins Series:

1. Spider’s Bite

2. Web of Lies

3. Venom

4. Tangled Threads

5. Spider’s Revenge

5.5 Thread of Death

6. By A Thread

7. Widow’s Web

8. Deadly Sting (March 26, 2013)

FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books graciously provided me with a copy of Tangled ThreadsNo goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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