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I Belong

Review: Venom by Jennifer Estep

Venom (#3) by Jennifer EstepTitle: Venom

Author: Jennifer Estep

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Elemental Assassin (Book 3)

Publication Date: September 28, 2010

Format: Paperback, 389 Pages

ISBN-10: 1439148015 (Pocket After Dark)

ISBN-13: 978-1439148013 (Pocket After Dark)

Reviewed by: Sheila


What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most.

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists.

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.

Quick & Dirty: Our favorite Spider comes out of the shadows to save a friend from a stalker, and exact a little revenge at the same time.

Opening SentenceThe bastards never even would have gotten close to me if I hadn’t had the flu.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

What entices Gin from her comfortable bar stool in her beloved Pork Pit?  Well, getting the crap beat out of her is a start.  Also, when you find out that a friend who is suffering because she helped you out might be incentive enough.  It might be because Gin finally finds her long lost sister, who happens to be a cop.  Some days, you have to wonder what Gin ever did to Fate to piss her off so bad.

Gin Blanco is a semi-retired assassin that now runs the Pork Pit, the best BBQ restaurant in Ashland.  I say semi-retired because she is slightly bored and keeps doing jobs for friends and underdogs for free; much to the dismay of her foster brother, Finn.  Her last job brought attention to one of Finn’s, and sometimes Gin’s, friend and co-conspirator Roslyn Phillips.  Roslyn is a vampire madam that is being stalked by one of Ashland’s big wigs, Elliot Slater.  Elliot is bad news under normal circumstances, but he has been known to have a high mortality rate among his girlfriends.  Now that he has set his sights on Roslyn, Gin feels guilty for her involvement in them meeting.  Gin has always showed a strong loyal streak when it comes to her friends in the past.  She also has a strict moral code that makes her feel responsible for Roslyn’s dangerous position.  The debt she feels drives her recklessness in rescuing Roslyn from her fate, including drawing the attention of the local police.

Bria Coolidge is the new detective in town.  She also happens to be the long lost sister of Gin.  Bria is strong of character and doesn’t back down when things get hard; kind of like her big sister.  She tries her best to be a good cop in a very corrupt town.  She also knows that there is more to Gin that what meets the eye, and she is not going to stop until she finds out all her dirty secrets.  Though Gin knows the truth of their relationship, she can’t bring herself to tell it to Bria.  Past experience has taught Gin to fear rejection.  Can Bria, a straight shooter, love Gin as she is?  Will Gin’s past be too much for Bria like it was for the sexy absentee detective Donovan Caine?

Speaking of Donovan Caine, Gin has a new love interest in this novel; Owen Grayson.  Owen made his debut in the last book and has made his interest in Gin quite obvious.  He also has a past that is dark and doesn’t hold Gin’s past against her.  We also learn about the first time Gin and Owen meet, so many years ago.  Gin is constantly testing his resolve by flaunting her past and her darker solutions toward problems.  She keeps expecting Owen to be disgusted with her just like Donovan was.  Will Gin open herself up to yet another man who may reject her?  If she does let Owen in, will her experiences with Donovan always overshadow their relationship?

Gin takes an ambitious stand at the end of this book.  Will she survive long enough to avenge her family or is she seriously outclassed?  This series just keeps getting better with each book.  As much as Gin roots for the underdog, I too am hoping that the Spider comes out on top.

Notable Scene:

“I can’t believe you dragged me down here tonight,” I muttered.  “We have things to do, remember?  Long-lost sisters to investigate, Mab Monroe assassination plans to make, her pesky minions to dispatch.  Or have you forgotten about all that?”

Finn pulled his bright green gaze away from a busty blond hooker long enough to glance at me.  “Did you say something, Gin?”

I rolled my eyes.  “Nothing important, apparently.”

The Elemental Assassin 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: Pocket Books graciously provided me with a copy of VenomNo 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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