Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Review By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

Summary from GoodReads: When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.
Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.

In By a Thread we start shortly after the end of Spider's Revenge. Gin is feeling a bit tired and just wants small break from being sought after since the climax in Spider's Revenge (I'm trying to be spoiler free here for those who have not read the series or gotten to book 5 yet.) Her adoptive brother, Finn tries to subtly suggest they go on a posh/ luxury vacation. Gin hesitates at first until, as usual, a couple of goons try to nab her in the back alley outside the Pork Pit. After dealing with them and going back inside, she decides maybe taking a vacation from the Pit and Ashland would be a good idea, which of course pleases Finn to no end.

Gin leaves with her sister Bria and we find they they are still trying to piece things together with hoe things between them will work. The check into the hotel and then head to a small restaurant owned by Bria's best friend, Callie. Well, very shortly after some goons show up and threaten Callie to sell or else...When Bria steps in and the goons threaten her Gin takes it personal and she breaks out her skills and send them packing back to their boss. Wit the goons hot for their trail to finish their job, Brian and Gin leave the hotel to seek hideout. They come to find out that a Vampire gang leader is out to get Callie's land to build his Resort and will do anything to get it. However, when the local police are called in we get an unexpected re-appearance of ex-fling Donovan Caine, who is now a cop in Blue Marsh. And to top that off...he's Callie's fiancee!

Donovan would love nothing more then for Gin to go back to Ashland with her friends and disappear, but with Bria getting involved we know Gin won't back down. With the help of Finn, Own and Bria they find out about how to get to the vampire and get him to back off of Callie. Once the plan is in place and in action, Gin encounters a huge kink which she doesn't know how to deal with...the Vampire in question has elemental powers. *spoiler* Little did she know it was a trap to begin with. The vamp has a connection to Gin's latest nemesis back home - Johan McAllister. He has told the vamp about Gin's elemental powers, that she IS the Spider and Bria also has elemental powers. He wants nothing more then to trap and farm Gin...not for her money of course, her elemental blood. He manages to trap gin and drain her to near death, only to leave her with one option...escape.

She does manage to escape, but barely and finds her way back to her hideout where the usual crew from Ashland has come to help her recover and plot to take him out. Gin is feeling that she's weak, and not as sharp as she was before, but he training tells her to take out her trouble before it can best her. So she again plots to kill the vamp, however another twist is thrown in to make the job harder. She eventually does go after the vamp and things end in their typical manner - kill a few giants and goons, saves the day and kills the bad guy. Oh, and finally puts Donovan in his place and walks away.

I've always loved this series since I did a buddy read a while back. There are some redundancies which do leave one wondering what could possibly come next? We have the usual where gin takes on the pro-Bono case and becomes the Spider again, Bria and Gins tension, more goons and Giants, and the group - Finn, Owen, Sophia and JoJo. I'm hoping that in the next round things will be stepped up and a different twist will be added to make this story a bit more intriguing and have more depth. Overall it had the action I love and the characters I've come to admire. A good 4 of 5 stars.

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