maandag 29 november 2010

Jennifer Estep – Web of Lies

The second book in the Elemental Assassin series, published in 2010.

Web of lies

Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I'm Gin Blanco.
You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I'm retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren't aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I'm a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn't made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

Gin is still thinking about the things Fletcher left her after his death. The fact that he has always known who she really is, that her baby sister is still alive while Gin though she was responsible for her death 17 years ago. And why is Mab Monroe’s name in the file? Is she the fire elemental who murdered her family and tortured Gin? What is she to do about Bria, where can she find her? And will she be happy with an older sister who is an assassin?

She also never knew retirement would be so … boring. She still works the dayshift in the Pork Pit, the restaurant Fletcher left her. She still loves to cook, but she is at a loss what to do with her evenings now there are no files to study, people to track down and kill. And that handsome detective Donovan Caine also hasn’t contacted her. Even though there is this huge attraction between them, his morals get in the way. Of all the cops in Ashland, Gin had to fall for the only honest one.

Then two young men try to rob her restaurant, taking one of her customers hostage. Gin and Sophia, her cook and cleanup crew, take quickly care of that. But this little mouse has a very long tale, as one of them is the son of the most important lawyer in Ashland, also close friends with Mab Monroe, the fire elemental who runs the town. And he can make life very difficult for her when she presses charges against his son. But Gin isn’t afraid of him, and she won’t stand back for a bully. If word gets around that she gave in, her place will be robbed all the time, and Jake MacAllister will make it his hobby to harass her. After all, he will never forgive her for defeating him.

Another piece of the tail is, the girl taken hostage is the beloved sister of another very powerful man. Owen Grayson is not a friend of Mab Monroe, and he quickly becomes very interested in Gin, in a personal way. Especially when she doesn’t want his money for saving his sister. Of course, she made millions as an assassin, and doesn’t need the money MacAllister senior is trying to buy her of with, or the money Owen wants to thank her with. But she does take the favor he will own her in future.

The very next day, shots are fired into her restaurant. Luckily the window is bullet proof, so no one gets hurt. But tracking down the shooter is not so easy. And when Gin finds out she was not the target, that Jake MacAllister is not the shooter, but the young girl who just asked about the Tin Man was, her curiosity gets the better part of her. She has Finn find out everything he can about her, and tracks Violet Fox back to the university, where they are just in time to safe her from being raped and murdered by a dwarf.

It turns out her grandfather and Fletcher were old friends, who split up over a woman who made a fool of the both of them. A powerful dwarf miner, Tobias Dawson, another one of Mab Monroe’s friends, is trying to get them to sell the property their family has lived on for over 300 years, so he can mine some more coal. Killing the mountain in the process. Warren T. Fox refuses again and again, and Dawson is increasing the pressure to sell. If not legal, than by illegal means. And killing certainly will get him what he wants.

To Gin’s surprise, Donovan Caine is an old friend of the family, and also there when they all arrive. And of course he cannot accept that Gin will have to kill Dawson to get him of the Foxes’ back. But he will also do nothing to prevent it. And that is killing him.

I really loved this book. Filled with action, and direct decisions. And perhaps Gin will finally get over Caine, he is just not meant for her. Lots of magic, colourful characters. Murder and danger, and I just have to read the next one, Venom. I want to know what will happen in this book too.

I like Gin and her friends, they don’t hesitate to do what is necessary, how cold it sounds. But they also stand for the innocent, and do something pro bono. And that retirement? Perhaps she will continue on that path, or not.

8 stars.

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