Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin Series #4)

( 218 )


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 ...

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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. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It’s assassin vs. assassin in the fourth chapter of Estep’s outstanding Elemental Assassin series. Gin Blanco is one the most intriguing heroines on the scene today. As the action heats up, Estep thoughtfully reveals additional aspects of Gin’s character, showcasing her evolution. If you have not gotten on the Gin bandwagon yet, do so today!"
- Romantic Times, Top Pick! (4 1/2 stars)

“Estep has truly hit the jackpot with this outstanding series!” —Romantic Times

“Gin is an assassin to die for.” —Adrian Phoenix, author of Etched in Bone

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439192634
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Series: Elemental Assassin Series, #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Simon & Schuster
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 119,830
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads, Spider’s Revenge, By a Thread, Widow’s Web, Deadly Sting, Heart of Venom, The Spider, Poison Promise, and Black Widow, along with the e-shorts Thread of Death, Parlor Tricks, and Kiss of Venom, are the other titles in her red-hot Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Jennifer is also the author of the Black Blade and Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series. For more on Jennifer and her books, visit JenniferEstep.com and @Jennifer_Estep.

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Read an Excerpt


“Are you going to kill this guy? Or are we just going to sit here all night?”

“Patience, Finn,” I murmured. “We’ve been in the car for only an hour.”

“Longest hour of my life,” he muttered.

I arched an eyebrow and looked over at Finnegan Lane, my partner in crime for the night. Most nights, actually. Just after ten o’clock a few days before Christmas, and we sat in the darkened front of Finn’s black Cadillac Escalade. An hour ago, Finn had parked the car in a secluded, out-of-the-way alley overlooking the docks that fronted the Aneirin River. We’d been sitting here, and Finn had been grousing ever since.

Finn shifted in his seat, and my gray eyes flicked over him. The wool fabric of his thick coat outlined his broad shoulders, while a black watchman’s cap covered his walnut-colored hair. His eyes were a bright green even in the semidarkness, and the shadows did little to hide the square handsomeness of his face.

Most women would be glad to be in such close quarters with Finnegan Lane. With his easy smile and natural charm, Finn would have already had the majority of them in the backseat, pants off, legs up, steam covering the windows as the car rocked back and forth.

Good thing I wasn’t most women.

“Come on, Gin,” Finn whined again. “Go stick a couple of your knives in that guy and leave your rune for Mab to find so we can get out of here.”

I stared out the car window. Across the street, bathed in the golden glow of a streetlight, the guy in question continued to unload wooden crates from the small tugboat that he’d pulled up to the dock forty-five minutes ago. Even from this distance, I could hear the warped, weathered boards creak under his weight as the river rushed on by beneath them.

The man was a dwarf—short, squat, stocky, sturdy—and dressed in black clothes practically identical to the ones that Finn and I were wearing. Jeans, boots, sweater, jacket. The sorts of anonymous clothes you wore to go skulking about late at night, especially in this rough Southtown neighborhood, and most especially when you didn’t want anyone else to see what you were up to.

Or when you were planning on killing someone, like I was tonight. Most nights, actually.

I rubbed my thumb over the hilt of the silverstone knife that I held in my lap. The metal glinted dully in the darkness of the car, and the weight of the weapon felt cold and comforting to me. The knife rested lightly on the spider rune scar embedded in my palm.

It would be easy enough to give in to Finn’s whining. To slip out of the car, cross the street, creep up behind the dwarf, cut his throat, and shove his body off the dock and into the cold river below. I probably wouldn’t even get that much blood on my clothes, if I got the angles just right.

Because that’s what assassins did. That’s what I did. Me. Gin Blanco. The assassin known as the Spider, one of the best around.

But I didn’t get out of the car and get on with things like Finn wanted me to. Instead, I sighed. “He hardly seems worth the trouble. He’s a flunkie, just like all the others that I’ve killed these past two weeks. Mab will hire someone else to take his place before they even dredge his body out of the river.”

“Hey, you were the one who decided to declare war on Mab Monroe,” Finn pointed out. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that you were rather eager to kill your way up to the top of the food chain until you got to her. You said it would be fun.

“That was six hits ago. Now I’d just like to kill Mab and give everyone in Ashland an early Christmas present, myself included.” My turn to grouse.

But Finn was right. A few weeks ago, a series of events had led me to officially declare war on Mab, and now I was dealing with the fallout—and the tedious boredom of it all.

Mab Monroe was the Fire elemental who ran the southern metropolis of Ashland like it was her own personal kingdom. To most folks, Mab was a paragon of virtue who used her magic, business connections, and money to fund worthwhile charity projects throughout the city. But those of us who strolled through the shady side of life knew Mab for what she really was—the head of a moblike empire that included everything from gambling and drugs to prostitution and kidnappings. Murder, extortion, torture, blackmail, beatings. Mab ordered all that and more, practically on a daily basis. But the Fire elemental was so wealthy, so powerful, so strong in her magic that no one dared to stand up to her.

Until me.

I had a special reason to hate Mab—she’d murdered my mother and older sister when I was thirteen. And she’d been planning on doing the same thing to me and my baby sister, Bria. But first, Mab had captured and tortured me that fateful night so long ago. Which is how I’d ended up with a pair of matching scars on my hands.

I put my knife down long enough to rub first one scar, then the other with my fingers. A small circle surrounded by eight thin rays was branded into each of my palms. A spider rune. The symbol for patience. My assassin name.

And one that Mab Monroe was now seeing everywhere she went.

For the past two weeks, I’d been stalking Mab’s men, getting a feel for her operation, seeing exactly what kinds of illegal pies she had her sticky fingers in. And along the way, I’d picked off some of her minions when I caught them doing things that they shouldn’t, hurting people that they shouldn’t. A twist of my knife, a slash of my blade, and Mab had one less soldier in her little army of terror.

Killing her men hadn’t been hard, not for me. I’d spent the last seventeen years of my life being an assassin, being the Spider, until I’d retired a few months ago. Certain skills you just never forgot.

Normally, though, when I killed someone I left nothing behind. No fingerprints, no weapon, no DNA. But with Mab’s men, I’d purposefully drawn the image of my spider rune at every scene, close to every body I left behind. Taunting her. Letting Mab know exactly who was responsible for messing up her plans and that I was determined to pick her empire apart one body at a time, if I had to.

Which is why Finn and I were now sitting in the dark down by the docks in this dangerous Southtown neighborhood. Finn had gotten a tip from one of his sources that Mab had a shipment of drugs or some other illegal paraphernalia coming into Ashland tonight. As the Spider, I’d decided to come down here and see what I could do to foul up Mab’s plans once more, thumb my nose at her, and generally piss her off.

“Come on, Gin,” Finn cut into my musings. “Make a move already. The guy’s alone. We would have seen his partner by now, if he’d had one.”

I looked at the dwarf. He’d finished unloading the boxes from the tugboat and was now busy hauling them over to a van parked at the end of the dock.

“I know,” I said. “But something about this just doesn’t seem right.”

“Yeah,” Finn muttered. “The fact that I can’t feel my feet anymore and you won’t let me turn on the heater.”

“Drink your coffee, then. It’ll make you feel better. It always does.”

For the first time tonight, a grin spread across Finn’s face. “Why, I think that’s an excellent idea.”

Finn reached down and grabbed a large metal thermos from the floorboard in the backseat. He cracked open the top, and the caffeine fumes of his chicory coffee filled the car. The rich smell always reminded me of his father, Fletcher Lane, my mentor, the one who’d taught me everything I knew about being an assassin. The old man had drunk the same foul brew as his son before he’d died earlier this year. I smiled at the memory and the warmth it stirred in me.

While Finn drank his coffee, I stared out at the scene before me once more. Everything seemed still, quiet, cold, dark. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. That something was just slightly off about this whole setup. Fletcher had always told me that nobody ever got dead by waiting just a few more minutes. His advice had kept me alive this long, and I had no intention of disregarding it now.

Once again my eyes scanned the area. Deserted street. A few dilapidated buildings hugging the waterfront. The black ribbon of the Aneirin River in the distance. The pale boards of the dock. A lone light flickering over the dwarf’s head.

My eyes narrowed, and I focused on the light. The bright, intact light burning like a beacon in the dark night. Then I looked up and down the street, my gaze flicking from one iron post to the next. Every other light on the block was busted out. Not surprising. This was Southtown, after all, the part of Ashland that was home to gangbangers, vampire prostitutes, and junkie elementals strung out on their own magic and hungry for more. People would just as soon kill you as look at you here. Not a place you wanted to linger, even during the daylight hours.

So I wasn’t surprised that the streetlights had been broken, probably long ago, by the rocks, beer bottles, and other trash that littered the street. What did surprise me was the fact that there was one still burning—the one right over the van that the dwarf was packing his boxes into.

How … convenient.

“You might as well get comfortable,” I said, staring at the lone light. “Because we’re going to be here a while longer.”

Finn just groaned.

We didn’t have long to wait. Ten minutes later, the dwarf finished loading the last of his boxes into the van. Once I started watching him—really watching him—I realized that he’d been taking his sweet time about things. Moving slower than a normal person would have, especially considering the bitter cold that frosted Ashland tonight. But then again, this was far from the innocent scene that it appeared to be.

Now the dwarf stood beside the van, smoking a cigarette and staring into the darkness with watchful eyes.

“What’s he doing?” Finn asked, taking another sip of coffee. “If the man had any sense, he’d crank up the heater in that van and get out of here.”

“Just wait,” I murmured. “Just wait.”

Finn sighed and drank some more of his chicory brew.

Five more minutes passed before a flash of movement along the dock caught my eye.

“There,” I said and leaned forward. “Right fucking there.

A figure stepped out from behind a small shack squatting at the far end of the dock that jutted out into the river.

Finn jerked upright and almost spilled his coffee on the leather seats. “Where the hell did he come from?”

“Not he,” I murmured. “She.”

The woman strolled down the dock toward the dwarf. Despite the darkness, the single streetlight still burning let me get a good look at her. She was petite and slender, about my age, thirty or so. She had a short bob of glossy black hair, held back with a headband, and her features had an Asian flavor to them—porcelain skin, expressive eyes, delicate cheekbones. She also wore black from head to toe, just like the rest of us.

I frowned. No woman in her right mind would walk through this neighborhood alone at night. Hell, not many would dare to do it during the day. Much less wait more than an hour in a run-down shack on a December night when the temperature hovered in the low twenties.

Unless she had a very, very good reason for being there.

And I was beginning to think I knew exactly what that reason was—me.

The woman reached the dwarf, who crushed out his cigarette. She said something to the man, who just shrugged his shoulders. The woman turned and scanned the street, much the same way that I’d been doing for the last hour. But I knew she couldn’t see us, given where we were parked. The Dumpster sitting at the end of the narrow alley in front of Finn’s vehicle screened us from her line of sight.

After another thirty seconds of looking, the woman turned back to the dwarf and advanced on him. For a moment he looked confused. Then startled. Then his eyes widened, and he turned and started running away from her.

He got maybe five steps before the woman lifted her right hand—and green lightning shot out of her fingertips.

Finn jerked, almost spilling his coffee again. Even I blinked at the sudden, powerful flash of light.

The dwarf arched his back and screamed, his harsh cry echoing down the deserted street, as the lightning slammed into his body. The woman advanced on him, the magical light in her hand intensifying as she stepped closer.

And she was so fucking strong. She stood at least a hundred feet away from me, but I could still sense the sharp, static crackle of her power even here in the car. The feel of her elemental magic made the spider rune scars on my palms itch and burn the way they always did whenever I was exposed to so much power, to so much raw magic. And she had plenty to spare.

A second later, the dwarf caught fire. He wobbled back and forth before pitching to the cracked pavement, but the woman didn’t stop her magical assault. She stood over his body, sending wave after wave of lightning into his figure, even as the green elemental flames of her power consumed his skin, hair, and clothes.

When she was done, the woman curled her hand into a tight fist. The bright lightning flickered, then sparked away into nothingness, like a flare that had been snuffed out. Greenish gray smoke wafted up from her fingertips, and she blew it away into the frosty night air, like an Old West gunfighter cooling down his Colt after a shootout. How dramatic.

“Did you see that?” Finn whispered, his coffee forgotten, his green eyes wide and round in his face. “She electrocuted him.”

“Yeah. I saw.”

I didn’t add that she’d used elemental magic to do it. Finn had seen that for himself.

Elementals were people who could create, control, and manipulate one of the four elements—Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone. Those were the areas that most folks were gifted in, the ones you had to be able to tap into to be considered a true elemental. But magic had many forms, many quirks, and some people could use other areas, offshoots of one of the four elements. Metal was an offshoot of Stone, and electricity was one of Air.

One that Finn and I had just seen used to deadly efficiency, thanks to our mystery woman.

I was an elemental too. In my case, I had the rare ability of being able to control two elements—Ice and Stone. But I’d never seen someone with electrical power before. And I wasn’t so sure it was a good thing that I had now.

The woman stuck the toe of her boot into the man’s ribs. A large hunk of his body disintegrated into gray ash at her touch and puffed up like some kind of cold, macabre fog. A sliver of a smile lifted her lips at the sight. Then she reached inside her coat, drew out something white, and tossed it down on top of his body before heading toward the van and sliding inside.

Thirty seconds later, the woman drove the van down the street, turned the corner, and disappeared from view. But instead of watching the vehicle, I stared at the burned-out body that she’d left behind, wondering what that bit of white was on the dwarf’s still-smoking chest.

“You want me to follow her?” Finn asked, his hand hovering over the keys in the ignition.

I shook my head. “No. Stay here and keep an eye out.”

I got out of the car and made my way across the street, slithering from shadow to shadow, a silverstone knife in either hand. After about five minutes of careful creeping and lots of pauses to look and listen, I reached the edge of the building closest to the dwarf. I crouched there in the black shadows, out of sight, until I was sure that the mystery woman wasn’t going to circle back around the block and see if anyone had come to inspect her shocking handiwork. Then I drew in a breath, stood up, and walked over to the dead dwarf.

Even now, ten minutes after the initial attack, smoke still curled up from his body, the elegant, green-gray ribbons wafting up to the black sky. I breathed in through my mouth, but the stench of charred flesh still filled my nose. The familiar, acrid scent triggered all sorts of emotions that were better left dead and buried deep inside me. But they bubbled to the surface, whether I wanted them to or not.

For a moment, I was thirteen again, weeping, wailing, and staring down at the ashy, flaky ruined thing that had been my mother, Eira, before Mab Monroe had used her elemental Fire to burn her to death. And the matching husk that had been my older sister, Annabella. Trying not to vomit as I realized the cruel thing that had been done to them. That was going to be done to Bria and me before the night was through. Sweet, little Bria …

I ruthlessly shook away the memory. My hands had curled into fists so tight that I could feel the hilts of my silverstone knives digging into the spider rune scars on my palms. I forced myself to relax my grip, then bent down on my knees so I could get a better look at the white blob resting on the dwarf’s back.

To my surprise, it was a single white orchid, exquisite, elegant, and petal soft in the dark.

My eyes narrowed, and I regarded the blossom with a thoughtful expression. I knew what the flower meant and exactly who had left it behind to be found. It was her calling card, her name, rank, and trademark, just as my spider rune was. Something that she’d put here to announce her presence, mark her kill, and serve as a warning to anyone who dared to get in her way.

She was taunting me, just as I’d been doing to Mab Monroe these last two weeks.

“LaFleur,” I muttered, saying her name out loud.

Because the simple fact was that an assassin had come to Ashland—one who was here to kill me.

© 2011 Jennifer Estep

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 218 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 218 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Assassin against Assassin!

    I love the premise of this book. Mab Monroe is pissed that the Spider has killed her top enforcer and has hired LaFleur (another female assassin) to take the Spider out. Also, on Mab's hit list is Gin Blanco, the owner of the Pork Pitt and Bria Coolidge, the town's newest cop. Mab doesn't know that the Spider will do anything to protect her loved ones! Although this book wasn't nearly as bloody as previous books (the Spider is retired, afterall), it is still packed with action. LaFleur is the perfect nemesis and is totally cold and heartless and loves zapping and killing folks with her electrical magic. There is a wonderful build up as we know that ultimately, it will come down to the Spider against Mab! I know who I'll be routing for! This reader is anxiously awaiting the next installment.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2011

    another great addition to the series

    Like the preceding books in this thrilling series, Tangled Threads packs a great deal of punch. Gin is back, guns (or shall we say, knives) blazing and is reeking havoc on Mab Monroe and her followers. Once again, Estep delivers Gin's story in the same dark, gritty tone that we as readers have grown accustomed to.

    However, what makes the fourth installment standout is that Gin's emotional ride takes the front seat, when in the past the books have been more focused on her career and skills as an assassin. We are finally able to see her develop stable relationships with those around her, namely Owen. Can I just take this moment to say, Donovan Caine, who? The storyline with Gin's long lost baby sister also finally see's some development. I don't want to say what exactly happens, but just know that there is a great deal of progression in the sisters' storyline.

    Finn, Gin's foster brother is also back as her trusty partner-in-crime. I have to be honest, the relationship between these two is my favorite of the series. They bicker and banter, but at the end of the day they really do love each other. Plus, I won't lie, I kind of love Finnegan Lane.

    By shaping these relationships for Gin, Estep continues to do the seemingly impossible task of creating an assassin with a heart. Honestly, that is one of the highlights of this series; Gin is such a contradiction - she is overwhelmingly tough, yet she is a pushover at the same time. Once again, in Tangled Threads, Gin's heart gets her into some sticky situations. But that's what is so appealing about her - it makes her a character you want to champion, even though she making a living killing people.

    The villain in the story, Elektra, is easily my favorite of the series. She is the assassin that Mab hires to take Gin (well, the Spider) out. Elektra is the kind of villain we all love to hate - she is extremely confident and completely evil. She, like Gin, is an elemental - she has power over electricity. This nice lady loves to fry people. Obviously, she is easy to hate, but she is also a fun character to read about. I much prefer her to the Tobias Dawson and Elliot Slater.

    The only complaint I have about Tangled Threads is the same complaint I had for Web of Lies and Venom. There is just simply too text that deals with repeating prior storylines. I get what Estep is trying to do, she wants to make sure readers remember all of the key points so that there isn't any confusion moving forward. However, I literally skipped pages worth of writing, because the recaps are insanely in depth.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Gin Blanco returns in book four of the Elemental Assassin series

    Gin Blanco returns in book four of the Elemental Assassin series. This time around Gin is toying with Mab, the fire elemental that murdered her family when she was a child. Mab is a formidable opponent, she has all the corrupt people in Ashland under her thumb. In an attempt to get rid of the thorn in her side, Mab hires an assassin to get rid of The Spider (aka Gin Blanco).

    Gin doesn't just have Mab and the assassin looking for her though, Gin's little sister Bria is on the case trying to figure out who The Spider is and why she's picking off Mab's men one by one. Bria has a suspicion that The Spider is her long lost sister, but she isn't sure who that person is. Gin knows who Bria is, but cannot tell her the truth without risking losing her little sister just like how she lost Donovan Caine. I feel like Bria and Donovan have a lot in common, they're both honest cops that are dedicated to their job. I'll be interested to see what happens in the next book.

    My biggest and only real complaint is that there was a lot of repetition in this book. I've had this discussion with a few authors in the past to gauge what people (readers) prefer, but I tend to like only a bit of refresher. I'm probably noticing it more so than most due to listening to the books one after another.

    Gin's character is growing, she's not just a cold blooded killer compared to the previous books. She's learning new things about herself and facing tough decisions. She's still dating Owen Grayson, and as in any relationship their feelings for one another are growing. My main concern is that Gin will eventually push Owen away due to trying to protect him. That isn't an issue in this book really, and I'm hoping it won't be an issue later on in the series. I love pretty much everything about the Elemental Assassin series so far, and highly suggest it to any Urban Fantasy lover out there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    I recently discovered this series and have been pleasantly surpr

    I recently discovered this series and have been pleasantly surprised. I just started it last week and completed book 4 today. HOWEVER I was HIGHLY disappointed that the preview for what I assumed was next in the series was actually 4 books later and actually ruined a major plot line for me.
     I will no longer be reading book previews at the end of the story until I verify that it is indeed the next in the series. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Finally the meeting between Mab and Gin

    This book has been a long time coming. I didn't know what to expect as the Spider has not been her confident self lately. I was on edge the whole time I was reading this installment. Estep always brings a lot of different emotions into the story, which I love. Many times I have cried for and with Gin. You won't be sorry that you read this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013


    From the minute I read the first book in this series I've been hooked.Will be right there till the end.Love all the main charcater;good and bad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Need to read for Urban Fantasy Fans

    Estep has done it again a book full of non stop action! I just couldn't put this book down! I literally sat in the parking lot of my work because I had one chapter to read and could not go a moment more without finishing it! One of those books where you get a giddy feeling and a smile on your face when it's final over. Gin never ceases to amaze me with her quick thinking and kick ass attitude :) can't wait for the next one!

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    love love

    i have read all of this series so far love it gin is the kinda female i wanted to be when i was young.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Magic powers and power plays

    Not your typical good v. evil as the "good" characters are a bit evil. Found I got into the book more toward the end. Didn't read the first books in the series but no trouble following the plot.

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  • Posted September 22, 2012

    getting pretty repetative

    How many times do we need to hear how Gins family died? or how many times do we need to hear about Donovan leaving. come on already, this is book 4, we KNOW this stuff!!! but yet we get it thrown at us darn near every other chapter. time to nix this series i think.

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  • Posted August 26, 2012

    Great book!

    Great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012



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  • Posted May 18, 2012

    Great Book!

    I have read most of the EA series and this book was a good one!!

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Get Caught in the Spider's Web

    Your friendly neighborhood assassin is back. But unfortunately for the Spider, there's a new hired hand on Mab's payroll. Renowned assassin LaFleur has come to Ashland, and her number one priority is Gin.

    Gin Blanco, humble restaurateur by day, semi retired killer by night, has declared war on Ashland's reining mobster, Mab Monroe. Gin aka the Spider has been systematically taking out low level minions in Mab's organization working her way up to the queen bee. Gin's constant challenge of Mab's authority has the finest sharks in Ashland smelling blood in the water. Frustrated and trying to maintain her hold on the city's underworld, Mab's next move is crucial. Enter Elektra LaFleur. An extremely efficient assassin, and electric elemental, dead set on eliminating the now notorious Spider.

    Oh, what Tangled Threads are weaved, but not just on the war front. Estep is taking things a bit further in Gin's love life. Sexy Owen Grayson is making his presence known and quickly finding a place in not only Gin's heart but the readers with his understanding, and determination to stick. No matter how hard Gin tries to shake him. Gone are the days of Detective Caine, but the scars he imposed remain, making Gin all the more skittish. Add in Blanco's tentative relationship with her long lost baby sister Bria, and Gin might make that child size crack in the wall behind the Pork Pit big enough for her adult self to crawl into.

    But the Spider's going to have to come out of hiding because LaFleur has added a couple of names to her death list: Spider, Detective Bria Coolidge, and Gin Blanco. With her duel identities in jeopardy Gin might not have the luxury of keeping her secret alter ego intact. She's going to have to come out to Bria sooner or later the question is will her feelings air on the side of her predecessor the loved and loathed Caine or the excepting Grayson. One thing is for sure, this is one fight Gin can't afford lose, because if the truth gets out more lives than her sister's will be at stake. LaFleur is more than Gin's equal in ability and the trade. The Spiders has met her match and it's going to take all her strength and cunning to survive.

    Tangled Threads, Estep's fourth volume in the Elemental Assassins Series starts off with a bang and keeps the pace going. I like how she integrates the action, story lines, background information, and personal life of our heroine without creating a lull. Everything is balanced well to maintain the readers attention. Gin's progression in her elemental abilities with each book are starting to come together. What I didn't like about Tangled Threads was all of the recapping from the previous books Estep was including. I know it's necessary, but I felt like there was too much of it especially in the beginning of the book. Some of it also seemed redundant.

    Overall I loved this book, and highly recommend this series. Tangled Threads will wrap you up so you won't want to put it down.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fast Paced Amazing Read

    "Are you going to kill this guy? Or are we just going to sit here all night?" With that opening line, Estep does not let me down with the fourth installment of her Elemental Assassin series. Gin Blanco and the rest of the characters are just as snarky as ever but now Estep reveals that even a hard-ass assassin can find love and acceptance. My favorite scene has to be at the end when Gin walks into Owen's living room with her baby sister at her side. I actually had tears starting! Tangled Threads focuses on Gin's vendetta on Mab Monroe for killing her family. The only other survivor is Gin's baby sister, Bria, who is now a police detective who has made it her goal to find the Spider and stop her from killing. Little does she know that the Spider and Bria's missing sister Genevieve Snow are one and the same but now known as Gin Blanco. Gin struggles with how she is going to reveal herself to Bria. She doesn't think she could handle it if Bria rejects her. Before she can deal with Bria, she must finish her war with Mab. Slowly Gin works her way up the ladder, leaving her mark so that Mab knows the Spider is gunning for her. Mixed into all of this, Gin is also struggling with her feelings for Owen. She is just waiting for that day that Owen looks at her with disgust and leaves her like Donovan Caine did. Owen is making it pretty clear that he is in it for the long haul and is patient with her. And to just make matters even more complicated, Mab has hired another assassin named LaFleur to take out the Spider once and for all. Another fast-paced amazing read. Estep knows how to keep a reader glued to her stories. If you have missed the other books in the series it is time to start catching up!

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    This is a consistent series, which is both a negative and a positive in different ways. The individual plot of each book is always interesting, and Estep does a good job of introducing new intriguing characters throughout the series. But while I find almost all the characters intriguing, they still remain somewhat one-dimensional even though this is the fourth book in the series.

    Although this book continued to be written in the same fashion as the previous ones, where Gin tends to repeat herself a lot and refer to people by their titles even though by now we all know who they are, it wasn't quite as bad or as frequent as in the past. But that being said, I find that writing style rather distant and I think that contributes to my lack of connection to Gin. I like her, but I'm not particularly attached to her or overly emotionally involved as I often get. She did open up a little more to Owen in this book, which I think will create more growth in her. But I think Estep skims over a lot of opportunities for us to connect with the characters. For example, Gin was closing herself to Owen, than she finally is going to open up a little and it just cuts to the next morning where Gin recaps that she told Owen all these things (like her concerns regarding Bria, etc). While I certainly get enough of Gin thinking the same repetitive thoughts regarding Bria as well as other things, it would have been a nice change to learn about her through a deep conversation as opposed to a running narrative. This would also allow us to see her relationship with Owen grow, because while I get why he likes her, we don't get to see too much between them to justify his intense feelings. I was happy however with the developments that occurred between Gin and Bria. For better or worse, I was sure that Estep was going to drag this out and not actually progress with that story line at all, so it was a pleasant surprise.

    So like I said, this was a solid 3 star, enjoyable and fun but not overly deep. Actually my main complaint should probably be the lack of sex. While Donavon was an ass, the first book had great sex scenes, as did the second (or was it third?) once Owen was introduced as a love interest. This one actually had the gall to do a fade to black with "and I surrendered to him for the night"! How dare you Estep?! (and that's ignoring the cheesiness of that line, along with some others)

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Thrilling Installment!

    I strongly recommend you read the previous books in the series (Spider's Bite, Web of Lies and Venom, [and also check out a few free short stories on the author's website]) prior to reading this installment. This book had me on the edge of my seat, it was absolutely fabulous! I literally didn't' want to put this book down. The story was one wild ride after another from start to finish; and I especially enjoyed how the author raised the bar by having Gin faceoff with another equally ruthless and dangerous opponent. The only two negatives in this installment were the dreams [within a series, I am not one for reading about dreams or fantasies because they don't usually add to the series, and are just basically page fillers] and the nightmare childhood flashbacks were cool once but I believe there were about three flashbacks too many, which became tiresome for me. Not a huge deal as far as complaints go, but I could've done without them. Gin Blanco is pretty much the perfect heroine. She's strong, sensible, never too cocky, never sleazy (but she can be as naughty as she likes) and is never too-stupid-too-live! Personally I wish Gin could give Richelle Mead's Dark Swan series' heroine Eugenia a few pointers, especially after the last disaster of an installment...but I digress. The series just gets better and better with each installment. The balance between plenty of twisted humor, suspense, action and a smidgen of romance was perfect. Thankfully though, the romance was very few and far between. However, I must say Owen is the perfect mate for Jen. I'm so glad the self-righteous cop is no more. Owen is just as twisted as Jen and it seems his manhood is secure enough to where he doesn't mind being Mr. Blanco so to speak. There are quite a few series I read where power is completely wasted on the heroine. She's usually whiney and afraid to hurt anyone even in the face of mortal danger. I love that Gin is not afraid to take full advantage of any resource including, no whiney regrets about using her power as it grows and take shape. This is a pleasantly dark, humorous and violent series with a fascinating and complex heroine. Gin's character is developing and progressing into a well-oiled killing machine. She has no qualms about getting down and dirty; and you've got to love a women who can wield a set of silver knives with efficiency. I highly recommend this book to fellow dark urban fantasy readers and can't wait for the next book Spiders Revenge due out in 9/27/11.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    Love this Series!!!!!

    I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out... This series is awsome!!

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  • Posted May 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    The fourth in Jennifer Estep's amazing Elemental Assassin series, this book does most definitely not disappoint.
    After declaring a personal war on Ashland's underworld queen, Mab Monroe, Gin Blanco begins taking on any member of her organization she can to hurt her control.
    And Mab responds in kind, hiring a deadly, infamous assassin, LeFleur, to take Gin down. As the assassin hunts for the Spider, and Bria Coolidge, Gin tries to keep her two identities secret while taking on the assassin and protecting the ones she loves.
    This book is absolutely amazing, from start to end; a trend that this series has held from the first page of Spider's Bite and will hopefully continue on into the 5th book.
    I absolutely recommend this story.

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