Black Widow (Elemental Assassin Series #12)

Black Widow (Elemental Assassin Series #12)

by Jennifer Estep

Audiobook(MP3 on CD - Unabridged)

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Lethal, sexy, and always ready to protect her friends, Gin Blanco (a.k.a. the Spider) takes on the mysterious M.M. Monroe in book twelve of the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series.

There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan. With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit.

The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bull’s-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501215230
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 01/13/2015
Series: Elemental Assassin Series , #12
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About 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, and Poison Promise, along with the e-shorts Thread of Death, Parlor Tricks, and Kiss of Venom, are the other works in her red-hot Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Jennifer is also the author of the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series. For more on Jennifer and her books, visit her at and @Jennifer_Estep.

Read an Excerpt

Black Widow

  • It was torture.

    Watching your mortal enemy get everything she’d ever wanted was torture, pure and simple.

    Madeline Magda Monroe stood off to one side of a wooden podium, her hands clasped in front of her strong, slender body and a serious, thoughtful expression on her beautiful face. Next to her, a city official sporting a brown plaid jacket and a gray handlebar mustache droned on and on and on about all the good things that her mother, Mab Monroe, had done for Ashland.

    Please. The only good thing Mab had ever done in her entire life was die. Something that I’d been all too happy to help her with.

    Then again, that’s what assassins did, and I was the Spider, one of the best.

    Madeline’s crimson lips quirked, revealing a hint of her dazzling white teeth, as though she found the same irony in the speaker’s words that I did. She knew precisely what a sadistic bitch her mother had been, especially since she was cut from the exact same bloodstained cloth.

    Still, even I had to admit that Madeline made an angelic figure, standing there so calmly, so serenely, in her tailored white pantsuit, as though she was truly enjoying listening to all of the prattle about Mab’s supposed charitable works. It was high noon, and the bright sun brought out the coppery streaks in Madeline’s thick auburn hair, making it seem as if her long, flowing locks were strings of glowing embers about to burst into flames. But Madeline didn’t have her mama’s famed elemental Fire power. She had something much rarer and far more dangerous: acid magic.

    Madeline shifted on her white stilettos, making the sun shimmer on the silverstone necklace circling her throat—a crown with a flame-shaped emerald set in the center of it. A ring on her right hand featured the same design. Madeline’s personal rune, the symbol for raw, destructive power, eerily similar to the ruby sunburst necklace that Mab had worn before I’d destroyed it—and her.

    Just staring at Madeline’s rune was enough to make my hands curl into fists, my fingers digging into the scars embedded deep in my palms—each a small circle surrounded by eight thin rays. A spider rune, the symbol for patience.

    Mab had given me the scars years ago, when she’d melted my spider rune necklace into my palms, forever marking me. I just wondered how many more scars her daughter would add to my collection before our family feud was settled.

    “I’d say that she looks like the cat who ate the canary, but we both know that she’d just use her acid magic to obliterate the poor thing.” The suave, drawling voice somehow made the words that much snarkier.

    I looked to my right at the man who was leaning against the maple tree that shaded us both, his shoulders relaxed, his hands stuffed in his pants pockets, his long legs crossed at the ankles. His hair was a dark walnut, blending into the trunk of the tree behind him, but amusement glinted in his green eyes, making them stand out despite the dappled shadows that danced over his handsome face. His ash-gray Fiona Fine suit draped perfectly over his muscular figure, giving him a casual elegance that was the complete opposite of my tense, rigid, watchful stance. Then again, Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, always looked as cool as an ice-cream sundae, whether he was out for a seemingly simple stroll in the park, wheeling and dealing as an investment banker, or peering through a sniper’s scope, ready to put a bullet through someone’s skull.

    Finn arched an eyebrow at me. “Well, Gin? What do you say?”

    I snorted. “Oh, Madeline wouldn’t use her acid magic herself. She’d manipulate someone else into killing the bird and the cat for her—and have the poor fool convinced that it had been his idea all the while.”

    He let out a low chuckle. “Well, you have to admire that about her.”

    I snorted again. “That she’s a master manipulator who likes to make people dance to the strings that she so gleefully wraps around them before they even realize what’s happening? Please. The only thing I admire about her is that she’s managed to keep a mostly straight face through this entire farce of a dedication.”

    Finn and I were standing at the back of a crowd that had gathered in a park in Northtown, the rich, fancy, highfalutin part of Ashland that was home to the wealthy, powerful, and extremely dangerous. The park was exactly what you’d expect to find in this part of Northtown: lots of perfectly landscaped lawns and towering trees with thick tangles of branches, along with an enormous playground that featured seesaws, swing sets, a sandbox, and a merry-go-round. It was a picturesque scene, especially given the beautiful blue-sky October afternoon and the rich, deep, earthy scent of autumn that swirled through the air on the faint breeze. But the pleasantly warm temperature and cheery rays streaming through the burnt-orange leaves over my head did absolutely nothing to improve my mood.

    At my harsh words, a couple of people turned to give me annoyed looks, but a cold glare from me had them easing away and facing the podium again.

    Finn let out another low chuckle. “You and your people skills never cease to amaze me.”

    “Shut up,” I muttered.

    As the speaker droned on, my wintry gray gaze swept over the park, and I thought about the last time I’d been here—and the men I’d killed. A vampire and a couple of giants, some of Mab’s minions, who were torturing and about to murder an innocent bartender before I’d intervened. The swing sets, the merry-go-round, one of the lawns. Men had died all over this park, and I’d even drawn my rune in the sandbox in a dare to Mab to come find me, the Spider, the elusive assassin who was causing her such consternation.

    And now here I was again, months later, confronted with the next Monroe who wanted to do me in.

    Sometimes I wondered if I could ever really escape the past and all the consequences of it. Mab murdering my mother and my older sister, then trying to kill me and my younger sister, Bria, leaving me alone, injured, and homeless. Fletcher Lane, Finn’s dad, taking me in and training me to be an assassin. My finally killing Mab earlier this year. All the underworld bosses who’d been trying to murder me ever since then.

    The city official finally wrapped up his tediously long speech and gestured at Madeline. She stepped forward, reached up, and took hold of a black rope attached to an enormous white cloth that had been draped over the wrought-iron gate that arched over the park entrance. Madeline smiled at the crowd, pausing a moment for dramatic effect, before she yanked on the rope, ripping away the cloth, while giving an elaborate flourish with her free hand.

    Fancy, curlicued letters spelled out the new name in the black metal arch: Monroe Memorial Park.

    I glared up at the sign, wishing I had one of the blacksmith hammers that my lover, Owen Grayson, used in his forge, so I could kneecap the gate, send it crashing to the ground, and then knock out each and every one of those damn letters in the toothy smile of the arch. Especially the ones in Monroe. But, of course, I couldn’t do that. Not now. Maybe late tonight, when the park was nice and deserted, and no one was around to see me vent my pent-up rage on an innocent sign.

    This wasn’t the first dedication I’d attended in the past few weeks. After finally making her grand appearance in Ashland back in September, Madeline had wasted no time in claiming her millions in inheritance as M.M. Monroe, moving into Mab’s mansion, and letting everyone know that she intended to pick up all of her mother’s business interests, legitimate and otherwise.

    I didn’t know exactly what her master plan was, but Madeline had set about ingratiating herself with all sorts of civic, charitable, and municipal groups, saying she wanted to continue all of the good works her mother had funded while she was alive. Of course, she was lying through her perfect teeth, since Madeline was no more charitable than her mama had been. But if there was one thing that folks in Ashland responded to, it was cold, hard cash—or at least the promise of it.

    And so the dedications had begun. A wing at the Briartop art museum, the train station, several bridges, a good chunk of the interstate that wrapped around the downtown loop, and now this park. Every few days, it seemed like someone was engraving, chiseling, painting, broadcasting, or proclaiming something else in Mab’s name at dear, dutiful daughter Madeline’s teary and oh-so-grateful requests.

    And I’d been to every single breakfast, luncheon, dinner, tea party, cocktail hour, coffee klatch, barbecue, and fish fry, trying to figure out what my new enemy was up to. But Madeline was an excellent actress; all she did was grin and make small talk and preen for the cameras. Every once in a while, I would catch her staring at me, a small smile playing across her lips, as though my obvious stakeouts were amusing her. Well, that made one of us.

    Of course, I had Finn digging into Madeline, trying to find out everything he could about her past, her personal life, and her finances, in hopes of finding a clue to what she was planning for me and the rest of the Ashland underworld. But so far, Finn hadn’t been able to find anything out of the ordinary. Neither had Silvio Sanchez, my new self-proclaimed personal assistant.

    She had no criminal history. No massive debt load. No large cash withdrawals from her bank accounts. No sudden, hostile takeovers of any businesses—legal or otherwise—that Mab had once owned. And perhaps most telling of all, no late-night, hush-hush meetings with the underworld bosses.


    Still, I knew that Madeline had some sort of scheme in mind for me. Impending evil always made my spider rune scars itch in warning—and anticipation of turning the tables on my enemies.

    Usually, Madeline ignored me at the dedications, but apparently, she wanted to chitchat today, because she shook hands with the official, then strolled in my direction. And she wasn’t alone.

    Two people followed her. One was a giant bodyguard dressed in a white silk shirt and a black pantsuit, around seven feet tall, with light hazel eyes and a sleek bob of golden hair that curled under at the ends. The sun had reddened her milky cheeks, giving her skin a bit of hot, ruddy color and darkening the faint freckles that dotted her face. The other was a much shorter man, clutching a silverstone briefcase in front of him and dressed in a light gray suit that was even slicker and more expensive than Finn’s. A lion’s mane of hair wrapped around his head, the arches, dips, and waves as pretty and perfect as icing decorating a cake. His elegant silver coif hinted at his sixty-something age, despite the tight, tan, unlined skin of his face.

    Emery Slater and Jonah McAllister. Emery was the niece of Elliot Slater, who’d been Mab’s number one giant enforcer before I’d taken credit for killing him, while Jonah had been Mab’s personal lawyer and someone whose many crimes I’d taken great pleasure in exposing back during the summer. Needless to say, there was plenty of hate to go around among the three of us.

    “Incoming,” Finn murmured, straightening up, pushing away from the tree, and moving to stand beside me.

    Madeline stopped in front of me, with Emery and Jonah flanking her. The giant and the lawyer both shot me icy glares, but Madeline’s features were warm and welcoming as she sidled a little closer to me, and a serene smile stretched across her face.

    “Why, Gin Blanco,” she purred. “How good of you to come out to my dedication today. And looking so . . . spiffy.”

    I wore what I always wore: black boots, dark jeans, and a long-sleeved black T-shirt. Next to Madeline and her crisp white suit, I resembled one of the hoboes who sometimes slept in this park. Madeline might seem all sweetness and light on the outside, but on the inside, I knew that her heart was as full of venom and as vicious as mine.

    “Why, Madeline,” I drawled right back at her, “you know that I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

    “Yes,” she murmured. “You do seem rather fond of popping up everywhere I go.”

    “Well, you can hardly blame me for that. It’s always so very lovely to see someone of Mab’s stature honored in such small but touching ways.”

    Madeline’s lips quirked again, as if she was having trouble holding back her laughter at my blatant lie. Yeah. Me too.

    “Funny thing, though,” I said. “You know was I’ve noticed? That Mab’s name isn’t actually on anything. It’s always just ‘Monroe Memorial this’ and ‘Monroe Memorial that.’ Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d almost think that you were going around town putting your name on everything. Instead of your dearly departed mama’s.”

    Finn chuckled. Emery and Jonah shifted their cold stares to him, but Finn kept laughing, completely immune to their dirty looks. He was rather incorrigible that way.

    Madeline’s green eyes crinkled a bit at the corners, as if she was having to work to maintain her sunny smile. “I think that you’re mistaken, Gin. I’m honoring my mother exactly the way that she would have wanted me to.”

    “And I think that you have as little love for your dead mama as I do. You couldn’t care less about what she would have wanted.”

    Anger flashed in Madeline’s eyes, making them flare an even brighter, more vibrant green, the same intense, wicked color as the acid that she could summon with just a wave of her French-manicured hand. She didn’t like me calling her out on her true feelings for her mother, and she especially didn’t like that I’d pointed out that the dedications were all about her ego, not Mab.

    Good. I wanted to make her angry. I wanted to piss her off. I wanted to rile her up so much that she couldn’t even see straight, much less think straight, especially when it came to me. Because that’s when she would make a mistake, and I could finally figure out what her endgame was and how I could stop it before she destroyed everything and everyone I cared about.

    “But who am I to judge?” I drawled on. “I wouldn’t care either, not if she had been my mother. I guess it’s one of those little things that we’ll just have to agree to disagree on.”

    Madeline blinked, and she forced her crimson lips to lift a little higher. “You know, I think that you’re right. We are just destined to agree to disagree—about a great many things.”

    We stared each other down, our stances casual and our features perfectly pleasant but with a deadly, dangerous coldness lurking just below the smooth surfaces.

    “Anyway, I’m afraid I must be going,” Madeline said, breaking the silence. “I have another dedication to prepare for tomorrow. This one’s at the library downtown.”

    “I’ll be there with bells on.”

    “No,” she said in a pleased voice. “I don’t think you will. But I do thank you for coming out here today, Gin. As you said, it’s always so very lovely to see you.”

    Madeline smirked at me, then pivoted on her stiletto and moved back toward the podium, shaking hands and thanking all for their support and well wishes. Emery and Jonah each gave me one more hostile glare before they trailed after her. Soon the three of them were in the heart of the crowd, with Finn and me standing by ourselves underneath the maple.

    “She really is something,” Finn said in an admiring tone, his eyes locked onto Madeline’s lithe, gorgeous figure.

    Despite his being involved with Bria, Finn was still a shameless flirt who loved to charm every woman who crossed his path. He would never do that with Madeline, for obvious reasons, but that didn’t keep him from ogling her for all he was worth. I scoffed and rolled my eyes.

    “What?” he protested. “She’s like a black widow spider. I can admire the beauty of such a creature, even if I know exactly how deadly it is.”

    “Only you would think that being eaten during your postcoital bliss would be worth it.”

    Finn shrugged, then flashed me a mischievous grin. “But what a way to go.”

    He stared at Madeline another moment before looking over the rest of the crowd. He must have spotted someone he knew, perhaps one of the clients at his bank, because he waved, murmured an excuse to me, and headed in the direction of a wizened old dwarf who was wearing a large pink sun hat and an even larger diamond solitaire that could have had its own zip code. Finn never missed an opportunity to mix business with pleasure, and a moment later, he was attached to the dwarf’s side, having winked and wiggled his way past her female giant bodyguard. Finn gave the elderly woman a charming smile as he bent down and pressed a dainty kiss to her brown, wrinkled hand. Well, at least he was an equal-opportunity flirt.

    But I continued to watch Madeline, who was still shaking hands and was now standing directly below the arch that bore her family’s name. Maybe it was the way the sun was hitting the metal, but the word Monroe seemed to flicker and gleam with a particularly intense, sinister light, as though it were made out of some sort of black fire, instead of just sturdy old iron.

    Madeline noticed me staring at her and gave me another haughty, pleased smirk before turning her back and ignoring me completely. Emery and Jonah did the same, moving to flank their boss again.

    All I could do was stand there and watch my enemy have a grand old time, basking in the warm glow of everyone’s collective, attentive goodwill.

    Maybe I’d been wrong when I told Finn that being eaten was the worst part.

    Maybe waiting for the black widow to kill you was the real torture.

  • Customer Reviews

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    Black Widow 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
    Judy-Ree More than 1 year ago
    It's hard to believe that there are now a dozen full length novels in the Elemental Assassin series and that I have reviewed the last 4 on my blog, this one being number 5.  Most books start to get a bit stale this far into a series. Repetition sets in. The series starts to stagnate. You get bored with it. It feels like the author is going through the motions.... Yeah, that's NOT this series. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I will admit that I was a bit hesitant going into this book.  After all, Mab was gone, her giant bodyguard Elliot Slater was gone, and only a humiliated and powerless Jonah McAllister is left.  And here comes Madeline, Mab's daughter, with her giant bodyguard & cousin Emory Slater and Jonah McAllister is once again attorney to a powerful Monroe.  It felt like deja vue. Didn't we just spend 7 books getting rid of that evil witch? Yet here we are, right back where we started. Except this time the Monroe is younger, stronger and sneakier. Yeah, hold that thought. Not quite. See, Gin has much more of a support system in place now, bigger too. And although it some ways it makes her more vulnerable to attack; it also means that she will fight smarter, dirtier and meaner than any time before. I was blown away by how good this book was. I literally could not put it down once I started reading it. Do NOT start with this book.  There is literally 11 prior books full of back story that lead us into this book and to truly understand the scope of the world that Ms. Estep has created, you should read them all - in order preferably. I felt incredibly lucky to get this book early through Netgalley, but will still be purchasing it in dead tree version for my Keeper Library.  For me, this was a 5 star read.
    LadiSteele More than 1 year ago
    Love this entire series, have read everything she's written!
    niah More than 1 year ago
    not anything new good and action-packed like always
    dsubsits More than 1 year ago
    Black Widow (Elemental Assassin #12) by Jennifer Estep  4 ½ of 5 Stars Gin Blanco has a new nemesis, Madeline Magda Monroe, and she is not going to be an easy adversary, attacking the people Gin cares about. Black Widow was a fast pace exciting novel that kept me in suspense.  I flew through this 357 page novel, not wanting to put it down. Gin is an interesting heroine.  Being an assassin she needs to be smart and cunning.  Despite being a killer, she has numerous loyal friends who will do anything for her.  I love that even when she is in bad situations she perseveres never giving up.   Madeline is a worthy adversary.  The woman is plain evil.  Unfortunately, she is also extremely intelligent. Some of the things she pulled off were insane.   The plot was riveting.  Jennifer Estep did an exceptional job with the novel.  There was interesting twist and a great story line.  The characters are so well developed you feel fully invested in them.   Elemental Assassin would make a terrific TV series.  It sort of reminds me a bit of Alias filmed back in 2001-06 which I used to love. Complimentary copy provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    LilyElementBookReviews More than 1 year ago
    Gin Blanco returns in book 12 of the Elemental Assassin series. This time around Gin is dealing with M. M. Monroe, the daughter of Mab Monroe who was one of the big bad villains in the previous books. I didn't think I would dislike any of the villains as much as Mab, but I do believe her daughter takes the cake. Mab was a lot more straightforward, she didn't mess around she just did what she wanted by brute force with her fire magic. Madeline on the other hand is more cunning, she likes toying with her prey and Gin is squarely in her line of sight, and so are her friends. Madeline manages to attack everything Gin holds dear, her friends, family, the Pork Pit (her restaurant), and of course Gin. How Gin would manage to outwit and defeat Madeline, I wasn't sure but I knew it would be a big battle. I do believe Black Widow is probably my favorite book in the series yet. Gin's character continues to grow, the villains aren't the same old boring ones used over and over. I'm finally catching up to where the series is currently. Now I have to wait for the next book, which luckily comes out this year (July 2015), This is a great Urban Fantasy series, and I highly recommend it.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    shortcircuit More than 1 year ago
    waiting for next book
    elleB81 More than 1 year ago
    13 novels in and I'm still enjoying Gin's escapades. This story finally brings Gin and Madeline Monroe's confrontation to a head and it does not disappoint. Highly recommend!
    debruth More than 1 year ago
    Since I read the first book in this series, I can't get enough of them. This book is just as great as all the others. I love strong kick butt women! These have that in spades. Also read all of Jennifers other books. Even if there YA there great. I have not read any book by her I didn't like. GREAT JOB Jennifer! Keep it up!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I love these books!! Jennifer Estes knows how to write books that keep you on the edge of your seat
    Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
    Reviewed by Annie and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog Mab Monroe is gone, but another threat has risen up in its place. They say evil has many faces and this time, Gin is faced with M.M. Monroe, someone who is willing to do anything and everything necessary in order to take her out. Upon reading the blurb, I wondered how similar the book would be to previous ones we’ve seealready in the series. A lot of the bad guys have been very well done, the latest being some of my favorites so I wondered how well Estep could take an existing idea and morph it into something that’s new and exciting for readers. In the end, I think she accomplishes this well. This book doesn’t start out as full throttle as the previous books have been, but that doesn’t mean that the stakes aren’t high. For the first time, it looks like someone has been able to make the first jab at Gin that has her really taking a step back to assess her threat. Some incredible – and I mean incredible! – things happen in this book, but to prevent any spoilers, I think you need to read it for yourself and experience the whirlwind action that Estep manages to infuse in all of her books. After reading a Elemental Assassin book, I always feel empowered and willing to go kick ass in my own world (though probably not as cool as how Gin does). Estep has really stepped up her game. BLACK WIDOW casts a whole new web of problems for Gin and her friends. I’m eager to see where Estep takes this series next! *ARC provided by publisher
    raesv1 More than 1 year ago
    Gin is back and better than ever. After an action filled Poison Promise I didn't think the series could get any better but I got a big surprise. Gin is still dealing with a Monroe but this Monroe instead of just going after Gin in an elemental fight, uses the law and the people she has in her pockets to not only go after Gin but everybody she cares about. Of course Gin isn't going to sit back and take it without a fight and her friends are determined that she's not going to do it alone. After losing something she holds very dear she'll have to rebuild a certain part of her life all over again but Gin is up for the fight. I also liked the little surprise at the end and I'm looking forward to seeing if she can turn it around and break the cycle of revenge and hate. From caged fighting matches to explosions, fires, and elemental magic this one is full of the action that I love so much.
    SarahSmith More than 1 year ago
    I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I had been meaning to check out this series for a long time and when I saw that I could get the most recent installment from Netgalley I jumped at the chance and I am very glad that I did. There was enough explanation of past events for newcomers (except it wasn't entirely clear to me why Mab even tried to kill Gin and her family until near the end of this book) that you didn't have to read the previous books to understand what was going on, but I will check out the others in the future since I enjoyed the fast pace and butt-kicking of Gin Blanco (aka the Spider). Gin's new Monroe nemesis came off as a weak elemental at first since she was sneakily going about getting rid of Gin, but it became pretty obvious she was actually very strong. Definitely enjoyed this book and will be back for more. The only thing I didn't like was the references to building webs ad nauseam. It was a bit eye-roll inducing.
    Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
    4.5 stars--BLACK WIDOW is the twelve full length storyline in Jennifer Estep’s contemporary, adult Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series focusing on the elemental assassin Gin Blanco aka The Spider. With her dual elements of stone and ice, Gin is a force unto herself but a new enemy with a familiar name and face has come back to Ashland seeking the ultimate revenge. Not only is Gin targeted for destruction, so too are everyone she knows and loves-and this time the Pork Pit is a target as well. Told from first person point of view (Gin Blanco) BLACK WIDOW finds Gin and her extended family of vampires, dwarves and elementals facing a series of legal action brought about by local law enforcement. From law suits for fraud to health inspections that go terribly wrong, no one is protected when the people in control are no longer in control themselves. As if back from the grave, Mabs Monroe power reaches far and wide, and it comes with a more powerful and startling elemental. We will reconnect with all of Gin’s family including her lover Owen whose need to protect Gin builds with every storyline. I hope to see something more from Owen and Gin in the future (perhaps I was the only one who caught a small hint). Gin’s foster brother Finn and sister Bria, as well as Jo Jo and Sophia continue to support and aid Gin in her endeavor to control the underground of Ashland but the powerful mob grows stronger with each new leader and elemental control. Gin’s new assistant Silvio is a definite asset when it comes to the inside workings of the law. The world building continues as the giants, dwarves and other elementals focus their energy and revenge against the woman known as The Spider. Old enemies will resurface and take a stand against Gin all in the name of revenge. Law enforcement is once again on the take when the criminal element of Ashland is back in control. I will say that I worry when an author begins to recycle the bad guy phenomenon, although the recycling is more of a next generation of problems. BLACK WIDOW has all the requisite mystery, suspense and action. The violence remains but has been curtailed such that the images are not as graphic as have been in the past. Jennifer Estep’s talent with the urban fantasy storyline is above and beyond.  Great characters.  Amazing author. Fantastic series.
    Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
    Black Widow by Jennifer Estep is the 12th book in her wonderful Elemental Assassin series. I have a few favorite kick-ass heroines, and Gin Blanco is one of them. In each book in this series, Jennifer Estep continues to awe us with a wonderful story, and another impossible situation for Gin to get out of. The last book left off when we learned about Mab Monroe’s daughter, M.M. (Madeline), and a new villain was born. In Black Widow, Gin finds out quickly that she may have met her strongest adversary, as Madeline is an Acid Elemental and plans on taking over everything, including the underworld her mother controlled. Since Gin was not fully prepared for Madeline’s secret scheming, as she and her friends/family are besieged with all kinds of legal issues, causing their business, or personal issues to bring them down. Most of all, Gin is set up on a murder charge by a crooked cop, who Madeline controls. What follows is an exciting non-stop action packed adventure, that seems mostly hopeless for our Gin. At every turn, she faces insurmountable odds, and torture, starting with her stay in jail, which is set up for a full scale attack on her that is designed to have her killed. Madeline is determined to kill Gin, and will stop at nothing to ensure that this is done. There were so many life ending situations, filled with extreme danger that we cringed in despair for Gin. Through it all, we wondered if this was the end, because we could see no way for Gin to survive some of these attacks. But Gin Blanco is not your normal heroine, she is the Spider, who can be as cunning, murderous and powerful as the worst evil villain. In the most inescapable situations, she will find a way, even if she suffers badly and comes so close to death. Madeline proves to be her strongest enemy. Will Gin find a way to outsmart Madeline? Is she powerful enough to with stand a powerful acid elemental? Jennifer Estep has given us a story that had us on the edge from beginning to end. I loved seeing all of Gin’s friends/family come together to support and try to help her….Finn, Owen, Bria, Sophia, Jo-Jo, just to name a few, and there are so many more. This was a classic battle against a terrible villain that had us holding our breath. A major twist ending leads the way for future changes. Black Widow was a wonderful edition to Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. If you have not read this series, it is time for you to start reading.
    JackieBCentralTexasJB More than 1 year ago
    Read on November 04, 2014 Book Info  Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages Expected publication: November 25th 2014 by Pocket Books original title Black Widow ISBN 1476774544 (ISBN13: 9781476774541) edition language English URL  series Elemental Assassin #12 other editions (3) Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links  Amazon  B&N  BOOK SYNOPSIS There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan. With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit. The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bulls-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames. My Thoughts In Poison Promise-book #11 M.M. Monroe was confirmed to be the daughter of Mab and her giant bodyguard Elliot Slater, now she is proving to be more devious than her mother as well as just as ruthless where Gin Blanco and her friends are concerned. From the first this book was such easy reading to get consumed into that the pages flew past too fast, the down and dirty machinations employed by both M.M. Monroe as well as Gin were brilliantly executed and the final showdown was epic in it’s intensity! Not even a minute was spent wondering if Gin would win, she is just that type of character who always finds a way to survive no matter what the cost to herself and this time was no exception. With every new book this series just amazes and delights me, Gin Blanco-like a Timex-takes a licking and keeps on ticking! [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]