The next thrilling book in Jennifer Estep’s New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Elemental Assassin series—“an extraordinary series.…One of the most intriguing heroines in the genre” (Romantic Times Book Reviews).
Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.
One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.
My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…
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, Poison Promise, Black Widow, Spider’s Trap, Bitter Bite, Unraveled, and Snared, along with the e-shorts Thread of Death, Parlor Tricks, Kiss of Venom, Unwanted, and Nice Guys Bite are the other works 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 her at JenniferEstep.com and @Jennifer_Estep.
Read an Excerpt
“I really want to stab someone right now.”
Silvio Sanchez, my personal assistant, glanced at me. “I would advise against that,” he murmured. “It might send the wrong message.”
“Yeah,” Phillip Kincaid chimed in. “Namely that you’ve reverted back to your deadly assassin ways and are going to start killing people again instead of hearing them out like you’re supposed to.”
“I never really left those ways behind,” I replied. “Considering that I could kill everyone here and sleep like a baby tonight.”
Phillip snickered, while Silvio rolled his eyes.
The three of us were sitting at a conference table that had been dragged out onto the deck of the Delta Queen, the luxe riverboat casino that Phillip owned. Normally, slot machines, poker tables, and roulette wheels would have been set up on the deck in preparation for the night’s gambling, but today the riverboat was serving as a meeting spot for some of Ashland’s many underworld bosses.
Supposedly, this meeting was to be a peaceful mediation of a dispute between Dimitri Barkov and Luiz Ramos, two of the city’s crime lords, who were disagreeing about who had the right to buy a series of coin laundries to, well, launder the money that they made from their gambling operations. Not that there was anything peaceful about the way Dimitri and Luiz had been standing nose-to-nose and screaming at each other for the last five minutes. Their respective guards stood behind them, fists clenched tightly and shooting dirty looks at each other, as though they would all love nothing more than to start brawling in the middle of the deck.
Now, that would be entertaining. I grinned. Maybe I should let them have at each other, gladiator-style. Winner take all. That would be one way to settle things.
Silvio nudged me with his elbow, as if he knew exactly what I was thinking. “Pay attention. You’re supposed to be listening to the facts so you can be fair and impartial, remember?”
“I could be fair and impartial in stabbing them both.”
He gave me a chiding look.
I sighed. “You always ruin my fun.”
“That’s my job,” the vampire replied.
I palmed the silverstone knife hidden up my sleeve—the only weapon I’d brought on board—and flashed it at my friends under the table, out of sight of the bosses and their men.
“C’mon,” I whispered. “Just let me stab one of them. Surely that will shut the other one up too.”
Phillip snickered again, while Silvio let out a small, sad sigh. He wasn’t crazy about my managerial style. Couldn’t imagine why.
“I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t bring any knives on board,” Silvio murmured again. “So as not to send the wrong message.”
“I left the other four in the car. So I’m only a fifth as deadly today. That’s progress, right?” I waggled my eyebrows.
Silvio narrowed his gray eyes and held out his hand below the table. I reluctantly passed over the weapon, and he tucked it up his sleeve. I pouted a little, but he ignored me. He was getting good at that.
My friends turned their attention back to Dimitri and Luiz, who were still yelling and pointing their fingers at each other, each man trying to shout the other one down. But instead of listening to them, I glanced at the third boss who had shown up: Lorelei Parker.
Unlike Dimitri and Luiz, who were both dressed in business suits, Lorelei was sporting black stiletto boots, dark jeans, and a long-sleeved T-shirt, just like I was. The only real difference between us was that her leather jacket was a bright royal blue, and mine was a subdued midnight black. Her black hair was pulled back into a French braid, and her blue eyes were focused on her phone, since she was busy texting. The quick motions of her fingers made a silverstone rune ring glitter on her right hand—a rose wrapped in thorns dripping blood, all of it outlined in impressive diamonds.
Of the three bosses, Lorelei was the most intriguing, since she was a smuggler known far and wide for her ability to get anything for anyone at any time. Cash, guns, precious jewels, and pricey antiques were just a few of the things she was rumored to dabble in.
Only a single guard stood off to her side. Jack Corbin, her right-hand man. He too was dressed in boots, jeans, and a black leather jacket, but his blue eyes continuously scanned the deck and everyone and everything on it.
Corbin realized that I was watching him and tipped his head at me, before smoothing back his dark brown hair. Then he sidled a little closer to his boss, ready to protect her from everyone on deck, including me. I nodded back at him. My deceased mentor, Fletcher Lane, had a thick file on Corbin in his office, so I knew that he was far more dangerous than he appeared to be.
Then again, so was I.
Lorelei was here because she owned the coin laundries in question and was more than willing to sell them—to the highest bidder, of course. I didn’t know if she’d approached Dimitri and Luiz about buying the front businesses or if they’d come to her, and I hadn’t had the chance to ask any questions, since the gangsters had been screaming at each other the entire six minutes I’d been on the riverboat. Either way, the men just couldn’t agree on who was getting what, and things had escalated to the point where Dimitri and Luiz were about to declare war on each other. That would mean shootings, stabbings, kneecappings, and lots of other messy crimes.
Don’t get me wrong. As the Spider, I’d made plenty of bloody messes in my time. It was sort of my specialty.
But a few weeks ago, I’d taken down Madeline Magda Monroe, an acid elemental who’d declared herself the new queen of the Ashland underworld, following in the footsteps of her mother, Mab.
Just as I had killed her mother several months earlier, I took out Madeline with my Ice and Stone magic, and with no more Monroes left to grapple for control of the underworld, the other bosses had made me their de facto leader. At least until they started plotting how they could murder me and one of them could seize the throne they all coveted so very much.
I almost wished that one of them would succeed in putting me out of my misery.
Contrary to popular belief, being the head of the Ashland underworld was not a bed of roses. It wasn’t even a bed of thorns. It was just a giant headache—like the one throbbing in my temples right now.
I’d thought I’d been a popular target over the summer, but now the bosses sought me out more than ever before. And they actually wanted to talk to me. Incessantly. About business deals and treaties and who was letting their gang members spray-paint rune graffiti in someone else’s territory. As if I actually cared about any of those things. But as the big boss, it was apparently my job to listen. At least according to Silvio.
Lorelei was the one who’d requested this meeting, although she’d actually approached Phillip about settling the dispute instead of me. Apparently, Lorelei didn’t want to acknowledge my new authority or involve me in her affairs. That, or she just hated me for some reason. Didn’t much matter either way, since I cared as little about her as she did about me.
But Phillip was my friend, and he’d told me about the get-together. So here I was, about to mediate my first big dispute as Gin Blanco, the Spider, new queen of the Ashland underworld. Yeah, me.
Still, I would have been perfectly happy to skip the polite nonsense of the meeting and let Dimitri and Luiz duke it out until one of them killed the other, but Silvio had pointed out that if I resolved their feud today, they wouldn’t show up at my restaurant, the Pork Pit, tomorrow. Since I didn’t want the criminals scaring my customers, I’d decided to be a good boss and put in an appearance.
Everyone had been sitting at the conference table when I walked on board with Silvio. But at the sight of me, Dimitri and Luiz had shot to their feet and started shouting accusations at each other, as if they thought that I would side with whoever yelled the loudest and the longest.
Now Dimitri was cursing at Luiz in Russian, and Luiz was returning the favor in Spanish. Since it didn’t look like they were going to stop anytime soon, not even to take a breath, I tuned them out as best I could and stared out over the brass railing.
The Aneirin River flowed by the white riverboat, the swift current causing the vessel to sway ever so slightly. The November sun glinted off the surface of the blue-gray water, making it sparkle like a sheet of diamonds, while a faint breeze brought the smell of fish along with it. My nose wrinkled at the wet stench. A few crimson and burnt-orange leaves clung to the trees that lined the far side of the river, although the breeze would soon send them spiraling down to the ground—
Something flashed in the trees directly across from me.
I frowned, leaned to the side, and focused on that spot. Sure enough, a second later, a small gleam of light caught my eye, the sun reflecting off something hidden back in the trees—
Silvio nudged me with his elbow again, and I realized that Dimitri and Luiz had stopped shouting and were staring at me with expectant faces, their arms crossed over their chests. Behind them, their guards wore similarly hostile expressions.
“Well, Blanco?” Dimitri demanded in a low, gravelly voice. “What’s your decision?”
“Yeah,” Luiz chimed in, his tone much higher. “Who gets the laundries?”
I looked back and forth between the two of them. “Um . . .”
Dimitri frowned, and anger sparked in his dark brown eyes. “You weren’t even listening to us!”
“Well, it was kind of hard to follow,” I admitted. “Especially since I don’t speak Russian, and my Spanish is rudimentary, at best.”
Dimitri threw his hands up in the air and spewed out more Russian words, all of which sounded like curses.
Phillip leaned over. “I think he just insulted your mother.”
I groaned, but I held my hands up, trying to placate the mobster. “Okay, okay. That’s enough. Stop. Please.”
Dimitri finished his cursing, but he still gave me a disgusted look. “I knew this would be a waste of time. I should have just killed Lorelei and taken the laundries. Just like I should have put a bullet in your head the night of Madeline’s party and taken control of the underworld myself. Just like I should do right now.”
Silence descended over the deck, and the only sound was the steady rush of the river flowing by the boat.
I laid my hands flat on the table, then slowly got to my feet. The scraping of my chair against the wood was as loud as a machine gun.
I stared at Dimitri. “That was exactly the wrong thing to say.”
Everyone could hear the chill in my words and see the ice in my wintry-gray eyes.
Dimitri swallowed, knowing he’d made a mistake, but he wasn’t about to back down in front of everyone, so he raised his chin and squared his shoulders. “I don’t think so. There’s only one of you. I have three men with me.”
I smiled, but there was no warmth in my expression. “That’s because you need guards. I don’t. I never have. So if I were you, I’d start apologizing to me. Pronto.”
Dimitri wet his lips. “Or else?”
I shrugged. “Or else your men will be dragging what’s left of you off this boat, and Phillip will be sending me the cleaning bill.”
Dimitri sucked in a breath, but anger stained his cheeks a bloody red. “Nobody threatens me.”
“Oh, sugar,” I drawled. “It’s not a threat.”
Dimitri kept staring at me, his breath puffing out of his open mouth like a bull about to charge. Beside me, Phillip and Silvio got to their feet and moved out of my way.
“Try to show a little restraint,” Silvio whispered as he passed.
Restraint wasn’t a popular word in my vocabulary, but I nodded, acknowledging his point. If I killed Dimitri and Luiz, it would just convince the other bosses that I wanted them all dead, and they would probably start trying to murder me again. I’d fought hard for my relative peace and quiet, and I wasn’t going to throw it away on a couple of minor mobsters.
Even if I did feel like stabbing both of them. Violently. Viciously. Repeatedly.
Phillip and Silvio stepped over to where Lorelei Parker was still sitting at the far end of the table. Lorelei had quit texting and was staring at me, but she remained in her seat, with Jack Corbin standing by her side. The two of them weren’t dumb enough to take me on, at least not face-to-face, but the same couldn’t be said for the other bosses.
He wasn’t brave enough to fight me on his own, so he turned to Luiz. “You help me with Blanco, and I’ll let you have the coin laundries. All of them.”
Luiz scoffed. “I want the laundries and that deli you own on Carver Street.”
He sighed and nodded.
I rolled my eyes. A minute ago, they would have been happy to murder each other, and now they were going to work together to try to kill me. Well, at least Luiz had the good sense to try to squeeze everything he could out of the other gangster. Had to admire him for that. Even if he’d picked the wrong side.
Dimitri and Luiz shook hands, sealing their hasty deal, and then they both faced me, with their guards standing behind them, cracking their knuckles in anticipation of the beat-down they thought they were going to give me. Fools.
“Now what are you going to do?” Dimitri sneered. “Against all of us?”
“Me? I’m finally going to have some fun. I certainly deserve it, after listening to you two whine like a couple of kids fighting over the same ice-cream cone.”
My insult was the last straw. Dimitri’s cheeks burned even hotter, and he stabbed his finger at me.
“Get her!” he roared.
“Kill Blanco!” Luiz yelled.
The two bosses and their guards surged toward me, with Dimitri leaning over the table and reaching out with his hands, as though he wanted to strangle me to death.
I kicked my foot into the table leg, making the whole thing slam forward, right into the Russian’s potbelly. He gasped and bent over double, causing his very bad, very obvious, very shaggy black toupee to almost slide off his head.
But I was already moving on to the next threat. Since I didn’t have any knives, I leaned down, snatched up the chair I’d been sitting in, and slammed it into the head of the closest guard. He yelped and staggered away, clasping his hands over his bloody broken nose. He lurched past Silvio, who stuck out his foot and tripped him. The giant’s head hit the top part of the railing, and the brass let out a loud, pealing note, ringing like a bell. The giant slumped to the deck unconscious. Ding. Down for the count already.
Silvio flashed me a thumbs-up. I grinned back, then turned to fight the next guard.
Phillip had made sure that no one boarded the riverboat armed, so I wasn’t worried about getting shot. Even if someone had managed to sneak in a gun or a knife, I could always use my Stone magic to harden my skin and protect myself from any bullets or blades.
Using the same chair, I took out two more guards, opening up cuts and bruises on their faces, necks, and arms. By the time I got done with those giants, the plastic seat had cracked apart, so I ripped two of the metal legs off the chair and swung them around like batons.
I slammed the metal poles into every guard I could reach, cracking the chair legs into knees and throats and temples and groins. Moans and groans blasted out like foghorns across the deck, and more than a little blood arced through the air and spattered onto the glossy white wood and gleaming brass rails.
“Restraint!” Silvio called out after I jabbed the end of one of the poles into the face of the closest giant. “Restraint, please, Gin!”
“What?” I yelled back. “I’m not killing them . . . yet!”
At my words, the giant I’d been fighting froze, his fists drawn back to punch me. But he took my warning seriously; instead of hitting me, he whirled around and made a beeline for the gangplank on the other side of the boat. I let him go, since he was the last guard standing. The others were huddled on the deck, trying to find the strength to hoist themselves upright and will their eyes to stop spinning around in their heads.
“You!” Dimitri bellowed, having finally recovered his breath. He shoved his toupee back where it belonged. “I’m going to kill you if it’s the last thing I do!”
With a loud roar, he charged at me. I dropped the chair legs that I had used against the guards and simply squatted down. Then, when he was right on top of me, I surged up and tossed him back and over the side of the railing.
“Ahhh!” Dimitri screamed on the way down.
Footsteps pounded on the deck, and I spotted Luiz rushing at me. So I squatted down again quickly, and then, when he was right on top of me, I pulled the same move and sent him overboard too.
Another loud scream, another satisfying splash!
I scanned the deck, but there were no more enemies to fight. So I looked at Lorelei Parker and Jack Corbin, who were in the same positions as before.
“You two don’t want to join in the fun?” I drawled, picking up the metal chair legs and twirling them around in my hands. “I was just getting warmed up.”
Lorelei let out a disgusted snort, while Corbin held up his hands and stepped back.
Faint cries sounded—“Help! Help! Help!”—and I strode over to the railing. Phillip and Silvio followed and stood on either side of me, and we all looked down.
Dimitri and Luiz were clinging to each other in the river, both of them thrashing around and trying to stay afloat by drowning each other. Dimitri had somehow held on to to his toupee, which he was now beating against Luiz’s face. They both looked like the wet, slimy rats they were.
I grinned at Phillip. “You were absolutely right. Throwing people overboard is tons of fun. I feel better already.”
“Told you so,” Phillip said in a smug voice, his blue eyes bright with mischief and merriment.
Silvio sighed. “Don’t encourage her.”
More moans and groans came from the fallen giants on the deck. I tossed my metal poles aside, turned around, and leaned back against the railing. All the guards stopped and looked at me, wondering what I was going to do next.
“So,” I called out, jerking my thumb over my shoulder. “Anyone else want to go for a swim?”
Strangely enough, no one took me up on my offer.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jennifer Estep never fails to deliver an exciting captivating story.If you haven't read any of her books.Start with the first one and continue on. You will love all of them!,,
I've enjoyed how the author has kept the story moving forward through so many books
Love this entire series, have read everything she's written!
Dont think I'll get tired of Gin Blanco and friends.
Jennifer Estep’s Spider's Trap is another thrilling book in the Elemental Assassin Series. Gin Blanco is the new queen of Ashland’s underworld. Someone is trying to murder Gin. She needs to weave her own trap to find her would-be-killer. This urban fantasy novel is suitable for adult audiences. Spider's Trap was a fast-paced and entertaining story. I really enjoyed the plot. It was full of mystery and intrigue. Gin is a great heroine. I like her Ice and Stone magic. She has grown a lot throughout this series. The fact that she is an assassin makes her tough and a considerable person to run the underworld, whether she wants to be in command or not. She has a great group of friends. She also has many worthy adversaries. Jennifer Estep does a great job of creating unique stories within this series and keeping it fresh. Complimentary copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
One of the best I have read so far .
Spider’s Trap is the 13th book in Jennifer Estep’s, Elemental Assassin series. Being lucky number 13, I was hoping it would be spectacular, but that wasn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book, but it didn’t have the pop that some of the past books in this series did. Some series you can pick up a few books in, or even just pick up one of the later books and you can piece together what is going on. Not so with this series. You should start it from the beginning. And although I do not think Spider’s Trap was a strong book in this series, I still highly recommend reading the series. Gin, (like the drink) is finally known to all of Ashland’s underworld as the infamous assassin, aka Spider. Not only is her secret out, but after book 12, she has become the new leader of all the bosses, even though she didn’t and doesn’t want the gig. The story starts out with a bomb aboard a gambling boat where the underworld bosses have gathered to try to sort out a tiff in regards to who should get some laundromats to be used in laundering their money. Gin, assassin extraordinaire, goes to investigate and finds a ruin in the shape of a mace. Something keeps tugging at her memory, and she knows that she should recognize that symbol. Now here’s the part that really annoyed me and turned the book from what could have been great, to just okay. It took her until chapter 13 (ironic?) to figure out why the ruin looks so familiar. Because of this, I felt like Estep didn’t have enough for a full book, so she added extra words in regards to “where do I know this from” to fill out the book. The way Estep dealt with this was by having Gin have dreams with bits and pieces of flashbacks, leading to finally figuring it out. The fact that that this majorly traumatic event that happened when she was a teenager had completely slipped her mind. I just can’t get behind it. I realize trauma is a tricky thing. But Gin has had numerous traumatic experiences, it didn’t happen when she was a child, and she’s come to grasp that the world can be a horrible place, so I just can not believe that it would take her that long to remember. Once you get past that part, the story moves along at a rapid pace. You get even more back story on the other characters whom I have come to feel as if they are friends. The ending feels a bit rushed. But I often feel this way with Urban Fantasy. As with most of the genre, the majority of the book is spent tracking down the bad guy or solving the mystery and then there’s the big fight. After that, the book is pretty much over. In this book the end fight did keep going longer than usual. And here I have a bit of a problem too. The damage that is dealt to each other with various elemental magics, seems past the point of possible. Yes, you have to suspend your grip on reality when reading fantasy, that’s why I love it so much, but the abuse Gin took was bordering on unrealistic. Especially if you look at how much damage her body takes in previous books, and how quickly she gets hurt. The way that I was able to overlook this, but barely, was that she is growing stronger in her elemental magics, which are rock and ice. I realize I put a lot of negative in this review, but not every book in a series is going to be epic, and this just happened to be one of them. Estep does set it up so in the next book the big bad seems like it will take the book in a cool direction.
Another awsome series !!
This book was fast paced. I love Gin and her stories. You have to read this. Can't wait for the next one.
**I received an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** ------------------------------- Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance. ~ Gin Blanco ------------------------------- Gin doesn't have time for pity parties... if someone isn't trying to kill her, then there's someone out to get a friend or family member. In this case, a connection from so long ago she hadn't made the connection until her dreams pull it to the front of her mind. This is another action-packed chapter to The Spider's story that pulls you in and drags you along for the ride. For those familiar with the series, it is no surprise to know there are close calls with death, violence, sex, and great loyalty to friends and family in this book. For those who aren't familiar with the series,... run to grab the first book, and don't stop reading 'til you hit the end of this one!
As always, a delightful trip with my favorite assassin! I love that Estep is exceptionally talented at keeping this series fresh and entertaining. This series is one of only three that I attempt to read as soon as a new book comes out. I always enjoy when we get glimpses of Gin's earlier life with Fletcher. These glimpses allow us an insight into the circumstances that have made her the way she is. The humor in the storytelling along with the twisty storylines will keep me reading this series for a long time. I have "Bitter Bite" already on my wishlist-due out on Feb 23, 2016.
Always enjoy her books. There are enough twists and turns to keep you interested.
The number 13 is considered unlucky by many. That is so not the case for this series. Spider's Trap does have some deviation in the formula that has worked so well for all the other books - Gin isn't the primary target this time. Another difference is that Gin isn't the only one who ends up needing some serious healing. And oh how that was a scary moment! Especially with an author who does kill off main characters. As you know, Gin has been dragging her feet over being the head of the underworld. When she finally does sit down to mediate a dispute between two of the bosses, the meeting is interrupted by a sniper/bomb combo pack. Obviously Gin starts investigating, and it becomes clear that she's wasn't the primary target... however she probably should have been. By the time Gin is done, she will proof once again that she is hard to stop and harder to kill. We got another glimpse into Gin's past and what happened to make her the weapon she is today. Each of the books in the series has added more layers and depth to her character and this one adds an new element - we get to see a side of Fletcher we haven't seen before. Gin continues to rely on her friends, family and her own unique code of ethics to guide her actions and decisions. But with adding more to her collection of chosen family, that means less "screen" time for each of them individually. The ending, oh my gosh, the ending. It totally sets up the next (and possibly final??) book. I can't believe we have to wait till next year to get it! There is every indication that it could be the most exiting so far. I gave this book 4 stars.
**I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review** Gin Blanco is adjusting to being the top underworld boss in Ashland when someone seemingly tries to take a hit on her. As she digs further, it turns out she wasn’t the target although deep in her past she is intertwined with them. This was a really good book. It was full of action and plenty of characters that have been seen throughout the series. Enjoyable to current fans and anyone that is a fan of the urban fantasy books. Highly recommend.
I absolutely love this series. Thirteen books in and its still going strong. Gin is up against a “super power,” a mysterious new foe and as the boss of the underworld she must maintain the peace. Politics has never been her strong suit so she's learning to rely on her friends and people she trusts more and more. A blast from the past, will keep Gin at the top of her game while she learns to take the reigns of her new position...even if it kills her. Reading Spider's Trap is like coming home to old friends. Estep writes real people that you can't wait to hear how they are doing. The core group seems to continually grow but the ties that bind us, aka Gin, just keeps getting better and better. I highly recommend Elemental Assassin to any paranormal, urban fantasy fan. Its a series that should not be missed. I just can't get enough. I received this ARC copy of Spider's Trap from Pocket Books in exchange for a honest review.
4.5 Stars Reviewed by Annie and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog Thirteen books in this series and the Elemental Assassin series is still going strong. I really am impressed with Jennifer Estep’s writing as of late. Not only has she stepped up her writing game, but Gin Blanco is really becoming a heroine who can take down any baddie out there. With her cool as a cucumber approach to things, there really is nothing out there that can compete with Gin. However that doesn’t stop others from trying. As the new underworld queen, Gin becomes a hot target for many people. When she nearly gets killed, Gin starts a search for the person or people responsible for it. Naturally there are twists and turns along the way that make for an eventful ride but what stands out to me is that Gin is embracing another side to herself. She’s usually the stab first girl of gal but recently, her position of power has caused her to step back and really think about her actions first. It makes her stronger as a character and possibly more lethal as well. Urban Fantasy is always a little tricky for me because I do love my romance. But this series is an exception. While Owen does play a significant part in the series, my favorite has always been Gin. She carries this series in ways that other UF series don’t. There’s always a male counterpart that helps support the heroine through the course of the series. Not with this one though. Gin has always stood on her own two feet and while I adore what Owen has brought to the series, I feel like the strength Gin provides is what makes this series so strong on its own. Saying this is rare for me because I’m such a firm advocate for romance in any series. I also have to stop and say how much I enjoy Estep’s writing. It’s never confusing or too wordy. Her pacing is always spot on and every chapter ends with something that makes you go “ooh!” Again, that’s not an easy thing to do somehow Estep manages it with ease. SPIDER’S TRAP is an excellent addition to the Elemental Assassin series. Gin [and Jennifer Estep] can do no wrong! *ARC provided by publisher
Gin Blanco returns in book 13 of the Elemental Assassin series. This time around, Gin is dealing with being the head honcho of the underworld. She is mediating a dispute between two underworld bosses when someone attempts to blow her up with a bomb. With a nagging feeling that something is familiar with the rune left behind, Gin has to look deep in her past to figure out who is after her before it is too late. Gin’s friends help out, but she now has the benefit of having the help of some underworld bosses for information now as well. Unlikely truces, betrayal, and a ton of kick butt fighting happen in this installment. It makes this book hard to put down. And we have a new lead on who the next big bad villain will be. It’s going to be an interesting next few books in the series to say the least. I highly suggest the series if you haven’t read it yet!
4.5 stars-- SPIDER’S TRAP is the thirteenth full-length installment in Jennifer Estep’s adult, contemporary Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series focusing on elemental assassin Gin Blanco aka The Spider. With her dual elements of stone and ice, Gin is a one woman force of nature’s power. Told from first person point of view (Gin Blanco) SPIDER’S TRAP finds Gin facing a new but familiar enemy, in the fictional town of Ashland, whose elemental strength may be more than Gin had anticipated. As the new head of Ashland’s underworld, Gin must mediate between rival kingpins and settle disputes, all the while trying to ward off the attacks against the people that she loves. When an enemy from the past resurfaces looking for revenge, Gin makes it her mission to stay one step ahead-but is Gin the target or is someone else? SPIDER’S TRAP brings together all of Gin’s elemental friends, vampires, giants and dwarves. Owen returns as Gin’s love interest but the romance is always limited in UF storylines; Finn continues to make impressions on the ladies; and memories of Fletcher continue to direct Gin on her path of knowledge and understanding. Gin and Bria’s relationship is no longer combative and hasn’t been for several storylines; Jo Jo and Sophia continue to play their supporting roles as protector and healer. Jennifer Estep infuses some of the backstory and history between Gin and the previous evil elementals who have threatened our heroine or wreaked havoc on her family and friends. There is a familiarity to the storyline as old stories are revisited and the past comes full circle; Fletcher’s letters, files and lessons are a major part of the storyline (and series) premise as Gin continues her mentor’s job. SPIDER’S TRAP is an engaging and intriguing addition to Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series that blends magic with the elementals; the supernatural with reality. There is the usual mayhem, violence, blood shed and death, but Gin, more or less, comes out of this adventure unharmed-others may not be so lucky. Gin’s evolution throughout the series finds our heroine stopping to consider all outcomes before jumping head first into a battle she may not be ready to lose-Gin’s overconfidence is often her Achilles heal. Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series and Gin Blanco are a ‘go to’ read every time.
Read from June 10 to 11, 2015 Book Info Paperback, 384 pages Expected publication: July 28th 2015 by Pocket Books original title Spider's Trap ISBN 1501105175 (ISBN13: 9781501105173) edition language English series Elemental Assassin #13 other editions (2) Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links Amazon B&N BOOK SYNOPSIS The next thrilling book in Jennifer Estep’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling Elemental Assassin series—“an extraordinary series… One of the most intriguing heroines in the genre” (Romantic Times Book Reviews). Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance. One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be. My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death… My Thoughts When Gin Blanco blasted onto the Urban Fantasy bookshelves in 2010 she was still learning her craft, now 5 years and 13 books later she is the best of the best as an Assassin. Having beaten the previous reigning Underworld Queen of Ashland and then having defeated the daughter as well she has been awarded the dubious honor of becoming the new Underworld Boss. A job she never aspired to, nor does she really want it as the title means more trouble will come her way from those who would like to take it from her. In this book Gin again becomes the main focus, her family and friends are still part of the story but she is front and center where she belongs. The newest threat is one that is as sadistic as he is handsome and turns out to be her strongest adversary yet to date. If you have read the previous books than you will know that food plays a huge role in a lot of the gatherings where Gin and her friends/family share mouth watering home cooked meals. Action is solid as usual, take it with an open mind as what she and others survive is pretty brutal but after all it is a supernatural fantasy tale. If you are looking to find another example of cutting wit and sarcasm than Gin delivers both per her usual dry delivery. Picking up where Black Widow left off we find an even more exciting reading experience which brings us closer to what may be the last book in the series, which from the preview included in this one should be the most explosive yet! 5 years and 13 books later and Gin Blanco is still going strong despite a few really close calls that will keep you on your toes rooting for her to once more triumph. [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]