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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Web of Lies" by Jennifer Estep (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Jennifer Estep Website
Read an Excerpt from the Novel
Order Web of Lies HERE
Read Prequel Short Story Web of Death
Read Prequel Short Story featuring Fletcher Lane

Read Small Prequel Short Story from a different POV
Read FBC Review of Spider's Bite

Jennifer Estep has a bachelor's degree in English and journalism, and a master's degree in professional communications. She works as a features page designer for a daily newspaper when she is not cooking up plots for her books. She has previously published three books in the Bigtime paranormal romance series. She is also is a member of various groups such as of Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, etc. Amongst her many hobbies is cooking which she shares with the protagonist of this series.

PLOT SUMMARY: "Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon….. I'm Gin Blanco.

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

FORMAT/INFO: Page count is 400 pages divided over thirty five chapters. Narration is in the first-person exclusively via the protagonist Gin Blanco. "Web of Lies" is self-contained, but is the second book in the Elemental Assassin series. Book cover and design is by Tony Mauro.

ANALYSIS: "Web of Lies" begins a few weeks after the events of "Spider's Bite". Gin Blanco has comfortably settled in her role as new owner of the Pork Pit. She has still qualms about giving up her ways from the events in "Spider's Bite", however if she is to have a shot with Donovan Caine, she knows she might have to forget her previous occupation permanently.

During a normal routine day, her life gets complicated again when two bandits try to rob the Pork Pit and she and Sophie avert the robbery and potential homicide in their own way. The cops on their arrival, alert her to the fact that one of the robbers is the son of Mab Munroe's legal enforcer Jonah McAllister.

Thus begins the new story; Gin then also volunteers to help a girl [Violet Fox] who comes looking for the Tin Man. Unknown to Violet Fox, Tin Man was the assassin name of Fletcher Lane, Gin's mentor who was murdered at the start of Spider's Bite and this event led to the tale set in that book. Gin investigates and finds out that Violet is related to Fletcher's ex-best friend Warren T. Fox and might be in more trouble than she thinks. She and her grandfather Warren Fox own the land which Tobias Dawson, a dwarf is trying to reclaim it as his own.

Gin is trying both to help Violet and keep her identity secret from Jonah McAllister as he tries to get his son Jake out of legal trouble; Gin is hell bent on filing charges because of his part in the attempted robbery and homicide. The plot's dual stories race off as the readers get to see Gin at her best surrounded by the cast introduced in the first book, Finnegan Lane, Jolene "Jo-Jo" & Sophie Deveraux, the ever dependable dwarf sisters and last but not least Donovan Caine.

The struggle between Gin and Donovan is fun to read but Donovan comes across again as a bit of a floozy who's unsure of what he wants. Thankfully there's a clear resolution to this plot arc and readers will be interested to see what happens in the next book. The action is upped from the previous books and the climax is earth shattering to say the least.

Gin Blanco is again the main draw in this tale as we get to see a more humane side of her and it is clearly evident that the events in this book will fuel the next ones and lead a final reckoning. meant in the message left for her. Jennifer Estep clearly knows her ropes as she goes about a tightly paced plot and there are some surprises in this one as well.

Gin's character is well etched and the events happening are more in line than those of the first. The secondary cast also is evenly highlighted and we get to know more about the dwarf sisters: Jo-Jo who is an air elemental & one of the best healers in the business and Sophie is a goth dwarf and best at disposing things. I found this book was an improvement on its predecessor.

The covers have been a plus point for this series and it shows here too. After these 2 books in the Elemental Assassin series, Jennifer Estep has come up rapidly within my reading range & since the third book Venom is coming out now in September, I'm glad that she is such a fast writer as I can't wait to read more about Gin and her eventual battle with the killers of her family.


lia said...

I loved this book! can't wait for Venom to come out... glad to hear someone else's thoughts about Donovan (I almost felt like he was filler in this book, just a random romantic interest of Gin's)

Bastard said...

My copy arrived the other day, but i'll probably a couple of weeks before I find the time to give this a read. Very much looking forward to it though.

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