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Web of Lies

January 20th, 2011

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Book Overview:

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.

Book Review

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out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12796 user reviews
Science Fiction 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.

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  1. Colette from A Buckeye Girl Reads
    January 23rd, 2011 at 00:35 | #1


    A Web of Lies is book two in the Elemental Assassin Series by Jennifer Estep. Gin, is now owner of the Pork Pit restaurant, and has retired from the assassin business. There’s just one problem with being retired-it’s boring. So when her restaurant is hit by gunfire one day, Gin is actually happy to finally have some action back in her life, and is even more surprised to learn that the gunfire wasn’t meant for her. It was meant for one of her customers-Violet Fox. When Gin learns that Violet and her Grandfather are being pushed to sell their store, house and land from Tobias Dawson, a rich coal mining guy who doesn’t let anything get in the way of what he wants. Gin doesn’t care for bullies like Tobias, so agrees to help protect Violet and her Grandfather from him. the problem with helping Violet and her Grandfather out is that no one believes she’s really retired-especially the one person she wants to believe that she’s changed her lifestyle- Detective Donovan Caine. Det. Caine is the only honest cop in town, and can’t quite believe that he’s attracted to an assassin with Gin. As much as she tries to persuade him that things aren’t always as simple as they seem, he can’t get over everything Gin has done or the fact that he can be attracted to her.

    This book has everything you could want in a book-magic, hawt love scenes, kick ass fight scenes, a sassy heroine, a tortured hero, and side characters that you just love.Speaking of side characters-I just loved Owen Grayson. I hope we see more of him! Am I the only one who would love for Finn to have his own book?

  2. Kathy E.
    January 23rd, 2011 at 06:20 | #2


    I strongly recommend you read the previous books in the series (Spider’s Bite and check out three free short stories on the author’s site under “excerpts & More”: “Spider’s Bargain” a prequel to Spider’s Bite; “Web of Death” takes place after the events of Spider’s Bite but before the beginning of Web of Lies; and “Web of Deceit” which takes place when Gin is a teenager. It’s told from the point of view of Fletcher Lane, Gin’s assassin mentor, and focuses on Gin’s first solo job as the assassin ) prior to reading this installment.

    This was a fantastic read that just seemed to fly by. Retired assassin Gin has finally found a good way to put her deadly talents to good use; killing for the poor and downtrodden……

    This was one of my most anticipated May releases and I wasn’t disappointed. The story hit the ground running and never slowed down! The exciting action, spectacular magic and twisted hilarious humor just kept my attention completely glued to each page. Gin is the kind of heroine I love to read about, tough, smart and a force to be reckoned with.

    The author did a fantastic job of incorporating all the secondary characters and including a hottie who just makes you say Donovan Caine who? This installment was just about flawless and I can’t wait to see what mischief Owen Grayson stirs up for Gin in the future.

    I highly recommend this book to fellow dark urban fantasy readers and I can’t for the next book in the series Venom due out 9/28/10.

    I also recommend:

    Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, Book 4)

    Storm Born (Dark Swan, Book 1)

    The Mage in Black (Sabina Kane)

    Hallowed Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, Book 2)

    Black Magic Sanction (Rachel Morgan, Book 8)

  3. Embee Crichton
    January 23rd, 2011 at 14:46 | #3


    I won’t repeat here what the other 5-star reviewers have said. They’ve told you all about the the fascinating plots and the characters.

    But let me just say that this is a totally original series–not much in common with many other urban fantasy novels. Jennifer Estep’s writing is masterful and drops you squarely into the heroine’s world. These books are full of worldbuilding, character development, fascinating good guys, friends, and bad guys; great storylines and subplots. It is a riveting tell. I read it in less than a day and then had to run to the computer see when Book 3 comes out.

    Like other readers, I’m pretty tired of Det. Donovan Caine’s moral high ground which he places above all else and I hope that’s he’s gone or that Owen Grayson ultimately wins the fight for Gin’s heart. Because what little we see of Owen Grayson–well I was hooked from his first appearance. He’s just perfect: slightly dangerous, non-judgmental, great sense of humor, patient, compassionate . . . . . . and big and gorgeousssssss. He also sees and accepts Gin for exactly who she is, something that Donovan Caine can’t. I really hope that we and Gin see more of Grayson.

    Finally, for all the arguments that Gin is heartless and emotionless, (Gin tells herself these things, too), she simply is not. She is kind, fiercely loyal, does the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing, and doesn’t shy from doing the hard thing. She will do anything to protect those whom she loves.

    The second book opens up the plots for the coming books–and there are strong indications of so many to come.

    I can’t urge you enough to read these books. They are awesome! 5 stars.

  4. Tracy
    January 23rd, 2011 at 14:58 | #4


    The Spider is retired. The assassin’s alter ego Gin Blanco, on the other hand, now owns and runs the Pork Pit, the barbecue joint that her handler, Fletcher, left her upon his death. He’s the one who wanted her to retire, and she’s been doing the best to follow his last wishes. Problem is, she’s bored out of her mind. The sort of bored no amount of restaurant managing, baking, or auditing classes at Ashland’s Community College can quite ease. It’s been two months since she went head to head with the Elemental Mage who was responsible for Fletcher’s death, two months of mourning the man who was like a father to her, and two months with nothing more taxing to do than making sure no one followed her home or had been to her house while she was working. She’s more than ready for a little excitement. She should’ve known excitement would find her eventually.

    First there was the robbery…well, the attempt, anyway. Two goons storm into her place with ill intent and one is the son of a very affluent, connected, and, of course, crooked attorney, but Gin doesn’t much care who beget the bastard. He threatened her place and almost killed a customer. No one does that to her. She doesn’t kill him – witnesses, more’s the pity – but she is intent on pressing charges. Even after the powerful daddy pays her a less than pleasant visit. Gin doesn’t scare easy. Or, you know…at all.

    That one event brings Donovan Caine back into her life – after he’d been pointedly avoiding her since Fletcher’s funeral. The sparks are still there, but he’s still a supercilious and sanctimonious prig. Soon Gin doesn’t have time to deal with his issues even if she wanted to, because someone’s taking shots at her restaurant. At first she thinks it’s the goon with the Daddy issues, but no – the shooter is after someone else entirely, and Gin is drawn into a situation not of her making. A corrupt businessman is threatening the life of a childhood friend of Fletcher’s, as well as attempting to rape and murder his granddaughter. Maybe that retirement was a wee bit precipitous, after all.

    So here we are again for the second foray into the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep. I wasn’t totally thrilled with the first,Spider’s Bite , but I saw potential for the series. Some of that potential was realized in this second book. I did enjoy this one slightly more than the first. One of the things I liked in both books is the complexity and depth in the fascinating character of Gin. I think she’s the high point of the book and the series. She’s such a fantastic blend of contradictions. An assassin since she was thirteen, she can kill coldly and cleanly with no effect on her conscience, and yet for those few people she cares about, she’s wildly protective and will go to any and every length to defend them. She a jaded realist, but there’s parts of her that still hope for things that she’s never known. She keeps her heart more closely guarded than most countries guard their gold, yet the echoes of past tragedies still make it break. If anyone gets too close, she’s quick to stick a blade in them, yet she’s one of the loneliest people I’ve ever seen.

    Her relationship with Donovan Caine (who I have to admit, I loathe) is such a good example of the myriad of contradictions that make Gin so special. She wants him, she’s drawn to him, and she will never bend for him, or compromise herself to be with him. He condemns her for her profession, part of him despises her for his unquenchable desire, and she knows that he’ll never accept her. She could tell him of her past, her childhood, so he could understand. She could seduce him day and night until he gives over to her completely. She does neither. She wants him, yes, but even more than his body, she wants him to accept all of her – to see all of her, and until he does, she accepts that there’s no future in it. But she hopes that maybe one day…

    I really do enjoy her character, and think she’s one of the more interesting ones I’ve come across in urban fantasy lately. The supporting cast – Finn and the dwarven sisters Jo-Jo and Sophia are back from the first book, as well, and I enjoyed spending time with them again. There are a few new faces that have some interesting potential. I’m really hoping to see more of Owen in the next book, even if I thought the timing of his arrival in the book was a little convenient.

    Unfortunately, the drawbacks of the last book have also carried over into this one. I wasn’t thrilled with the plot. It wasn’t as cohesive or as complex as I would’ve liked, and it took a while to really get into it. The book started a bit slow for me, even with the robbery, and I felt Estep was a little too conscientious in introducing new readers to previous events. Yes, this book could be read as a stand-alone, and that’s all well and good, but after the massive amount of exposition heavily lathered into the first third of the book, a reader new to the series doesn’t even have to bother reading the first book to be as familiar with it as those of us who did.

    In the first book, also, I had a problem with repetition in the narrative, and again I felt like this was an issue here. In much the same way. Often about the same things. Descriptions are given again and again – like the scars on Gin’s hand, or the way Donovan smells, or the coffee Finn drinks, etc. We also hear more than once about how Gin feels about Fletcher and the folder he’d made for her – that comes up through the whole book. At times it feels like Estep is bludgeoning her readers to really, really get her points across and it’s just not necessary. Much less repetition would be greatly appreciated as the series continues.

    Like I said, I did like this book a little more than the first. I don’t think Gin’s actions were as intelligent as they were in that one during the events preceding and during the big showdown, but we got a broader glimpse of her personality, and her character was fleshed out even more, with a few more glimpses into her backstory. While the plot wasn’t complex, I thought it had more of a human touch to it, and several plot threads engendered a bit more emotion from me than in the last. Plus, there was another nifty series cross-over mention. I love how Estep does that. In this book, Finn’s reading a newspaper article written by Carmen Cole who you can meet in Karma Girl, the first of Estep’s Bigtime series.

    Despite Web of Lies not being quite as good for me as I’d hoped, I have pre-ordered the next book in the Elemental Assassin series, Venom, due out at the end of September. I enjoy Gin too much not to continue with her story for now. 3.5 Stars.

    Originally reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.

  5. W. Bentrim
    January 23rd, 2011 at 20:58 | #5


    Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep

    Retirement is difficult for Gin Blanco. Running the Pork Pit is enjoyable and cooking is wonderful but a lack of action is creating some boredom. The intrusion of an immature giant and a cowboy dwarf miner provides the impetus to reengage her assassin skills but this time for free.

    Gin is a likeable rogue. (rougette?) Her tenacity is awe inspiring. She kicks butt with the best of them. Her unrequited love for Donavan Caine is a bit confusing. Owen Greyson seems like a better fit and has far fewer emotional hang-ups.

    Finn, Sophia and Jo-Jo are loyal friends. I enjoy stories that highlight things like altruism, loyalty and honor. Gin as a character would reject all those attributes but exhibits them all. There is plenty of action and intrigue to the story. The end leads gracefully into the next book in the series, Venom. This book was a good follow up to the first Elemental Assassin book, The Spiders Bite.

    I love butt kicking female protagonists and Gin kicks butts with gusto.

    I highly recommend the book.

  6. Neker
    January 24th, 2011 at 15:35 | #6


    I really enjoyed the first book, but I didn’t think this one was as well done. I just glanced over the previous reviewer’s remarks and I know I’m going to be the odd man out here, but I found myself scanning this book more than reading it. I thought there was way too much exposition (probably about 1/2 of the book could be considered a review of the previous novel). How many times did the heroine have to point out to us that she was with Fletcher for 17 years. That she was an assassin for 17 years? That her family died 17 years ago? She must have restated her family’s death at least 10 times. She described her scars on her hand (circle with 8 lines, by the way it means patience) over and over. There were soooo many things that were repeated. Even little things. Did she have to refer to her restaurant as her “Gin joint” everytime she talked about it? Then, everytime Det. Caine showed up, there was the corney, “mmmm.”

    I was becoming more and more annoyed with the characters the more I read the story. Det. Caine became a wussy bore. I know the reason why she made him so unlikable, but it totally ruined the character of Gin, too. What reader want to see the heroine throw herself on a man that doesn’t want her, again, over and over.

    If you took out the repetition in the story it would probably have cut 2/3 of the book. I think that is a fair assessment of how much room the actual storyline (plot) took.

  7. Avid Reading in NV
    January 25th, 2011 at 03:27 | #7


    Gin Blanco, retired assassin, is running her inherited restaurant the pork pit. Two people try to rob her, threaten her customers

    Gin can’t let that stand. She disarms the anger ball fire elemental Jake. Jakes dad doesn’t take lightly someone pressing charges against his boy. He makes a bunch of trouble that Gin must deal with. One of the customers she saved was Eva Grayston, her well connected brother Owen instantly takes a liking to Gin. Owen is attractive, kind, smart and is outright begging for a date. I really like the potential of that relationship!! I can’t wait to see more of those two. When an assassin tries to kill Violet Fox in the pork pit, curiosity gets the better of her. Gin finds Violete on college campus getting beaten by a dwarf. Retirement isn’t forever =) I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the characters feel like old friends. I couldn’t put the book down. I liked it just as much as the first! Fast paced, relatable characters, fun exciting story line, it was fantastic!

  8. Janet Samuels
    January 25th, 2011 at 19:04 | #8


    I finished reading the first book in the series a little over a day ago and bought this, the second book, yesterday. I tore through the book and am eagerly awaiting the next book! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, you can probably still make sense of the plot. However, many of the developments won’t be as meaningful so I suggest you read book 1 before this one.

    Our heroine is now a retired assassin …. but bored. Gin Blanco is running her restaurant and minding her own business when first there is an attempted robbery at her restaurant and, the next day, a shooting. The author weaves these two strands of plots together very well and the confrontation with one of the would-be robbers and his powerful father is woven throughout the book and is a set-up for the third book in the series. The other plot strand with Violet Fox is great on many levels. We get to see Gin in action as she comes out of retirement for a bit of pro-bono work. We get to see Gin’s friends from the previous book (Finn, Jo-Jo, and Sophie). I loved how we learned more about Gin’s past as well as Fletcher’s past. Also, at the end, Gin’s relationship with the detective was resolved nicely without any tricks or gimmicks. This book was obviously very well plotted out beforehand as it is a fantastic book in its own right AND it serves to setup the next book in the series. This will be a series on auto-buy from now on for me!

  9. F. Izquierdo
    January 26th, 2011 at 06:39 | #9


    The premise of this series – a “heroine” who is an assassin (albeit retired), a Robin Hood who lends her deadly skills to aid the downtrodden – is somewhat interesting if morally ambigious. Additionally, there is a mystery from said heroine’s past that I’m interested in seeing resolved. However, I don’t know if that interest is enough to combat the negatives.

    Ms. Estep expends a great deal of energy recapping the characters and events from the first book in this series. (From the preview I read of book 3, the same thing occurs in that book as well.) As someone who read the first book, this repitition was unnecessary and boring.

    I also found much of the writing to be repetitive and in some cases, inapt as well as unnecessary. How many times do we need to be told that Gin keeps five silverstone knives on her person at all times, or that Gin’s rune is a spiderweb which is embedded in her palms?

    Much as I’d like to see if Mab Monroe gets her comeuppance and where sister Bria has been, I’m not sure I’ll be able to muddle through the next installment in this series.

  10. Lisa
    January 30th, 2011 at 00:06 | #10


    Wow- I just devoured this second book in the Elemental Assasin series. I would encourage you to read Book One Spider’s Bite: An Elemental Assassin Book first.

    At the end of the last book- Gin had taken over the Pork Pit and retired from her work as an assasin. Now a series of events occur which force her to use her assasin skills again. The book is non stop action.

    All of the great supporting characters are back- Finn, her foster brother, the two dwarf sisters Jo-Jo and Sophia. Her love interest Detective Donovan Caine is back as well, along with another potential romantic interest, Owen Grayson. Please be advised- this is Urban Fantasy not Paranormal Romance.

    The writing is smooth. The world building is unique. I loved this book. I am not a big fan of Donovan Caine, so I was happy to see another potential male lead.Also I can’t wait to see what happens when she finds her long lost sister Bria.

    Thankfully Book Three Venom: An Elemental Assassin Book will be available in September.

  11. Bookaholics Reviewer
    January 30th, 2011 at 14:53 | #11


    Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep

    Urban Fantasy- May 25th, 2010

    5 stars

    Web of Lies starts out fast, furious, and fun. This book utterly delighted me with its wonderful cast of characters and cool urban landscape filled with: power, danger and corruption. Although it helps to have read the previous book in this series I feel that new readers will still be able to start with this book although I would highly recommend reading the first just for the added enjoyment! The main character Gin holds nothing back as she risks her life and her heart for those she cares about and for those she feels under appreciated. As a heroine Gin has her own sense of morality and prefers being solo but always seems to find herself with a colorful cast of characters that made this 2nd book well worth the wait. But because this is the 2nd book in the proposed 5 book series, it is a transitional book and the ending is left somewhat uncertain.

    Gin was the infamous Spider, the most dangerous and ruthless assassin for hire. In her last assignment her mentor was murdered and she was framed for his death. Gin was able to take her revenge for his murder and prove her innocence. At the end of the book 1 (Spider’s Bite), Gin decides to retire, but we find in Web of Lies that she was not meant for inaction because trouble has a way of finding her.

    Now the new owner of the Pork Pit restaurant, Gin has just started her early retirement. But her restaurant is robbed by a pair of young hoodlums. One with powerful connections that could mean big danger for her! Her life is further complicated when an old friend of her mentor asks for protection from an unscrupulous dwarf who wants their land.

    I especially liked this book because it delved more into Gin’s past. This 2nd book is more emotional than the previous book. This is largely due to the death of Gin’s mentor, Fletcher. Not only does she miss his solid presence but Gin has inherited his restaurant and a mysterious picture of a sister she thought murdered. This book also includes important flashbacks that include Gin’s early years with Fletcher and his son Finn. Gin is also uncertain if she should look for her sister and if she should pursue a relationship with the super uptight but sexy cop Donovan. To complicate matters further, another man is trying to worm his way into her affections.

    I felt the 2nd book was as amazing as the first, it just focuses in a different area. In the first book I loved the non-stop action as Gin tries to discover the mystery behind her set up and find revenge for her mentor’s death. In this book she is trying to settle into retirement but she finds trouble from all sides. As a transition book it leaves many questions unanswered. I felt this story brought a great depth to Gin and I admired the heroine even more. (As a nosy reader I love finding out more about characters I love and what shaped them into the person they are today!) Jennifer Estep does not give Gin the easy way out of her difficulties and as Gin struggles to make sense and find her own justice I felt part of the journey. Usually I like to have a book wrap up most of the loose ends but in this case I completely happy to have a 5 book series because I feel this main characters deserves it and I don’t want to let go of her too soon! This series has a lot of space to expand, and each book brings more intriguing characters that add to a crew of friends that make this series all the more lively.

    This series is not to be missed! If only for the loveable and Interesting characters. I especially enjoyed the dwarves Jo-Jo and Sophia and the charming and irreverent Finn. I can’t get enough of this series!

    Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club

  12. Monica Garcia
    February 1st, 2011 at 03:00 | #12


    After her mentor Fletcher was killed in book one, Spider’s Bite, Gin Blanco retired from her life as an assassin. Bored to the point of tears things liven up for Gin when two thugs try to rob her BBQ restaurant. It turns out that one of the creeps is the son of a high powered attorney who will stop at nothing to ensure Gin drops the charges against his son.

    Then to make matters worse, the very next day a customer is shot at inside the restaurant. Voilet Fox came to the Pork Pit looking for the Tin Man, Gin’s former mentor. Since so few people knew about Fletcher this raises a red flag that has Gin more than curious to find out why and you know what they say about curiosity.

    With each Jennifer Estep book I read I’m more in awe of her writing. She always has fresh storylines with well developed characters. The dual plot lines are each tied up nicely in the end yet we’re left with a delicious cliff hanger that will have me first in line to read the third book in the series, Venom. Web of Lies will stand alone but I highly recommend reading Spider’s Bite first to get the full effect of the awesomeness of Estep’s genius. This is a must read for anyone who loves urban fantasy.

  13. M. Bauer
    February 1st, 2011 at 19:45 | #13


    Oh, this is going to be a hard review for me to write. Why? Because I want to say so much but I can’t or I’ll spoil parts of this book. It’s one of those you just want to talk about because of what happens. Rest assured, I will not spoil anything for you. There might be a small spoiler for the last book, but I’ll even try to keep those to a minimum.

    As you know, at the end of the first book, Gin is looking forward to retirement. She is haunted by the file Fletcher has left her and she is bored, even though she loves to cook and has made her life as the Pork Pit’s owner. Events happen in her life, as Gin’s life will never be static and she gets thrown into one problem after another. At first, I’d say that everything she had to deal with would be too much for one book, but even those things that don’t fit neatly together seem to fit enough in the end you aren’t left feeling as though it didn’t get enough attention. Gin is still her feisty self and still has the same attitude about life in general. There are also some hot scenes as there were in the first book. All of this action, sex, and mystery as there was in the first one with just enough surprise thrown in the end makes this book a great second book in the series. This book can also be read as a stand-alone because she provides enough background to have the book make sense. It is also not a cliff-hanger, but provides you with enough mystery that you are going to clamor for the 3rd book shortly after you read this one.

    I recommend this book and this series highly. I gave this book 5 stars.

  14. K. Garrabrant
    February 3rd, 2011 at 21:59 | #14


    Gin Blanco, formerly known as Spider, has retired from the assassin business and enjoys spending her days cooking at the Pork Pit that was willed down to her from her mentor and adopted father, Fletcher, after he was tortured and killed. Gin, who is also skilled as an elemental (one who has control over certain elements), got her revenge, and has no remorse or regrets in snuffing out those lives of those who bring terror to the city of Ashland.

    One of the biggest concerns Gin has at the moment is finding her sister she thought was dead and keeping an eye on Mab Monroe, a very high ranking and powerful elemental who runs the Ashland underworld. Mab may have had a part in killing Gin’s family and leaving her for dead when she was barely out of her teens. Gin lives for payback, and when the time is right, she will strike. But real life problems end up at her door when two spoiled, rich Daddy’s boys come into The Pork Pit and try to rob it. Gin is able to take control of the situation, but is now under the radar Jonah McAllister, Ashland’s most successful lawyer and personal counsel to Mab. His son, Jake was one of the perpetrators who tried to steal from Gin and she now has become a target because she won’t be paid off. And things become even more interesting when Owen Grayson, the brother of one of her female customers she protected, who happens to be one of the city’s wealthiest business men, wants to give Gin a reward. He becomes even more intrigued when Gin doesn’t want anything from him.

    Gin longs to hide back in the shadows as a nobody, but she can’t. A young woman has been marked for death. Violet Fox has come to Gin for protection. Her grandfather Warren and Fletcher used to be friends and now Tobias Dawson, a dwarf who has a cowboy boot fetish will do whatever he can to steal the land that Warren’s store is on. Gin is willing to take care of Tobias in the best way she knows how, but Detective Donovan Caine keeps coming around to keep an eye on her. Their relationship is a shaky one at best because Donovan knows first hand what Gin is capable of. Gin doesn’t understand why Donovan is so bent out of shape and not willing to look away. Gin is more than bent out of shape because she wants Donovan but he refuses to act on their attraction because of his self righteous attitude.

    Along with Flynn, Fletcher’s debonair son who channels James Bond, and two sister dwarfs skilled in the magical arts of recovery and medicine, Gin comes out of retirement not only to take on Tobias, but also McAllister, who is willing to get rid of Gin by any means necessary.

    Web of Lies is the second book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series about a heroine who walks a fine line with her morals. I have to give Jennifer a lot of credit for creating a character such as Gin, who makes no excuses for her actions. This is no weeping violet, too stupid to live heroine. Gin Blanco is a nice breath of fresh air that I wish was more emulated in the books I read.

    This time around we see a tender and somewhat unsure Gin. This is a woman who is very loyal and dedicated to her friends and those she is close to, as well as putting herself out on the line in regards to Donovan, who she longs for deeply. Donovan is close to destroying Gin’s trust and willingness to love because of his issues with her. Because of his actions, he helps Gin revert back into her cold shell. But even though this one relationship may seem over before it ever began, Jennifer introduces a new “friendship” for Gin where readers may take sides. This should unfold as more future books are written. The action and suspense is fierce and Gin comes close to losing many times. Watching how she is able to escape from death is one of the best reasons to read Web of Lies.

    Jennifer Estep has really hit the high marks again with Web of Lies. I wait for the next installment with Gin and her band of outcasts who right the wrongs of those innocent people who have no where else to turn.


    Spider’s Bite: An Elemental Assassin Book (No. 1)

    Venom: An Elemental Assassin Book (No. 3)

  15. J. Payne
    February 4th, 2011 at 09:15 | #15


    Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:


    Five minutes prior to the start of WEB OF LIES, Gin Blanco is enjoying a good book, blackberry ice tea, and retirement from her profession as a high-end assassin. The story opens with armed robbery and Gin’s snarky inner monologue, and though she subdues the intruders without causalities (there are witnesses around, after all), Gin’s idyllic time reading at the Pork Pit counter-top and taking classes at the community college is over. As much as I loved seeing Gin enjoy a good book, I didn’t mind the change of pace.

    I though WEB OF LIES was at its strongest when Gin is doing what she does best: going on reconnaissance, assailing magically and physically fortified buildings, and killing bad guys so egregiously evil you cheer when they hit the floor (or get run over by a car. Twice.). Estep did a wonderful job of making me feel like I was at Gin’s side, listening to her threat assessments and problem solving. (Though there were times when Gin would finish tallying up the attributes of a giant and move onto how she was going to kill him when I was still back on, “Wait, he’s 7 feet tall, can survive a direct shotgun blast to the chest, and could break your neck with one punch? And you’re going to attack?! Shouldn’t we talk about this?”) In Gin’s world, local politics is a near-constant stream of graft, murder, and exploitation, allowing me to support her murderous justice wholeheartedly and enjoy the mayhem that ensues.

    As with Spider’s Bite, however, Gin and I part ways once she turns her attention from killing to dating. I agree with Abigail’s assessment of the relationship between Gin and Donovan Caine in her review of Spider’s Bite: “The way she objectified him, the way he fought his lust for her because of moral reasons…we’ve seen it before in a hundred other books (and movies) with the roles reversed. It sounds like it would be a fun switch, but I found it off-putting.”

    I, too, found it off-putting. In particular, I never felt that the author made a distinction between Donovan not liking Gin’s profession and him not liking her. Gin is sympathetic enough that she deserves better than a man that avoids her, is disgusted by her choices, and, oh, by the way, can’t resist her body. Donovan’s shortcomings are highlighted by the introduction of Owen Grayson. He’s powerful, handsome, and a good big brother. He also hits on Gin, no matter how many knives she’s wearing on her body. This, in my mind, more than makes up for the whiff of organized crime that trails him. I don’t want to spoil the Donovan/Owen competition by saying much more, but both readers who enjoy the physical chemistry between Gin and Donovan, and those of us who dislike their relationship dynamic, will find something to love in WEB OF LIES.

    While WEB OF LIES did contain hints of my least favorite parts of Spider’s Bite (Anita/Richard-esque discussions about murder being one of them), it also contained great action and a main character whom I enjoy. WEB OF LIES has made me anxious to pick up Venom, in the hopes that the best parts of the series have yet to come.

    Sexual Content: An explicit sex scene. References to rape. References to prostitution. Description of oral sex.

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