Gin Bianco tried to retire from her former profession as an assassin but has learned that some changes are hard to make permanent. She had unintentionally ensnared the vampire madam Roslyn Phillips in her previous machinations to eliminate the evil dwarf Tobias Dawson. Jennifer Estep’s Venom details the fallout from the incidental killing of Jake McAllister, son of Mab Monroe’s top lawyer who is out for revenge and involves his cohort giant Elliot Slater in his plans. Not only do they physically attack Gin because of her past altercation with Jake but Roslyn is inadvertently drawn into the mix when Slater becomes obsessed with her and becomes her sadistic stalker. Gin is astounded to discover that there is a new detective in town who is wearing the rune of her youngest sister, Bria, and who may have Elemental powers inherited from their mother. Bria does not seem to recognize Gin as family but is determined to stand out from the rest of the corrupt police force by investigating Gin’s beating and Roslyn’s stalking despite the fact that this will put her directly in opposition to Mab and her evil monopoly. Gin’s protective instincts are aroused when she realizes that Mab is willing to loose her henchmen and allow them to murder Bria and the instincts of the assassin who named herself Spider tell her that she will need to start eliminating the tentacles of Mab’s kingdom if she is ever going to have a chance to avenge the murder of her family and keep her baby sister from further harm. So much for retirement plans.
Another enthralling action-filled adventure in the Elemental Assassin series that continues to gradually reveal details behind the murder of Gin’s family and her horrific torture at a Fire Elemental’s hands. Estep is proficient at depicting an oddly compassionate character who is comfortable at being a killing machine without losing her sense of humanity. The constant violence depicted in Gin’s world is leavened by the unswerving loyalty and affection depicted by Gin’s adopted family and Estep’s facility at describing the mouthwatering dishes that Gin creates make the reader hunger for more than just the next exciting chapter in the series.
What kind of assassin works pro bono?
It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.