Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series features Gin Blanco, an assassin known as the Spider. Spider’s Bite starts with her confessing her profession in a therapy session that is fulfilling to Gin only because it allows her to complete her mission. A ruthless efficient assassin with a penchant for knives, Gin is unusual because she has affinities for the elements of both Stone and Ice although the latter seems to be useful more for making sure that her drinks are always cold enough. An assignment that causes her to cross paths with another assassin goes haywire when she realizes that she is about to be framed by her employer and discovers that her mentor and handler has been brutally murdered. A reluctant witness to the failed assassination attempt, Detective Donovan Caine is one of the few honest cops on the force. Donovan struggles against the attraction that he feels toward Gin while she resists his charms because she knows that they are totally unsuited for one another, particularly because of her history with his former partner. The two must join forces and avoid attracting the notice of the Fire Elemental who controls the city while they solve the murders and avoid being killed themselves.
Spider’s Bits is a well-written fascinating urban fantasy that ensnares the reader in an intricately plotted society where murder and crime are the norm rather than the exception. The skewing of one’s allegiance so that it is perfectly reasonable to root for a self-confessed murderer intermixed with an intriguing combination of vampires, dwarves, giants and other mystical elements make an irresistible start to the series. Non-traditional characters such as the laconic Goth dwarf who is efficient at making dead bodies disappear and the extremely successful vampire madam add an enjoyable spice while the mouthwatering dishes that Gin concocts whets the reader’s appetite for more than just the next installment in the series
My name is Gin, and I kill people.
They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South — when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride. Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.