Spider’s Bite, by Jennifer Estep
Gin, aka the Spider, is a paid assassin and a stone and ice elemental. When Gin is double-crossed during a job, she takes it personal, particularly when her mentor is brutally tortured and murdered. Gin decides to team up with Detective Donovan Caine, but she’ll need to convince him that she’s not the enemy.
Estep has created a fun and fascinating urban fantasy world of vampires, giants, elementals, and other dangerous creatures. The magical creatures are (mostly) treated as regular humans, though it’s certainly a dark and dangerous world. Gin is a mysterious and complex character. We’re given glimpses of her past throughout the book, and her story slowly unfolds as to why she became such a ruthless killer. Though, supposedly she only kills people who deserve it. It’s quite a unique perspective to have the protagonist be a paid assassin and the “good guy.” But somehow, the author makes Gin human enough to make it believable.
Loaded with action and intrigue, the story is strong and exciting. The mystery itself takes a backseat to the character interaction and suspense. But I wouldn’t change a thing. With a knock-out, climactic ending and a surprising twist that I didn’t see coming, I was definitely impressed. This dark, urban fantasy series has a promising start.
Spider’s Bite will release January 26, 2010 from Pocket Books.