Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep (Review)

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Title: Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep
Published: April 26th 2011 by Pocket Books
Page Count: 357
Where’d I Get It: Purchase
Rating: 4 stars

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead.

Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too.

The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .

There were two short stories before this one, one from Jo-Jo’s point of view that was kind of adorable, because of Jo-Jo’s penchant for seeing the future (albeit rarely, or without much hubbub). The other was from Bria’s point of view and was mostly an internalized struggle between wanting to find Genevive and knowing she’s the Spider whilst also being an upstanding cop. There was also a chunk in there involving an illegal white slave trafficking bit in there, but while it gave the story an edge, wasn’t the main point. I certainly enjoyed Jo-Jo’s point of view better than Bria’s, but Bria was more of a broken record after the Donovan Caine stuff.

Anyway, that aside, the timeline in the book is now approaching Christmas, close to it. I think we started in early fall? Maybe? The entire series has covered such a short time in Gin’s actual life. She is systematically taking out Mab’s minions, and being a general thorn in the older elemental’s side.

On one such run, she discovers a setup, that Mab has hired an assassin named Elektra LaFluer to do away with Gin. Unraveling that involves protecting Roslyn’s bartender, Vinnie, rescuing his daughter and then going after LaFluer, herself, before she gets Gin and then goes after Bria, who’s next on her and Mab’s hitlist.

I was glad to see Gin up against another assassin this time around. Our last battle with someone of her particular occupation and skillset was Brutus, and he bit it without much fanfare. Though, I neither appreciated the descriptions of LaFluer, nor how the woman was portrayed. She was set as someone sadistic, quick to anger, constantly wearing green (the green matched her electrical elemental power- green? really? not like blue or something?). It was clear that Gin was going to do away with her, but not going to have a problem with it. I’d hoped for someone more multi-faceted, like Gin. Gin battling someone with the same sort of depth of character would be more interesting than just a bland, standard villain role.

Gin also opens up to her sister Bria about her real identity, and they are slowly trying to work through that. It’s still not clear what route Bria will take with it, but so far they’ve forged an awkward friendship.

Owen is still in the picture. He’s become Gin’s personal blacksmith, making her new weapons as a Christmas gift. Personally, I would have preferred something less suited for my literal job, but whatever, Gin thought it was a good gift. Owen is still kind of one dimensional as a romance, but whatever. Maybe he’ll open up here eventually.

Anyway, the fourth installment was still decent. I enjoyed it quite a bit. These books are sure growing on me. Gin is my favorite soul food cooking cinnamon roll who could actually kill you.

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