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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.

395 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 4, 2010

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About the author

Jennifer Estep

99 books11.3k followers
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author who prowls the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer is the author of the Elemental Assassin, Section 47, Galactic Bonds, Crown of Shards, Gargoyle Queen, and other fantasy series. She has written more than 40 books, along with numerous novellas and stories.

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys hanging out with friends and family, doing yoga, and reading fantasy and romance books. She also watches way too much TV and loves all things related to superheroes.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit her website at www.JenniferEstep.com or sign up for her newsletter: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-....

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Amazon: https://amzn.to/39lCyX6
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Jennifer's blog: https://tinyurl.com/2dj4afb
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Happy reading, everyone! 😎

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,208 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,701 followers
September 30, 2017
9/30/17 - ON SALE for $2.99:


3.5 stars

So here's the thing about ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN: it's a great urban fantasy series.

It really is.

The magic system is complex and interesting, the setting is cool, the secondary characters are sympathetic and easy to connect with, and Gin . . . well, Gin is a stone-cold killer (HA!).

That being said, this first installment (like so many others) has a few problems.

BUT. With a very few exceptions, most of the things that bug me about Gin (or whatever), are the reverse of something I love about her (or whatever).

I can never know for sure whether an author does this on purpose, but I can't help but treat it less harshly than I would if it didn't have that aspect of realism--I'm one of those "THE BOOKS ARE REAL! THE PEOPLE ARE REAL!" type readers.

YES, I know they aren't really real, but while I'm reading, if the author has done her job, it feels real.

And in real relationships, *coughs* like my marriage *coughs* and my family *coughs* the things that drive you the most crazy about a person, are byproducts of the same things you love the most.

For example, Gin went through some very dark times in her childhood. It's given her a wry sense of humor, and she views life sans anything resembling rose-colored glasses. Her reality is often bleak, but Estep gives it a haunting beauty:

I grimaced at his grandiose tone. Sometimes Fletcher reminded me of a circus ringmaster making the sad elephants, browbeaten horses, and two-bit acts seem more thrilling than they actually were.

Alternately, she sometimes has TERRIBLE fashion sense:

Tight black jeans, leather jacket, boots, and a long-sleeved, black T-shirt with a pair of sequined cherries on the front.

Her outfit before that involved a t-shirt with blackberries, cut so low the edge of her bra was on display.


But Gin isn't the kind of girl to pay close attention to fashion, and that's one of the things that I love about her, so I cringe and move on. In real life, I'd take her to the mall and help an assassin out.

This also happens with her Southernisms. It's a toss up as to whether I'm going to get one that makes me laugh in fond remembrance:

“Nope, it’s chicory coffee.” Finn raised his own mug in salute. “It’ll put hair on your chest.”

Or shudder b/c CRASS:

. . . the balance was off, and the wooden handle was slick as hot shit in the summertime, but it would do the job.

Most of the time, a few statements like that are enough to lose a star, but when an author is able to make it feel consistent with the character's personality, I give it a pass.

So that's Gin.

We're only just beginning to meet her support system: her adopted brother Finnegan Lane, and dwarve sisters Jo Jo and Sophia Deveraux.

Not much to say about Jo Jo and Sophia yet, beyond both of their elemental gifts being extremely helpful, but Finn . . . I loved Finn instantly:

“Maybe, maybe not. You know my thoughts on honest men.”
“That there aren’t any.”
Finn shot his forefinger at me. “Precisely.”

My interpretation of Ashland is that Estep picked up one of the big Southern cities--Atlanta, Montgomery, Nashville, etc.--and plopped it down in Asheville. I have no idea how accurate that is, but that's what it feels like to me.

It's old school Southern, and Estep being a Southerner herself, it's authentic. But it's not the refined, whitewashed South. Oh, there are the bejeweled women in flouncy dresses and the men in seersucker suits, but Gin is an ASSASSIN. For her cover, works as a waitress at a dive restaurant called the Pork Pit.

And sometimes all the thugs and Gin's interactions with them feel more like Prohibition era Chicago than Tara. But, again, I like that.

SO. If you're a fan of urban fantasy, and looking for a quick, fun read, you should definitely add ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN to your TBR. SPIDER'S BITE is a solid first installment, and it only gets better from here. Plus, you know, ASSASSIN.


If there was an "s" or two in "Donovan Caine," I'd be willing to spend HOURS trying to rearrange the letters to spell "self-righteous prick."

And then I'd drink some blackberry lemonade to celebrate.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.2k followers
October 21, 2010
The PNR genre has certainly grown a great deal in the past few years, but nothing much has changed.

It still draws a helluva lot of inspiration from Buffy. And who wouldn't? Buffy was hot. Buffy was funny. Buffy kicked arse.

Thankfully Estep's main character, Gin, isn't that funny but she does kick a lot of arse. Often and without all that pesky remorse that most other female protagonists are forced to endure by their cruel creators.

Because remorse is like an STD, folks, you get it by getting close to people, it never goes away and it makes you a lot less fun to be with when you're not on your medication.

The novel was refreshingly free of duo love interests competing for our protagonist’s affections. You can imagine, after reading so many PNR romances and Urban fantasy novels, that I’m about to gorge out my own eyes before watching two men pussy foot around the same arse-kicking wench until she finally chooses the wrong one. (Penny will agree with me – she always roots for the underdog!)

I would say that my one complaint about this novel is Estep’s heroizing (no, not a ‘real’ word but really, if we all pitch in together then we can MAKE it a real word!) Gin. This chick is an assassin and she never kills a single person in this book that doesn’t thoroughly deserve it. Thoroughly. Estep actually goes to great pains to ensure that we know that every single person knifed or otherwise stabbed (she doesn’t always stab with knives so I don’t want you to confuse the two, folks!) deserves it.

Let’s face it, the majority of her clients are NOT child molester’s and rapists and thugs who get off on torturing people. The majority of her clients are probably stock-brokers or politicians or supreme court judges or some such ilk who haven’t done too much wrong other than pissing off the wrong people.

Look, if you’re going to make your main character a cold hearted bitch – that’s actually okay with me. I can relate to that! But don’t tell us she’ll kill anything (except for children apparently) for a paycheck and then have her only kill bad guys in the actual text. Be brave. Go all out, Estep! I’m actually pretty confident you could pull it off!

This world does have vampires and long-lived dwarves in it but the main paranormal focus comes from the various elemental magic users which is a nice change of pace from the norm. Vampires aren’t even that awesome in this novel. Cool, I’m down with that. It’s not like Dracula was too much of a badass. I mean, c’mon, Van Helsing and co. weren’t exactly the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree as far as a Scooby gang goes.

The writing was smooth, the action was well paced and I enjoyed Gin’s forward and confident nature in dealing with the world around her and with Detective Caine who could stand to pull the stick out of his ass but was otherwise a good love interest and main character.

I will read the rest of this series until it either ends or I get bored. It was interesting and well written enough to keep me around but I wouldn’t say it’s a shining beacon of awesome in the genre like Mind Games was. Then again, what is there to expect? Like the hookers in this book, the PNR genre is getting a little old, a little tired, and looking a little more frayed around the edges. Maybe it’s time for the old girl to call it quits.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
January 23, 2016
The sentimental part of me was dead, burned away and crumbled to ash -- just like my family had been.

Yep, it's that good. I have to give the book points for seriously putting out every cheesy line and stereotype that could possibly be used in this story. We had the bad-ass assassin girl who was out on the streets as a kid until a kind-hearted assassin took her in and trained her to kill. Now, she is the most feared assassin around and kills without regret. But, only people who deserve to be killed. No kids, pets, or torturing. She has a code. They always have a code.... Well, guess what? I have a code too. If you write crap like this:

Part of me wanted to punch him in his nose. Another part of me wanted to pull him toward me, plant my lips on his...

my code is telling me to give you a low rating. My code also doesn't allow for stereotyping that says these things:

..ditched the glasses in a dumpster next to a Chinese restaurant. The metal container reeked of soy sauce and week-old fried rice...

Several good ole boys chain-smoked and knocked back beers on their front stoops, while inside, their wives hurried to put dinner on the table in time to avoid getting a fresh shiner....

A couple of blocks over, a vampire hooker would do you in your car for fifty bucks, while the homeless guys dug through trash cans looking for enough garbage to eat for the night.

I hoped the police force was stocked up on coffee and doughnuts because the body count was about to go up tonight.

If there was one thing all southern women instinctively know how to do, it's flirt. It's encoded in our DNA, along with a fondness for grease, sugar, and oversize hats...

Okay - enough!! My code has a huge problem with those quotes. And, that's not even scratching the surface of the giant block of (possibly racist) cheese. She also says that she has to "lullaby" a guy, and that when they are about to fight, that then they "dance". Seriously? I rolled my eyes so many times that they got stuck that way - just like my mother warned me.

So, basically, this book is ridiculous. Which is a bummer because the premise and the world is cool. It just couldn't deliver the same originality in the story. It was this fresh idea wrapped in an old, worn-out wrapper. Like a day-old, half-eaten, eggroll that was probably in that dumpster behind the Chinese restaurant.

Profile Image for Choko.
1,198 reviews2,583 followers
May 3, 2016
*** 3.44 ***

A buddy read with the Urban Fantasy fans at BB&B!

This is a story of a girl who lost her family young, lived on the streets, met a nice family who took her in and trained her to become an assassin. And she has powers, in a world where some people are born with an ability to perform magic by controlling the elements. Gin, our hapless assassin, has control over stone, with some affinity to ice magic. However, while going about doing her job killing people, she prefers to rely on her blades and sometimes cross bow.

We get to meet her right after she dispatches with a minor job, by this understand an easy hit, and is persuaded to embark on a very high risk, no prep, but astronomical pay new assignment. However, things are not what they seem, and hers and the lives of the people around her, are put in peril.

I personally enjoyed the book, but I can see the validity of the arguments some of my friends have against the numerous stereotypes which plague the plot. However, I am also well aware of my personal complete acceptance of such in the different genres and take them as part of the game... So many of the series that compel us to keep on reading them are formulaic and somewhat predictable, but at least I come back exactly because of that. Sometimes it is nice that you can get out of a book exactly what you expected when you choose to buy it... It is those books that I reach for in moments when I seek comfort and running away from conflict ...

So, despite it not being very original or exceptionally well written, this book was perfect for an enjoyable read in between the hardships of Real Life and the impending doom of the other 3 books I am reading right now, which are wonderfully crafted, but rough on my psyche and good spirit...

I will recommend this book to fans of the lighter side of UF, including young readers, despite a love scene in which all protection was discussed and employed. It is also a first in a series and I know from experience, you have to give it 2-3 books time to grow. So, I plan on doing exactly that!

Now I wish all of you Happy Reading and may you never be without a good book in your life!!!
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,607 reviews1,480 followers
May 11, 2016
BUDDY READ!!! With my UF girls at Buddies Books and Baubles

Female Assassin....I'm totally in.


My favorite thing about this book was the fact Gin was a pretty sexually aggressive woman who wasn’t even close to the near virginal heroine that I usually see in a UF series. I appreciate that because while I usually don’t mind that trope so much it is refreshing to have a woman who is really secure in her sexuality running around no matter if we need to read about how wet her who-ha is on multiple occasions. Besides most of the time she is running around killing people or planning on killing people so it is a fair trade in my book
“You're late."
"Sorry. I was busy talking about my feelings and killing people.”

This is a pretty basic introductory book. I have a pretty good notion of how the world works. There is Gin who basically can control/listen to rocks, has a heart of stone and kills people for a living. She is pretty likable right off the bat as she has a little bit of an attitude that she likes to throw around. I like that in a heroine

Gin comes complete with a horrible tragedy in her past and a kooky set of friends and work acquaintances to lighten the drama. Finn was one of my favorites. I love that they have a rapport like siblings….squabling and fighting in a fun way that shows all the love and affection they have for each other. Sure they might have gotten sweaty together in their youths but now they are the best of friends and family to each other.

There is also a smidge of romance….well sort of. There is at least a tall dark handsome and completely wrong man for Gin in this. It was enough to give us something steamy in-between all the mayhem but a cop and an assassin…well I just don’t see that going much of anywhere in the long term.
“Maybe I find him...interesting. Attractive in an uptight sort of way. But that won't keep me from killing him if he does something stupid—like try to double-cross us. That is something thats nonnegotiable, no matter how much fuck potential he might have.”

While I liked this book nothing really sticks out as extremely memorable about it. It is a good set up book and I enjoyed my time easily reading along but if I wasn’t in a buddy read for the entire series…well I might have waiting 3 months to pick up the next one. Still there is enough going on that I don’t think it will be a hardship to continue reading along with some friends.
757 reviews2,346 followers
Shelved as 'd-n-f'
April 22, 2017
Dnf @ pg 100 ( don't kill me tweeeeeebie)
This is a case of it-isnt-the-book-its-me.
This book is badass and awesome, but I seriously don't feel like reading it.


Reading this bc Tweebs is trash and she's on my ass about it. :P
I don't really read Urban Fantasy, but I'm hoping this one turns out awesome !
Profile Image for Tweebs♥️ .
184 reviews838 followers
February 9, 2017
*Clears throat*

Every one and their mother should read this series. Why?? There's no WHY because YOU'RE MISSING OUT ON THIS BEAUTIFUL ASS SERIES !!

No, seriously this series will slay your existence. For real, I've read all 14 books and DAMN JUST DAMN WHAT IS LIFE? WHAT AM I? WHAT ARE YOU? WHAT IS WHAT?

Okay, I'll be honest when I say that suck at convincing people to do shit so, either read this or read this. I don't care like IT BETTER ME SOME TIME IN YOUR LIFE GUYS. I'll probably be promoting this series 50 years later because the love is real.

You'll thank me guys!! AND I prefer to be thanked by giving me a $500 gift card to my local book store ;P Just bless me with this gift since I've blessed you WITH THIS AMAZING ASS SERIES OK BYE!!



*drops mic*
July 4, 2012
Very good and very gritty. Gin is absolutely lethal. Killing someone is just a job to her. Not that she kills just anyone, but if you're on her radar for death, you get dead very quickly. I found her character very credible. I won't deny that I sort of have a fascination with fiction stories about assassins. This is a good one. Estep builds a three-dimensional character here with Gin. She's not evil, but she's not a a saintly person either. How can you be when you kill people for a living?

That's where the grays come in. If you knew what some of the folks she's killed have done, then you might not count it as such a loss. Ashland is a place full of dark souls, you see. The whole place is corrupt to varying degrees, except for Donovan Caine. He truly is the only honest man in this place. So imagine the dilemma when they discover an attraction between them. Between the cold-hearted (but warm-pantsed) assassin and the straight arrow cop. Yeah, that makes for quite a conflict.

If you like magic noir, definitely check this book out. If you like bad*ss women who know how to get the dirty jobs done, definitely check this out. If you have a problem with women who are a bit callous about sex, you might have a problem with Gin. I'm not big on that trait in a heroine (or a hero for that matter). I did like how she does the pursuing when it comes to Donovan. That was kind of cute. And she can be a bit of a bully when she wants to. I can understand why her character is that way, having lost her family and lived on the streets. It's made her into a hard woman, one who doesn't let anyone make a victim out of her. For all that, she does have a sense of honor. At least someone does in this place. As for Caine, he was a bit self-righteous at times. I totally respect his sense of honor, but I think he needs to open his mind a little and ask the whys instead of just blindly following. I find it hard to believe he was completely oblivious to the corruption in his police department. I think he was just willfully ignoring it. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit and vice versa. If his partner was doing that horrible stuff, why didn't he have a clue? I like that Gin didn't try to defend herself to him. Why should she? She was true to herself, and he had to accept her or leave her. Either way. I like that he can't put her into a box and forget about her either. Too bad Gin can't get this cop out of her mind either. That relationship is fraught with issues.

The magic was cool. I liked the concept of elementals, and how many folks in Ashland had elemental magic. I liked the use of runes to identify people, and how it was used to seal magic, if you will. The vampires felt sort of extraneous, but maybe that's because I'm jaded with vampires being in every single urban fantasy series!

Overall, this was a very good book. Gin is a very lethal, fascinating character. I didn't like everything about her, but I liked a lot. I loved that she was so bad*ss and capable. She does a lot of the saving, but she also works together with others, so there was balance in that. Donovan is an interesting love interest. It should be entertaining to see where things go with that angel. I also liked the foodie aspects (being a big foodie myself), and the glimpses of Southern life and society. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy enjoy dark, gritty urban fantasy, and tough female leads. I will definitely continue this series!

Thanks for recommending this book off my tbr pile, Suzi!
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
August 16, 2011
Urban fantasy books are often saturated with the kick ass, snarky heroine, the requisite love interest, the paranormal creatures, cool weapons, and the evil bad guy or gal. Yes – this book has all that, but it felt like it had more. Set in the corrupt town of Ashland, Tennessee, Spider’s Bite has a dirty, gritty feel.

Gin Blanco is known as The Spider, a female assassin. She is extremely good at her job and is well compensated for her skills. Gin has standards, a kind of moral code. She does not kill children or the innocent.

I liked the originality of this book. While there are vampires in this book, their abilities are not really expanded upon, except that they seem to heal quickly. There are also giants and dwarves. There are also people that can control elemental magic – from air, fire, stone, ice, etc. Gin is an elemental. She has the ability to use stone and ice magic. While stone and ice are not the most powerful elemental magics out there, it is hinted that Gin has some extraordinary powers. I would have liked to have had more information on these elemental magic practitioners – How did they get the magic? Were they born with it? Can they learn it?

The world building in this book was intriguing. Basically, it felt like our world but with paranormal elements. Gin lives in a corrupt city which is policed by a corrupt police force. Even the organized crime elements felt like a paranormal mafia.

Our heroine Gin Blanco comes from tragic circumstances. Her family died in a fire, leaving her homeless. She is “found” by Fletcher, who gives her odd jobs in exchange for food. She later becomes an assassin and Fletcher acts as her handler. I found Fletcher to be a most interesting character, even though he was not around for most of the book.

I liked all the people that surrounded Gin. Finnegan Lane (Finn), Fletcher’s son was a wonderful character. I so wanted Gin to be his love interest, but it was not happening. Finn was a great supporting character.

I had trouble believing the attraction between Gin and Donovan Craig. I did not like the way that Donovan treated Gin. I found that his character fell flat for me because of his condescending attitude towards Gin, even though he was alive because of her.

The villain was especially evil and scary. I enjoyed the mystery of figuring out who she was and I was pleasantly surprised when I had guessed wrong. I loved the ending and it made me rush out to find the next book in the series Web of Lies.

Check out my review on Badass Book Reviews
Profile Image for Ami.
5,807 reviews499 followers
September 12, 2010
2.5 stars

Okay, let me start with the good ones: (1) The story is set in the "present" world; some of the people have extraordinary talent, magical talent, based on one of the elementals: Fire, Ice, Stone, and Air. It makes it easy to follow because there are no big jargons/words or complicated structure of magical worlds (2) The story is kind of fast-paced of a whodunit plot; someone is killed, our heroine is being bertrayed, her handler is killed, and the whole story is about her finding out the truth (3) I kinda like Gin as a heroine, she is smart and ruthless, a perfect assassin but still sarcastic enough to make me like her (4) I also love Finn, her best friend who can also be seen as Gin's "half" brother by closeness of association.

BUT, there are several things that just annoy the HELL out of me, and I can't really get them out of the way to make me love this story more:

(1) The repetitive writing is just DRIVING ME INSANE!!!!! First, the way Gin always ends her "fantasy" of Donovan Caine with the word "Mmm". Seriously, after you find this word more than three times, you want to erase the word from your vocabulary forever. That, and the 'cousin' of Mmmm, which is "Hmmm".

(2) There are A LOT of unnecessary descriptions of one's look or one's dress; which is totally going nowhere. And what's with the fixation of someone's eye colors? There are repetitive description of Gin's grey eyes, Finn's green eyes, and Caine's hazel eyes. Also this combination of "grey on gold; gold on grey" everytime Caine and Gin look at each other?? Yes, I get it, their eyes are grey, green, and hazel, can we frickin' move on then?!

(3) What's with the "concept of repetition in three" since Gin always says "sloppy. sloppy. sloppy" when it comes to her enemy and "slaps slaps slaps" to describe someone being beaten. AND also, emotions should be a mixture of at least 3 things .. "Disgust. Anger. Mistrust. Suspicion. Curiosity." then "Shock. Anger. Disgust. Horror. Resignation.” Yes, one is conflicted, but really, LESS IS MORE!

(4) Last but not least, is I HATE DONOVAN CAINE, the supposed to be love interest of Gin. Ms. Estep probably wants to portray him as this one honest person with high idealism. But he comes out as a judgmental, arrogant bastard who thinks that he is better than everyone else. I can get attraction that starts from misunderstanding; look at Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. However, Caine doesn't only "misunderstand" Gin, he clearly despises her, and disgusted with the fact that there is some sort of attraction between them. I don't need that kind of hero. Sometimes I wish Gin just kills that a**hole.

I might be a little bit too harsh; especially since this is the first book and I rarely fall in love with the first book in a series. However, I don't think it intrigues me enough for book #2 ...
Profile Image for Anzû.
548 reviews1,108 followers
November 16, 2012
I picked Spider’s Bite because I wanted to read a good Urban Fantasy. The assassin theme is another major reason that pushed me into it.

What the book description fails to mention is that Spider’s Bite has nothing to do with assassins. At least not my version of an assassin. Jennifer Estep just went on and on with how sexy and deadly Gin is, but never proved it. The deadly part of course. I don’t care about how hot anyone is in the book as long as I get a cool story. In our case, a cool assassin-related story.

Which I did not get.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want it to be perfectly authentic, but I was expecting a bit more effort from Estep. The story and characters ended up being extremely generic.

Needless to say, I did not enjoy the book an I ended up skimming most of it. The introduction of Spider’s Bite was pretty good. The asylum scene made me think that the rest of the book will continue like that. Of course it never happened.

Gin’s powers are awesome, but she never uses them because of pride.

Pride. Now that’s a lame excuse. Using those powers would really improve the book if you ask me.

Gin’s love interest extremely boring. Insta-lust was a turnoff, and the romance was monotonous.
The detective reminded me of a Hispanic Dirty Harry, ready to plug anybody who got in his way.

They did have sex, but I skipped it because Gin’s way of coming on to the guy was just silly. Estep’s forcing a pair of balls on Gin. I guess this is supposed to be an assassin thing.

The story was incredibly generic. Estep’s writing style is mediocre. I won’t be continuing this series.

Review also posted on
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,812 followers
December 12, 2014
You know...I put reading this book off for some time because of the cover. I mean so often when a book on the Urban Fantasy shelf has an attractive woman on the cover what you actually get is "PNR", that is "ParaNormal Romance".

Good news, not the case here. There is a "touch" of something that will bother some but it's more incidental that a romance usually is. Instead of a "love interest" here we have a "lust interest". Each time our protagonist sees the "subordinate male protagonist" she stops and "daydreams" about hot sex with him...even though he's vowed to bring her "to justice" or possibly kill her.

And, there is one heavy sex scene.

Well, he doesn't know it's "her" per se, he simply knows that it was an assassin "called" The Spider.

Yes, our heroine is an assassin...a truly nasty one. She claims to be the most feared assassin in the South. She also has a true love for the burgers at the Bar-B-Que place she works from.

As I've said about other assassin books I'm surprised at how much I really liked this book. I plan to follow the series up and if you approach it knowingly (you know advisedly that there is some sex and it's about a professional killer) you may like it.

It worries me a little but I did. Recommended, with caveat.
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,235 reviews302 followers
February 28, 2021
Updated review: audible version. The narrator, Laura Fortgang is fantastic. Listening to this story, I could visualize this tough, but softhearted female, that is ruthless in protecting her friends and self made family. Yes, Gin is an assassin, but her targets are not the good guys, but rather mercenaries themselves and often aimed at harming Gin and her friends.
The narrator did an incredible job with the different character voices and emotions.
While I have the full set of this series in paperback, I promptly purchased the next dozen in audio to reread and immerse myself in this world.

First review:
Original story line. Fast paced. Gin is an assassin but there's more to her than a job description. She has a heart.
September 15, 2015
When I started reading Spider’s Bite the series was already in its 12th instalment. The question was, would I get hooked and want to read the whole series in one go? Well that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing for the past week! Granted, one instalment (Tangled Threads, #4 in the series) almost had me give up on the series but I’m still going along with it at the moment (more on that in reviews to come).

Well, about Spider’s Bite. I think what I liked more about the book is the idea of a female assassin with “elemental” magic. I thought the premise was original and intriguing, which got me hooked right away. I love Gin’s character, even though she could have done with a lot more snark to spice things up a bit. She’s a ruthless killer but her character is still very loveable. I love that she is so straight-forward and always speaks her mind. She is confident, self-assured and when she wants something (or someone like Donovan Caine) she goes for it. She is unapologetic about who she is and what she does, she has no qualms about being an assassin. Gotta love that! I think Gin Blanco just made it to the top 5 in my favourite kick-butt heroines list!

As for the other characters in Spider’s Bite, I pretty much liked them all (including the bad guys!). Finn (love him!), the Deveraux sisters (lots of potential there), Fletcher… Donovan Caine I’m not too sure about. His high morals bore me to death and he is so self-righteous and insensitive that he makes me want to scream most of the time. I really have no idea what Gin sees in him besides his “fuck potential.” I’m curious as to where this attraction is going. Nowhere probably but I guess we’ll have to wait for the next instalments to find out.

As a whole, I found Spider’s Bite to be quite enjoyable. I was a bit taken aback at first because I thought it was a bit light on the fantasy side of the story. I’ve just read the last instalment in the Kate Daniels series, then the whole Descent series (both being urban fantasy heavy weights) so it took me some time to adjust. Don’t get me wrong, there is fantasy here (magic, vampires, dwarves…), it’s just that I wasn’t swept away by the world building. Still, Spider’s Bite is well-written and entertaining.

I definitely want to find out what happens next so I’ll get my hands on the next instalment right away :)
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 45 books128k followers
July 7, 2010
Welllll, there were some cool things here. I enjoyed the main character enough to go along with the ride, but honestly I didn't really get the love interest guy at all, he didn't really PROVE he was hot and bothered, the writer just kept TELLING me he was, so I didn't really care what happened between them. There were a few leaps in the plot I found a bit disbelieving as well, and I felt the magic of the world, the whole elemental aspect, is SUPER interesting but wasn't exploited enough to feel satisfied at the end.

BUT I did like the main characters balls-out attitude and I will pick up the second in the series to see where she goes with the world, because I think some really cool stuff could be done with the elemental magic stuff. Maybe a new hunky guy is in order though. Cross fingers ;)
Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,236 reviews382 followers
May 21, 2016
1 May 2016 BR with the BBB crew!

- Gin is a true badass.
- Elemental magic is awesome.
- Fletcher and Finn and her whole crew are great people.
- Once the story got going, I liked the mystery aspect.

- Clunky, repetitive writing.
- The characters are constantly referred to by their full names, which I found annoying.
- The sex seemed really out of place (maybe that was just me)
- But seriously, that's the thing I wasn't impressed about in the beginning.

Still deciding whether to continue the series. Probably will, eventually.
Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews201 followers
May 4, 2016
No matter how bad people were, no matter what evil they committed, or who they fucked over, nobody ever really believed death was coming for them, courtesy of an assassin like me.
Until it was too late.

There are two words for why you must read this book: FEMALE ASSASSIN.
Yip, a kick-ass knife wielding heroine, who doesn’t take s#$t from anyone. My kind of girl.

Gin Blanco, known as the Spider, is an assassin. She is also a stone elemental. Elementals can create, control and manipulate ice, stone, air or fire. And I loved Gin’s magic with stone, especially the fact that she could change her skin to stone. She also has a minor ability with ice, and can create objects like knifes ;-)

“You and those fucking knives,” Brutus muttered and yanked the blade out of his shoulder socket. “Get a real weapon. Get a gun.”
“Guns are for people who don’t have the guts or skill to use a blade.”

When a job goes wrong, and Gin is double crossed, her handler, who saved her when she was young, killed, she sets out to get revenge. She has no problem with violence, and my bloodthirsty heart was very happy with her methods ;-) I really loved how skilled Gin is, and that even though she comes across as coldhearted, she is still vulnerable when it comes to those she cares for.

The plot of the story was strong, and action-packed. I loved the secondary characters, especially Finn, the son of her handler, who was very funny and charming, and I really liked that he never judged her for what she does for a living.

Then there was the little background of Gin that was revealed, how her family was murdered years ago by a fire elemental, and Gin captured and tortured. I can’t wait to find out more about what happened and who was responsible for their murders.

I’m not sure whether Detective Donovan Caine, who Gin has some very explosive chemistry with, is going to be a possible love interest. I can’t really see them working as a couple, seeing as he despises what she does for a living. I will have to wait and see.

I really enjoyed this book. This was a great and strong beginning to a series that I think I’m going to love. I adore strong heroines, and Gin is awesome!

A must read for all UF fans.

Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,860 reviews370 followers
February 23, 2017
I decided to start this series as the author will be attending a conference that I am registered for this summer. I like to have a feel for the work of the featured guests before the event.

If you are enamoured of urban fantasy, as I am, I would recommend this book to you. If, on the other hand, you find UF tiresome, pass this series by. For those of us who enjoy the genre, this is an acceptable series, with a number of good ideas.

Good ideas: (1) A female assassin. With magical powers, although she tries not to rely on them. (2) An interesting elemental magic scheme. (3) Gin (our assassin friend) is confident, competent & doesn’t even pretend that she’s a loner. She has friends who are like family & freely admits it.

The stuff that didn’t work so well for me? (1) The repetition. How many times do we need to be told where Gin carries all of her knives? Or how much she loves all of her knives? (2) The novel was filled with UF clichés, e.g. the main character has a tragic & damaging past (shades of Batman), she has a “code” (à la Dexter or Spademan in Shovel Ready). (3) Of course she is romantically interested in a policeman, he is as self-righteous as she is pragmatic, and every time she lays eyes on him all she can think about is sex

The set-up of Gin’s world is a little grittier and darker than I would normally choose. Sexual situations are just part of the background (lots of prostitutes & their clients) and often described more graphically than other UF series that I have read. I realize that it is just part of Gin’s “wrong side of the tracks” world, but it grated on me a bit.

Still, I liked the book and will continue with the series, both to see if Gin can “go straight” with her restaurant business (I assuming not entirely or the series is named wrong) and if she does, whether Detective Caine will unbend a bit and meet her in the middle.
Profile Image for Denisa.
1,193 reviews290 followers
February 13, 2016
3.5 Well, this was better than I expected.

So, when I started reading this, I expected the same old PNR, the detectives, the cases, the "superpowers" and so on. And you know what? It was exactly like that.

What did surprise me though was the story. I liked the mystery from this book. And I also appreciated the fact that the assassin wasn't that squishy little girl, who was good but had no other choice but to become a killer. Nope, "Spider" actually liked what she did. Ok, true, she only killed bad people, but she still liked it. And hey, if you become a killer, I would expect you to like what you do.

So yup, I appreciated the "real-ness" of this story. I even liked the characters. The writing wasn't too bad either (although it took me a while to get in the story). Yup, a pretty nice book, all in all.
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 79 books16.9k followers
October 15, 2013
This is my new audio book - I've listened for an hour so far and haven't stopped :) I'm intrigued!

I finished this weekend. I enjoyed the story - an insight into an assassin and how she became one and what drives her. Strong female protagonist is always welcome. I wasn't too keen about the romance - I just didn't buy it, but everything else was believable. And the climax was just right! For those following my reviews, you know I'm always complaining about the endings and how they're rushed or unbelievable, not this time. Nope - just the right mix of suspense and action.

And kudos to the actress/reader she was perfect for this story - she's the voice of Gin and now if I read the rest of the series, I have to listen to them or else the story will be flat with just my own voice in my head.
Profile Image for Layla ✷ Praise the sun ✷.
100 reviews10 followers
May 12, 2016
Buddy read at Buddies Books and Baubles

My name is Gin, and I kill people

Without long introductions, Spider's Bite throws us right into action as we witness Gin, the protagonist, on an assignment to eliminate Evelyn, a shrink in Ashland Asylum with dark secrets and we get a glance at Gin's working methods.
Then Gin is double-crossed on her next suspiciously lucrative and easy assignment and her handler is brutally tortured and killed.
Now she is out for revenge.

The story is set in Ashland, a city divided in Northtown, home to the monetary, magical and social elite, and Southtown, the rough part of town belonging to vampire hookers and junkies.
There are fantasy creatures like dwarfs, giants, elementals and vampires.

Gin, the heroine, is strong, just doesn't take shit from anyone and she seems brutal and cold on the outside, but she carries her package and Estep manages to make her quite likeable anyways. It just feels so good when she doesn't let the bullies bully her.

Besides being a preferrably knife wielding assassin, Gin is also a stone and ice elemental, able to crumble bricks, crack concrete, make her skin as hard as marble and create ice cubes or other little objects like knifes.

Then there is Finn. He is the son of Gin's handler, investment banker and computer expert.
If that doesn't make him shady enough for you yet, he also happens to excel at females and fashion, so he is mainly in charge of calling in favors and doing all the intelligence work.

While Gin and Finn were absolutely refreshing together

Been there. Done you,

I had my issues to warm up to Donovan Caine, morally superior detective and potential love interest for Gin. He was a bit too stick in the sphincter and self-righteous for my liking, and Gin referring to him as "Mmm" 13 times in the book didn't help.

In general, there were too many repetitions, for instance when Gin tells us 22 times about her gray eyes. Ok, I get it, your eyes are neither khaki green nor sheet brown, now please move on.

Apart from the repetitions, I had a great time reading Spider's Bite though, and I will definitely read the next installments in the series.

If you love stories featuring powerful assassins with a tragic past like I do, you should definitely check this out.
Profile Image for Pippa DaCosta.
Author 69 books1,511 followers
May 25, 2017
If you know me, or you've read any of my work, you know I love books that walk an edgy line. I like a bit of grit and dirt in my urban fantasy reads. Nothing too squeaky clean or ditzy. The dirt, for me, makes a series feel more real. It gives the characters genuine depth. If they're gleefully hacking of monster heads and not getting kneed in the balls while having their morals challenged, then I struggle to fully believe that our main characters are real and not cardboard cutouts. There was no risk of that here.

Gin is as bad-ass as they come without being unlikeable. (You can't have an assassin that gleefully kills with no morals, not in fantasy land. They have to have a reason to do good somewhere in there, or you end up reading about a psychopath). I love that she knows exactly what she wants and she's not going to let anyone stand in her way. Take the detective, for example. If you're expecting the gentle, slow romantic build up and the swoony, doe-eyed moments, you won't get any of that here. Gin doesn't much like the detective or his choices, but she likes what she sees and she's gonna bag herself some of that man-candy. The quick and dirty f*ck in the supply closet tells you what you need to know. Gin doesn't waste time.

We have a tightly plotted typical UF. Gin's handler is murdered. We follow her as she tries to figure out by whom and why. There's nothing groundbreaking here, to be fair, but it's the voice I adored. That raw, edgy, no BS kinda character that's the perfect antidote to TSTL heroines.

I'm looking forward to the next in the series...
Profile Image for Just Josie.
1,003 reviews157 followers
February 26, 2022
Amazing writing, a fun, sassy, don't-fuck-with-me attitude from the main character, Gin, and lots of action.

I liked it🌺

Read: 12/01/2016
1st rating: 4 stars
Genre/tropes: Paranormal/romance
Cover: 4 stars
POV’s: Single - (Gin)
Will I recommend: Yes
Profile Image for Beth The Vampire.
312 reviews22 followers
February 6, 2017
My name is Gin, and I kill people.

Okay, this book was good. Really good.

I don't know what I was expecting really, but the blurb sounded good, so why not give it a go. Also I was completing this as part of the Serious Overload of Series 2017 series read.

Gin is an assassin, and a very good one at that. She is known by the name Spider, but most don't think that a girl could be capable of the death that follows this assassin around. Their mistake really. As well as being a skilled killer for hire, Gin is also a Stone elemental, meaning that she has an affinity with, and can harness the power of stone. She has a little knowledge of ice magic as well, which can come in handy when picking locks, chilling drinks....or stabbing people in the neck.

So after a week long assignment, Gin is called by her handler for another job, which is worth quite a bit of money. So, reluctantly she takes it, but it turns out to be a set up, and Gin finds out that she is the pawn in a much larger game. With her life in danger, Gin finds an unlikely alley in good cop Donovan Caine, and they also have quite a bit of chemistry as well. With the help of her hander's banker son, Finn, Gin is determined to track down who has placed those she loves in danger, and who took the life of the person who meant the most.

No matter how bad people were, no matter what evil they committed, or who they fucked over, nobody really believed death was coming for them, courtesy of an assassin like me.
Until it was too late.

I found the story quite compelling, and rarely dull. Gin is an amazing protagonist, because she is not a good guy, but she's not exactly a bad guy either. She is strong, and determined, and in the end she gets what she wants. When her and Caine come to realise their mutual attraction, Gin doesn't step back and let him take over, she remains in control. There are no alpha males here...unless you count Gin. Even Gin isn't silly enough to believe in love at first sight or anything silly like that. She just acknowledges good old lust, and why does it have to be more than that?

The characters were all great, even those who only get limited page time, such as the enigmatic Mab Monroe, who essentially rules the city with her money and power. She didn't speak a word, but her presence in a scene was enough to tell me what I needed. Caine was your typical good cop, but in the end I think he realised that there is no black and while, only shades of grey. Finn and Gin's relationship was very much like a brother and sister, despite no blood relation, and very different ways of living. Some of their back and forth was very amusing, and they had great chemistry. I loved the goth troll as well. Just the imagery alone was amusing.

One of the small issues I will note though is Gin's rumination towards the start that she wants to take revenge on those she loved who have been killed, even though she essentially kills people for a living. It's like the author is trying to justify it in a way, and while this would have to have been mentioned at some point, it comes up a few times and I kind of just wanted Gin to get over it. Yeah, she kills people, and yeah she wants to kill those who have hurt her, just like she may have hurt others by her illegal dealings, but she doesn't need to say more than that. It may make her a hypocrite, but who isn't these days?

The ending was set up so well for a sequel, and I'm really looking forward to it. If this is the series I will be reading a lot of this year, then this is going to be a great year.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,851 reviews846 followers
January 3, 2016
I wished I enjoyed Spider's Bite more. Thankfully, I didn't spend that much money on this audiobook because it was a Daily Deal on Audible.

It was hard for me to connect with Gin. I had a hard time respecting her Needless to say the romance was a complete disappointment.

Hopefully the series improves because I bought the next two books (before listening to this one, yes, I know, stupid of me!) because they were on sale.

Profile Image for Emma.
2,433 reviews828 followers
July 26, 2016
3.5 rounded up because I enjoyed it more than I should have!
Who counts like this? : 10, 20, 45...? The spider assassin does. Every time she is counting down or waiting for something to happen. Every time she meets the eye of the man she likes, she thinks 'grey on gold' (their eyes..) and every time she peruses this man she likes she says 'mmm'- like Homer Simpson eying up a donut! I'm not kidding..
And yet despite this I enjoyed the story and will definitely read the next one. Probably in the next 10,20 or 45 days..;)
Profile Image for Cheryl La Pa.
393 reviews64 followers
April 2, 2017
Loved it! I finally started this series and thoroughly enjoyed Spider's Bite. Loved the writing, the world building and especially the characters. Its refreshing to have a mature female lead who is sexually confident and not afraid to speak her mind. All the characters are well developed and interesting, and there was no big info dump. I can't wait to see where this series go.
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