Title: By a Thread
Sex scenes, references to rape.
When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.
Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun.
But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.
I’d like to pretend that I’m too mature to relish the revenge fantasy of running into an old ex when feeling gorgeous, successful, and in love… but honestly, is anyone that evolved? In the past I’ve enjoyed Gin when she sticks to violence and skips the emotional baggage, but BY A THREAD was a delicious blend of both. Emotional closure paired with assassin skills, the Elemental Assassin series has adapted to life after Mab without missing a beat.
By this far into the series I expect Estep to throw a surprise into the action side of the plot. Never in the same way twice, sometimes Gin’s powers reached a new evolution or her very human attention to detail saves the day. BY A THREAD was no exception, and I particularly loved the elemental twist that Estep threw in to keep Gin on her toes. Add to that the catharsis of Gin and Donovan finally confronting their feelings for each other and this book was guilty pleasure from start to finish. Gin and Donovan don’t steal the whole show, however. The usual suspects of Owen, Bria, and Finn are on hand to plan the caper, as well as provide their own nuances to the situation. I had forgotten that Owen and Donovan had shared page time before, and their side of the this little reunion was just as sweet as I could have hoped for.
Unfortunately, I think I would have liked BY A THREAD even more if it were one or two chapters shorter. Ending on Gin’s elegant and understated gesture would have been satisfying without completely burning Donovan to the ground. The way things culminated made it hard to see a Happily-Ever-After for a supporting character I had grown fond of, despite the assurances provided. In my mind, the climax of this book will always be that beautiful moment on the lawn when Gin and Donovan faced each other and all their unfinished business.