**THIS MAY CONTAIN OVERALL SERIES SPOILERS, BUT NO SPOILERS FOR THIS BOOK**
Title: By A Thread
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Elemental Assassin #6
Number of Pages: 384
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. (goodreads)
I love this series to pieces. I've mentioned it before, but book one in this series, Spider's Bite is what got me started reading the gritter Urban Fantasy books and I am forever grateful for it. Gin hands down is one of my favorite heroines and I love how she's changed over the course of the series, but is still the tough as shit ask questions later girl that I fell in love with in the first book. She has been through a lot of changes throughout the course of this series, and because of that the tone of this book felt slightly different to me. It took me awhile to realize that the tone change was because Gin's found love in her life and realizes that her family comes first and she'd do anything to protect them.
This book brought a lot of closure to a past storyline, and I must say I didn't realize it was possible to dislike a fictional character as much as I did Donovan Caine. I found myself cringing and shouting when he appeared, and I think it's safe to my dislike of him rivaled that of the villain of the story.
I was pleasantly surprised at the introduction of a new enemy, because I didn't think anyone could top Mab Monroe, but I was wrong. Dekes is a powerful vampire, and he was an excellent match for Gin. He really gave her a run for her money, and I loved seeing her use her magic and different tactic to battle him.
The secondary characters in this series just rock. Seriously-they are awesome. I love how they stretch Gin to her limits, and how her relationship with Bria was so real. Finn (yes, he is the Finn of my sidekick meter) continues to steal every scene he is in, and Owen has won my heart completely. I just wish that there had been more scenes with the Deveraux sisters. Jo Jo and Sophia manage to prove their friendship and loyalty to Gin time and time again. I just love those two!
One of the things that I've started to look for in Jennifer Estep's books are the subtle shout outs she gives to her other series. They are done so quietly that if you don't read the series you won't know that they are shout outs. In fact, I never noticed them until someone more astute then me pointed them out on twitter one day. It's always fun seeing how she will sneak them in. :)
By A Thread was a great edition to a series that just continues to grow and impress me. The characters have become old friends and it's always a joy to return to them.
"Finn, did you bring the information that I asked you to? Finn?" He was too busy bending Bria over backward and planting a sound, lingering kiss on her to answer. It took them ever longer to come up for air then it had Owen and me, and by the time Finn set Bria back up on her feet, most of the people in the restaurant were staring at them. A few of the wives were even poking their husbands in the chests, muttering about how they never got kissed like that anymore. Finn grinned, gave an elaborate flourish with his hanf, and dipped into a low bow before straightening up and addressing the entire restaurant. "And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it is done." A couple of the older women broke out into enthusiastic applause, and Finn winked at them all in turn.
Curran Crush Meter: High
Barrons Hero Hotness Meter: High
Martini Sigh Meter: High
Rhiannon Kick Ass Heroine Meter: High
Finn/Swopes Sidekick Meter: High!!