cover image By a Thread

By a Thread

Jennifer Estep. Pocket, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-451-65176-8

In the sixth Elemental Assassin urban fantasy (after Spider’s Revenge), restaurateur Gin Blanco—better known as the Spider, a ruthless magical assassin—tries to bond with her long-lost sister on a road trip to Blue Marsh, an idyllic beach resort. The holiday is soon complicated by an unwanted reunion with Gin’s former lover Donovan Caine, a police detective who hasn’t quite figured out that “ex” really means “ex,” and by a confrontation with an avaricious vampire who wants Gin’s powers for his own. Estep (a PW reviewer) paints carefully within the lines, never burdening the reader with novelty. Her protagonist, much like other wise-cracking superpowered faux-noir urban fantasy characters, faces an antagonist who could likewise be drawn from any of a dozen series; the struggle that results is as familiar as it is predictable. Agent: Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Mar.)