Apr 7 2011 5:00pm

Fresh Meat: Jennifer Estep’s Tangled Threads (April 26, 2011)

Tangled Threads by Jennifer EstepJennifer Estep
Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin Series, Book 4)
Pocket, April 26, 2011 $7.99

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. . . .

Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassins series is perfect entertainment with its superhero cast, fast-paced adventures, and Gin Blanco, a kick-ass female lead. But one of my favorite parts of the latest release, Tangled Threads, is one of its secondary characters, Finnegan Lane.

Finn is cute, funny, and a sexual playboy. He’s also the heroine’s foster brother. Even though his main focus each day is the hard decision of who will accompany him home at night, he’s genuinely self-sacrificing when it comes to Gin, the series’ heroine. Whenever she’s is in a bind, Finn is the first to come to her rescue. The amazing thing is, he’s perfectly content with being her wingman, and he’s happy being behind the scenes. He’s so confident in her abilities that he never second-guesses her, or tries to challenge her decisions. He’s concerned but not overbearing. It’s such a rare attribute for a male character; I can’t help but enjoy him.

'Watch Vinnie,' I told Finn, slipping out of the booth. 'Call me on my cell phone if he makes a move to leave. I want to see if LaFluer’s here with anyone.'

'Gin?' Finn said.

I look at him.

'Be careful.' Concern filled his face, and I knew he was thinking about LaFluer’s magic. What we’d seen her do with it last night and what she might do to me tonight. I flashed him a grin. 'Don’t worry about me. I always come back, Finn.'

Since the series centers on the assassin Gin Blanco, aka The Spider, and her long-standing feud with her arch nemesis, Mab Monroe, there isn’t a lot of room for humor, what with all the killings and plotting of more killings. The mood can be dark from time to time. Finn’s personality is a great complement to that overarching mood: He’s consistently flirty and light, even though you know he’s genuinely concerned deep down. His unique form of comedic relief works  with the story and helps keep everything from feeling too intense.

'So can we get on with this?' Finn asked, his green eyes locked onto a redhead gyrating on the edge of the dance floor. 'Because if we hurry, we can still learn everything that Vinnie knows before closing. Which would leave me plenty of time to find someone to keep me warm for the rest of the night. You wouldn’t want me to be lonely, now, would you?'

I genuinely love when there’s a male character as part of a female-driven story. They create great camaraderie with their female leads. So often though, sexual tension can leak through and change the relationship and can even shift focus from the plot. Even this late in the series, that is not the case here. The author has somehow easily made Finn hands-off in the love interest department, so we get to focus on his funny personality without being bogged down by other emotions about him.

Finn’s a great character to read, and I enjoyed that Estep even created the possibility (I’m using this word lightly because I’m not sure that his hounding days are over) of a love interest for him in Tangled Threads. He’s a character that keeps me intrigued but content enough to stay in the shadows of his big, bad, tough heroine. He’s just one of the reasons why the Elemental Assassins just works.


Jessica Turner reviews Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Sc-Fi Romances on her site The Spinecracker and is a trained chef who lives in San Diego with her very Irish husband.

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Pamela Webb-Elliott
2. Spaz
Yeah!! Great review, Jess! I love Finn's comedic relief as well. This is the best book in the series, for suuuuure. :P
3. JulieYMandKAC
Great post! You are bang on about Finn. He's a super fun character to read! And I agree with everyone. TT is the best to date!
Jessica Turner
4. TheSpinecracker
WLP, Spaz, Julie: Finn is so much fun! And wouldn't it be great to see what he would do with real feelings towards a woman? *crossing my fingers*
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