Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Gravity’s a bitch and so am I.”
Gin Blanco-assassin extraordinaire and the reluctant queen of Ashland’s criminal underworld- is back and facing her greatest adversary to date. Still looking for the head of the Circle, Gin finds herself with more questions than answers as she continues to gather intel on the group and more memories come to the surface. When a friend asks Gin to look into her sister’s disappearance, she discovers a connection between the group and the missing girl. A connection that slowly snares Gin deeper and deeper into the web of a serial killer.
Snared is an apt title for the Spider’s latest adventure. Estep chooses to give readers not one but two mysteries as Gin not only continues to investigate the mysterious Circle and her connection to it but also finds herself hunting a serial killer. Gin is snared by her various investigations. Action packed scenes intertwine with an intriguing mystery filled with suspense. Witty dialogue and a sexy date night help to balance the more serious scenes. The character driven plot lines continue to maintain a strong emotional tone opposed to earlier installments.
“I’m not going to stop. I will never stop until I find out who every single member of your cursed Circle is.”
Jade Jamison, a minor underworld crime figure, comes to Gin asking for her help. Her little sister is missing and Jade is sure something bad has happened to her. Gin is currently stalking Damian Rivera, a member of the infamous Circle whose drinking habit makes him a prime candidate for interrogation in Gin’s eyes, but she takes some time off from her vendetta to help a friend.
“All you had to do was ask.”
As Gin and her friends dig deeper into the girl’s disappearance, they learn she isn’t the first to disappear in Ashland. There are quite a few missing woman over a two-year period who all bear striking resemblance to Jade’s sister. The police have nicknamed him the Dollmaker but refuse to launch an official investigation. Gin soon learns of the Circle’s influence there.
“You’re saying that there’s a serial killer in Ashland.”
I’m a die hard fan of Jennifer Estep and her writing. Her piece de resistance is her strong heroines whose ability to accept their flaws and learn from them is a highlight of all her stories. Gin Blanco has to be one of her strongest yet most vulnerable of Estep’s heroines to date. Raised by a foster dad/mentor after her family was brutally murdered, Gin has struggled the whole series between what she is and what she feels her friends and family need her to be. Luckily, she has found balance and finally seems to have made peace with herself.
The last couple of books has been focused on Gin, the Circle, and her family’s ties to the infamous crime syndicate. Gin is beginning to remember more about her mother and the events leading up to her death. Her mentor, Fletcher, left her a series of clues dealing with the Circle upon his death but it’s up to Gin to figure out what they mean and where they will take her. I am enjoying the anticipation that Estep is building in this arc and the sense that something huge is coming that will affect Gin both personally and professionally.
“I don’t think either one of us is going to like what we find.”
While this series is a comfortable read that always entertains, I’m beginning to see some issues forming. I am disappointed to see the character (main and secondary) evolution has gone dormant with this new story arc. We don’t see much individualism in the group anymore. This also is affecting the romance. While it still maintains a solid presence, Owen seems to have become more as prop than anything else these days. He’s become Gin’s sidekick along with everyone else. I was also put out with how heavily the foreshadowing is in the beginning and the way Gin’s memories are being used to advance the arc. It all feels a little too convenient and filler-like. Estep doesn’t leave much to chance. Luckily the story is well plotted and the investigation reveals in an interesting and manner that held my attention. Some new faces are introduced and they may be what breathes some new life into the series.
While this series continues to entertain and remains one of my go-to reads in Urban Fantasy for its strong female protagonist I do feel it is falling into a rut of sorts. I look forward to book 17 and seeing if Estep can bring back the edginess and spontaneity that seems to be missing.
GIVEAWAY!! Now for the fun part. SmexyBooks has a print copy of Snared to giveaway. Leave a comment and I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday 4/26. This is open to US residents only.