I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship? That’s the question Gin Blanco asks when a friend’s long-lost relative strolls into town. The suspicious reunion is a surprise for everyone—and a big problem for Gin. Book fourteen in the New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series RT Book Reviews calls “unbeatable entertainment!”It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in. It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.
This book was one of the best. In fact, it is second only to Spider’s Revenge where Gin and Mab Monroe finally had their showdown. This book had all the things that I enjoy in this series: good fighting scenes, interesting villains, a good crime mystery, good teammate work and a final twist setting up the next book. It didn’t put this one down until I was finished. I always listen to this series because I love the narrator Lauren Fortgang’s interpretation of Gin. Her voice is full of sass, sarcastic humor and pizzazz. She brings Gin to life and I can imagine the Spider drawling “Oh Sugar” or “Gin, like the liquor”. It’s always a pleasure to listen to Lauren transport the reader to the drama in Ashland because she allows the characters to shine.
In this book, Finnegan Lane had an opportunity to reconnect with his mother Deirdre Shaw (“Mama D”), who had not been a part of his life since he was a little boy. It’s been almost a full year since his dad Fletcher Lane was murdered and now Finn’s mother has come back asking to be part of his life. Gin and the rest of the gang weren’t so trusting of the sudden appearance of Mama D. The gang was curious as to why she waited all this time and why now. Finn was very irritated with their misgivings and he got very irritated and offended. Gin and the gang had to walk a very fine line with being honest with Finn and also having Finn’s back regarding their doubts on Mama D’s true motive.
The author definitely upgraded the characters. I saw growth in Gin Blanco as well as Bria. The old Gin would have dug her heels in regarding her opinion on Finn’s mom. But the new and smarter Gin made her point and backed off in respect of her adopted brother’s feelings. Not once did I feel the normally judgmental comments I have come to expect from Bria. No note of censure, only support from little sister Brian. In addition, I love how Gin and Bria handled Mama D. For the first time, Gin trusted Bria and her team early and that is what helped her in the end. This was more of a team effort that I am used to with Gin and it made the book so much better for me.
My unsung hero award goes to Finnegan Lane. I feel like Finn deserves a special shout out for not wearing blinders as long as Owen did. Finn did what needed to be done and I was so impressed with him. He was happy to see his mother but as soon as the truth was revealed, Finn accepted the reality of his mother’s intention.
I am very curious about Ora Snow, Gin and Bria’s mother. I can’t wait to find out more about the woman whose death set Gin upon the path of being an assassin.
*Special Thanks to Simon and Schuster via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.