Literature: Elemental Assassin

Elemental Assassin is an Urban Fantasy series by Jennifer Estep which focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When sheís not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals Ė Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

     Novels 
The series consists of the following novels:
  • Spider's Bite
  • Web of Lies
  • Venom
  • Tangled Threads
  • Spider's Revenge
  • By a Thread
  • Widow's Web
  • Deadly Sting
  • Heart of Venom
  • The Spider (Prequel Novel)
  • Black Widow

     Novellas 
It also has the following eBook novellas:
  • Thread of Death
  • Parlor Tricks
  • Kiss of Venom

Tropes found in the series include:

  • Assassin Outclassin': As of book six, so many people have tried to kill Gin at her day job that the Pork Pit has a second refrigerator to stash the bodies in until Sophia has time to dispose of them after closing time.
  • Berserk Button: Do not try to harm any of Gin's family, friends, or employees.
    • Damaging one of Finn's cars is also a very bad idea, although in this case it's mostly Played for Laughs.
  • Big Bad: Mab Monroe, at least for the first five books.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Because when our main character is an assassin but not a Villain Protagonist, her antagonists have to be worst. The story taking place in a Wretched Hive helps too.
  • Bothering by the Book: Madeline attacks Gin by causing her and her friends a great deal of legal difficulties. Gin counters by finding that a large number of 19th Century dueling laws are still on the books in Ashland, and invokes some of them.
  • Bria I Am Your Sister: Detective Bria Coolidge was once Bria Snow, Gin's presumed dead younger sister. It takes Gin two books to admit this to her once they finally meet.
  • Contract on the Hitman: In Spider's Bite, Gin is hired to kill a target. Another assassin, the Viper, is hired to kill her immediately after she completes the contract so that the authorities have a convenient scapegoat to hang the murder on.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Mab killed Gin's family, so Gin killed Mab. Then M. M. Monroe (Mab's daughter Madeline) comes to town seeking revenge. She fails, leaving behind a child of her own. Despite knowing that this could allow the cycle to continue, Gin refuses to kill a four-year-old girl for the crimes of her mother and grandmother, instead arranging for Moira Monroe to be returned to the custody of her father, who appears to be a decent person. When asked if that was the right decision to make, Gin replies that they'll find out in twenty years or so.
  • Dating Catwoman: Detective Donovan Caine and Gin Blanco, the assassin who killed his partner. While he eventually gets over the "killed his partner" thing (he was a very Dirty Cop, even by the standards of Ashland), he ultimately decides that he can't be with her and still be the man he pictures himself to be, so he leaves town to remove himself from temptation. The next time he appears, they've both found somebody else.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gin, to the core.
  • Dirty Cop: Ashland being the corrupted city it is, most cops here are this.
  • Elemental Magic: A good part of the cast has one. The four primary powers are Air, Fire, Ice and Stone, and known offshores include Acid, Electricity, Metal and Water.
    • Gin is a powerful dual elemental (which is very rare) — Ice/Stone.
    • Mab Monroe is a very powerful Fire elemental.
    • Jo-Jo and Sophia Deveraux are Air elementals.
    • Owen Grayson is a Metal elemental.
    • Bria Coolidge/Snow is an Ice elemental.
  • Fantastic Noir
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Captain Wayne Stephenson is a Dirty Cop who is constantly dabbing away sweat with a handkerchief. In Spider's Bite, he shows up at a formal fundraiser wearing a white suit.
  • Four Races: Humans, Dwarves, Giants and Vampires, any or all of which can have Elemental magic.
  • Glove Slap: Gin does this to challenge Madeline Monroe to an elemental duel - and then points out that since Ashland never repealed the dueling laws that had been passed before the Civil War, not only does not accepting mean demonstrating cowardice in front of all present (Every single crime boss in Ashland), it also constitutes legally forfeiting one's entire estate to the challenger.
  • Goth: Sophia Deveraux
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: In Spider's Bite, Gin finds some photographs of Giles Gordon engaged in sex with prostitutes:
    "Giles had been a little more serious about his prostitute predilection than Fletcher's file had let on. I turned one of the photos sideways. More flexible, too."
  • High Dive Escape: In Spider's Bite, Gin is attempting to escape from the Ashland Opera House when she is cornered by Donovan Caine on the roof. She escapes by jumping off the roof into the Aneirin River.
  • Klingon Promotion: After Gin kills Mab, everyone thinks that killing The Spider is necessary to take Mab's place as ruler of Ashland's underworld. After beating Mab's daughter Madeline, Gin publicly declares that she doesn't care who rules among Ashland's crime bosses so long as they leave her and hers alone. They make her defacto queen anyway.
  • Knife Nut: Gin
  • Manipulative Bitch: Madeline Magda Monroe, Mab's daughter
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Gin's mentor Fletcher is murdered a third of the way through the first book.
  • Motor Mouth: Finnegan Lane
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Spider, Gin's codename as an assassin.
  • One Last Job: Gin has been trying to retire from the assassin business since Web of Lies, but people keep attacking her or stomping on her Berserk Button, which makes her obliged to come out of retirement long enough to teach the offending party a lesson.
  • Orderlies Are Creeps: In Spider's Bite, Gin kills an orderly at a mental hospital who has been raping patients.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Even Gin doesn't think of herself as Genevieve anymore.
  • Our Vampires Are Different
    Gin (narration): Despite all the popular myths and stories out there, vampires were born, not made, just like everyone else was. They had heartbeats, breathed air, and could walk around in the sun just as easily as I could. Vamps could wear as much silver as they wanted, and garlic didnít do any more than give them bad breath or the occasional case of indigestion.
    Just about the only myth that was true when it came to vampires was that they all needed blood to live, in addition to more mundane food. To them, sucking down a pint of O-positive was just like regular humans chowing down on a steak. Animal blood would do in a pinch, but most vamps preferred people blood, and there were dedicated vampire blood banks that paid folks very well to come by and donate as often as they could. The blood banks then turned around and distributed all those precious pints like cartons of milk, with a slight markup, of course.
    The twist was that vampires got more than just nutrition from blood, depending on whose platelets they were dining on. Regular old human blood was enough to give most vampires enhanced senses, extra strength, and lightning-fast reflexes. It was when they drank from other magic users that things got really interesting.
    A vampire who chugged down the blood of a dwarf or giant would take on characteristics of those races and become just as strong as dwarves and giants naturally were ó at least until the blood cycled out of the vampís system like food moving through a humanís body. Vampires who drank blood from elementals got the ability to use that personís power, whether it was Air, Fire, Ice, Stone, or one of the offshoots of those areas, like electricity, acid, water, or metal. And of course some vamps were elementals themselves ó they had the inherent magic flowing through their veins already, just like Bria and I did.
  • Professional Killer: Gin, aka The Spider, who as of book two is supposed to be retired.
    • Her mentor Fletcher, aka the Tin Man, was one too.
  • Red Baron: When working, Gin goes by the alias of 'The Spider'. Her mentor Fletcher went by the alias of 'Tin Man'.
  • Scars Are Forever: Especially when molten metal is poured into the wounds before they have a chance to heal.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Mab's efforts to eliminate the Snow family before one of their children could rise to become an elemental strong enough to challenge her is what caused a young Genevieve Snow to become the assassin Gin Blanco. The fact that Mab had designated the wrong daughter as her primary target didn't help.
  • Sins Of The Father: Gin deliberately averts in when she decides not to kill Mab's granddaughter.
  • Trademark Favorite Drink: Gin for Gin
    • And chicory coffee for Finn
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Would Hurt a Child: Most notably Mab Monroe, who did not hesitated to order the entire Snow family murdered, with a special emphasis on the daughters.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: Gin, who learned it from Fletcher. Fletcher actually refused the job to wipe out the Snows because their children were explicitly included among the targets.
  • Wretched Hive: Ashland
  • You Killed My Father: Gin to Mab.