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April 16, 2013 / TeknoKai

A Personal “Thank You” to One of My Favorite Authors…

Hello, guys and girls of the web.  How are you this evening?  Things are a bit iffy here where I am, but I’m learning to take every day as it comes and trying to make the most I can out of every moment.  That being said, I want to take a moment to personally thank one of my favorite new authors, Jennifer Estep, for the lovely world she has crafted for me to dive into, and for tonight, which has been one of the best nights of my life, to date.  I’ll explain later.  I promise.  But before I can explain why tonight has been so fantastic, I have to explain why I’m thanking Jennifer.

A couple of years ago, on a night very like tonight, I had gone to a Friend’s home after work to fix a computer problem she had asked me to take a look at, me being the IT Manager at the company where we both worked.  She lived a county away from where we worked, in the opposite direction of where I lived, which was also a county away.  It didn’t take long to fix the problem (it almost never does) and then I had the ride home in the early – to – late evening to look forward to, crossing back through both counties to get to my place.  I am, as most of you know, an avid audiobook listener, and I had just finished a book earlier in the day.  I had downloaded to my iPod the next few books wanted to try and for fate’s sake, as I left that house where I had done a good deed for a friend, I became engulfed in “The Elemental Assassin Series” by Jennifer Estep.  I started listening to the first book on my way home that dusky evening, and Gin Blanco came into my life.  Nothing has ever been the same since.

From the first moment I started the series, It seems as if Gin is someone I have known all my life.  Living here in Mississippi, but having traveled in “the real world” to places like Charlotte and Asheville, I can immediately picture myself in the world of Ashland, the setting for most of the action of these books.  For some reason, every description seems like home to me.  But Gin, Gin is a work of art.  She is “Supposed” to be a Bad Guy – a “Black Hat” if you will – she is one of the most ruthless assassins ever to walk the earth.  She has killed numerous times, and made much money doing it.  But from the beginning of book 1 to the middle of “Deadly Sting”, which is I think the eighth book of the series, I have lived, laughed, loved, and longed beside Gin as she made her way through the torrid world she lives in to where she is now.  But is she really a “Bad Guy”? As we’ve made this journey together we’ve learned things about her past that shaped her into who she is today.  Yes, she’s done some violent and awful things, but wasn’t that just because no one else could do them?  I, like most people, tend to think of my “heroes” in clearcut black and white patterns, regardless of the situation.  But with Gin, you can’t really have a black or white – nothing is really clearcut; it’s all in shades of grey.  For the first time in my life, I found myself pulling for what would be called the “Villain” in the pre-sorted black/white of today’s hero worship.  And hoping so much that she’d stay around long enough to give me more good stories.  This is the kind of book that turns conventional thinking on its head – “Good Guys” can do bad things, and “Bad Guys” can do good things.   It’s such a pure paradox that it boggles the mind.  but in reality – that’s what happens every day.  So, our “literary” world just mirrored a sharper, clearer image of reality.  All the easier to read and believe.

Now, I have this “thing” that I like to do with certain special books.  They make it more of an “event” for me than just sitting down and reading.  I like to load the audiobook onto my iPod and drive through the country on back roads as I listen to the narrators tell me their tale.  It’s kind of like the world is a canvas, and as I hear the words, they paint a picture in my mind of what is happening and I can transpose this onto the world that I see out of the windshield of my automobile.  And It’s even more impressive to me that I do it in late evening, or just after nightfall – It makes the story seem “cinematic” in my head.  That’s what I want to thank Jennifer Estep for – tonight, I drove lazily along the backroads of Mississippi, never intending to stop anywhere, but listening to the eighth book in the “Elemental Assassin” series, “Deadly Sting”, and watching it unfurl around me in my mind’s eye as I languidly coasted across the asphalt sea of the country roads criss-crossing my hometown, my county, very much my own personal “Ashland”.  Tonight, with “Deadly Sting”, I have experienced more of a mental cinematic experience as I drove down the dark country roads than I think I ever have.  I’m only halfway through the book, so please don’t spoil it for me, but getting to this halfway point is one of the most enjoyable, relaxing, and personal experiences I think I have ever enjoyed.  And it’s all because of the “Southern” down-home writing style that Jennifer uses in her books.  I don’t think anything else I could have done tonight would have ever compared to the wonderfulness of this and I don’t know if I’ll ever be lucky enough to achieve the perfection of this night again, but I sure will try.  All I know is, I have had the most amazing night that I can remember in a long time thanks to Jennifer Estep, and Gin (Like the Liquor) Blanco.  I hope that I will have many, many more nights filled with this much fun.  So, Mrs. Estep – keep on writing!  I’ll be hanging on every word…



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