Pretty In Ink by Karen Olson

Pretty In Ink: A Tattoo Shop Mystery by Karen E. Olson

From Amazon ~

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of Vegas’s hottest tattoo shop, The Painted Lady. And in her spare time, she does some sleuthing. After Brett and company ink Sin City’s newest drag queens, they’re invited to opening night at the strip’s glamorous Nylon and Tattoos show-which ends in disaster when a stranger with a Queen of Hearts tattoo fatally injures Britney Brassieres with a champagne cork. And when another drag queen is found poisoned, it looks like someone’s targeting Vegas’s fabulous femmes…

My Review ~

Brett Kavanuagh is known for her original art – tattoo art that is. As the owner of The Painted Lady tattoo shop in Las Vegas she doesn’t do “flash” artwork as her counterpart Jeff Coleman does, she does custom work. So after she does the ink for a group of Drag Queens, she makes sure she’s there for their opening night. What she doesn’t expect is to get caught up in the middle of another murder investigation.

During the show, Britney Brassieres is taken down by what sounds like a gunshot, but what turns out to be the cork from a champagne bottle, shot right at her heart. She recovers from this incident, but not to long after ends up dead. Brett manages to catch not the culprits face, but the distinctive Queen of Hearts tattoo on the inside of their arm. She then sets out to track down who did the art, leading her right to the door of rival tattoo artist Jeff Coleman. But when she finds out that not one, but three people got the same tattoo one night, Brett isn’t sure what to do next.

Everything seems to somehow be related to a pin found in Britney’s make-up case (a pin that matches the tattoo of the mystery man). Not only is Brett now involved in this case, but it seems so is her trainee Charlotte. But to what degree? As a victim or a suspect? Things get really scary when another Queen is found dead (by Brett of course), from deadly ricin poison he was manufacturing in his apartment.

Just what are these murders about? Are they related to a sinister terrorist plot to take out Las Vegas or is it something smaller like a simple case of blackmail. Brett certainly has her hands full with this color cast of characters. What’s the actor turned politician hiding? Is the hunky Dr Brett meets in the ER after being exposed to the ricin somehow involved? How does her assistant Charlotte, accountant turned tattoo artist, fit into all of this? And is the sheriff on the case more interested in actually solving the case or just doing whatever he can to annoy Brett and her brother Tim(considering he’s now engaged to Tim’s former fiancee Shawna!)?

Once again Brett has the support of her loyal staff, including shop manager Bitsy and tattoo artist Joel to help her solve this intriguing who done it. One filled with just enough ‘he’s’ and ‘she’s’ to make it hard to keep all the hims and hers straight. While she does make a few slips up along the way, Brett is definitely getting the hang of this sleuthing thing ~ and is giving her detective brother a run for his money in the crime solving business. And just why is Jeff being so nice to Brett all of a sudden? Might there be something brewing here? One can only hope! It shouldn’t be to hard for fans of Olson’s Annie Seymour series to easily pick up the reference to that series.

Pretty in Ink is a quirky mystery with a fun, independent, determined leading lady and loyal supportive cast of characters, each so different, yet lovable in their own ways. A fast, easy, enjoyable read with an ending that will catch the reader completely by surprise. I look forward to seeing what Brett gets herself involved with in Driven To Ink, due out later this year.

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