Thursday, May 05, 2011

Tattoo Shop Mysteries by Karen E. Olson

The Missing Ink

Brett Kavanaugh is the owner of The Painted Lady tattoo shop in Las Vegas, and prides herself on providing custom tattoo artwork. In The Missing Ink, Brett becomes involved in a confusing plot when she is asked to design a devotional tattoo for a girl that never comes back for it. The police then come asking questions about this mystery girl, who turns out to have a very high profile fiance, and the problem is, the name she asked for in the tattoo, is not his.

Brett becomes further embroiled when she does a favor for her competition across town, Jeff Coleman at Murder Ink, and instead of the high profile client she expects to be tattoo-ing, she comes across a dead body, and tattoo equipment! Luckily Brett's brother is a police detective, so she has a defender on the force. Much to her brother's frustration, Brett has a curious streak, and is constantly investigating on her own, causing him no end of trouble. Did Jeff set her up, or was he going to be set up himself? Where is the mystery girl, and how is handsome hotel manager Simon mixed up with this mess? And why is Brett attracted to him when he's a suspicious character?

Pretty in Ink

Brett and her crew of tattoo artists are back in book 2 of the Tattoo Shop mysteries, guests at the Nylons and Tattoos show put on by some local drag queen friends. During the show one of them is attacked, shot by a champagne cork to the chest. This puts a quick end to the show, but is the beginning of the mystery. While the victimized drag queen Britney Brassieres recovers from the cork shooting, she becomes mysteriously ill in Brett's shop and later dies at the hospital.

A Queen of Hearts tattoo seems to be the connection between the drag queens, politicians, and possible terrorists. Once again Brett stumbles into the middle of things when she answers a cry for help from her new intern only to discover yet another dead body, but no Charlotte. This seems to be becoming a habit for Brett! Help comes from an unlikely source, as she develops an appreciation for Jeff Coleman, her competitor from Murder Ink, who also has connections to the players involved.

The Tattoo Shop mysteries are a lot of fun, Brett has a great shop crew, Bitsy, Joel and Ace, and I'm interested to see where Brett's relationship with Jeff goes. Las Vegas and the Tattoo culture is an interesting backdrop for the series, but you do not have to know anything about tattoo-ing to appreciate it, in fact I've learned some things I didn't know, since I'll probably never get a tattoo! I'm looking forward to continuing the series and recommend it to cozy mystery lovers! Brett makes some pretty colossally bad decisions, but then if all our mystery heroines were cautious when they should be, we would have a mystery, would we? ;)

For more information, visit Karen E. Olson's website. I love the name of the 4th book, Ink Flamingos due out in June!

These were my 4th and 5th reads for the Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge hosted my Book Chick City.

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