Pretty in Ink-Karen E. Olson

Pretty in Ink

Karen E. Olson

Obsidian, Mar 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451229625

Brett Kavanaugh owns the  Painted Lady tattoo parlor in the ritzy part of Las Vegas while giving her clients custom-made tattoos.  Her whole body is filled with tattoos, a walking advertisement for her shop.

One night Brett is at the Chez Terso watching a transvestite on stage when a man pops a champing cork and hits the performer in the chest.  Brett gets a look at the man who did it noticing a queen of hearts playing card etched onto his right forearm.  Trevor McKay seems all right, but the next day he visits the Painted Lady appearing very ill.  He dies at the hospital at the same time Brett’s trainee Charlotte disappears.  A waiter saw the man the person who hit Trevor with the cork; he describes him to Brett who makes a sketch.  The man is Wesley Lambert, a transvestite who dropped out of sight over a year ago.  Brett finds herself through a set of circumstances in a condo with the corpse of Wesley.  She is decontaminated from ricin, which is all over the place.  The tattoo artist believes there is a link between the two deaths and Charlotte as she hops from one hiding place to another to find Charlotte and the killer.  She remains resolute in finding her friend, but ignorant that someone is watching her very closely.

Pretty in Ink is a non-stop action amateur sleuth mystery starring a brave strong heroine who thinks outside the crypt; something needed on this deadly case.  The support cast adds humor and suspense (even off stage) to this well constructed complex whodunit.  With a touch of romance to augment the deep look at another side of Vegas, fans will enjoy the second Tattoo Shop Mystery (see Missing In Ink).

Harriet Klausner

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