Book: The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson
Series: A Tattoo Shop Mystery
Plot (Goodreads): Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of an elite tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. When a girl makes an appointment for a tattoo of the name of her fiancé embedded in a heart, Brett takes the job but the girl never shows. The next thing Brett knows, the police are looking for her client, and the name she wanted on the tattoo isn't her fiancé's...
My four-sentence take on the plot: Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of a fancy Las Vegas tattoo parlor. She consults with a woman (who is not as she appears) about a tattoo and gets wrapped up in a missing person/murder mystery, all the while getting harassed and stalked by an unknown assailant. And, of course, romance is in the air with a Pierce Brosnan-style English casino manager.
What worked: I loved this book! LOVED it. First off, it was something different. I liked the whole tattoo artist/tattoo shop/almost circus theme. I have a lot of tattoo artist and piercer friends and the characters really rang true.
The mystery was solid. Sometimes "mistaken identity" plots get sort of a Scooby Doo feel but The Missing Ink managed to avoid that. Nobody was too-stupid-to-live, which is always a plus. Brett has believable relationships with her co-workers and her brother, all who are interesting characters on their own.
Brett is the daughter of a cop and the sister (and roommate) of her cop brother, which gives her a real reason to have knowledge about police work and procedure, as well as leads. This is something that greatly annoys me in some cozies--how can some of the protagonists get involved in murder after murder, assault after assault, and not have the cops throwing them in jail for something (anything)?
Plus, the cover is gorgeous.
What didn't: I actually really liked this whole book. It was an easy, breezy read but it's a cozy mystery and that's expected. I'm on board for the next one.