Thursday, July 9, 2009

THE MISSING INK - Karen E. Olson

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist in Las Vegas. She owns and operates The Painted Lady where a young woman came inquiring about a custom devotion tattoo, one containing her fiancé's name. When that same young woman turns out to be the missing fiancé of Chip Manning, the son of an extremely wealthy casino owner, Brett becomes the last person to have seen her and the person who knows that the name she wanted on the tattoo wasn't Chip. Now the cops want to talk to Brett, the reporters want to talk to Brett, and the prime suspect in the woman's disappearance - not to mention Brett's business competitor, Jeff Coleman, wants to talk to Brett. But the stakes are raised when a second woman turns up dead. No matter which direction Brett turns, she finds herself smack in the middle of the mayhem.

THE MISSING INK is the first book in Karen Olson's new Tattoo Shop mystery series, and it is non-stop entertainment. From her distinctive cast of characters to the constant plot twists, I found myself repeating, "just one more chapter" until there were no more left.

If you saw the staff of The Painted Lady on the street, you might think that the circus had come to town. But these characters are far more fun than the circus. On the street you might be inclined to stare at them: Bitsy for her small stature; Joel for his large stature; Brett for her piercings and red hair; oh yeah, and all their ink! On the page, you stare because they are witty and unique and devoted to each other. Brett made me chuckle when she was having dinner with a handsome Brit and thought to herself, "If I were in eighth grade, I'd be writing Mrs. Simon Chase over and over on my paper-bag book cover." Quips like this added to Brett's charm. She's smart and funny and independent, but inside she also harbors some insecurities and youthful excitements. All of these qualities roll up into a spunky protagonist.

The plot of THE MISSING INK is quick and full of twists that have you experiencing elements of Las Vegas from a high class resort and casino to an all-Elvis karaoke bar to the neighborhoods that require bars on the doors and windows. And Olson ignites all your senses in this novel as well. She splatters the pages with Vegas' bright neon colors and fashion's palette, but she also walks you through Vegas' "dry" heat, the busy rows of slot machines, and the myriad smells of all that food.

THE MISSING INK is a winning trip to Vegas. I'd recommend booking YOUR trip soon!

THE MISSING INK (ISBN: 978-0-451-22746-1) was released by Obsidian on Tuesday, July 7.


Serena July 9, 2009 at 9:28 AM  

this sounds like a great new series. I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

le0pard13 July 9, 2009 at 9:28 AM  

This sounds pretty quirky, but cool. Thanks, Jen.

Jen July 9, 2009 at 11:59 AM  

This is a quirky book and that's a lot of its appeal for me. It's unique and the characters are just fun. Nice, light, fun read!

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