Review of “The Missing Ink” by Karen E. Olson

The Missing Ink is the first in a “tattoo parlor” cozy myteries series set in Las Vegas, Nevada on the Strip. The protagonist, female Brett Kavanaugh, is the owner of The Painted Lady, an artfully disguised tattoo parlor in The Ventian Grand Canal Shoppes. Brett is 5’9”, red-haired, pierced, and tattooed, and lives with her brother, the straight-laced Police Detective Tim Kavanaugh. When Brett becomes the last person to see Elise Lyon, a rich debutante from the east coast, she gets caught up in the investigation that is being headed by her brother. Naturally, as with most cozies, Brett decides to do some sleuthing on her own, and almost gets killed in the process.

Evaluation: I liked the Las Vegas setting, and the background about tattooing as a career and as a culture. I didn’t like some other aspects of the book: for example, one of Brett’s male employees is overweight, and Brett is constantly commenting on how he looks and what he eats. Brett is depicted as quite superficial, and, I suppose as is necessary for cozy protagonists, off-the-charts nosy and recklessly meddling. Most of the other characters are noticeably lacking in nuance.

Still, for a cozy, if provides a welcome break from the usual bakery or library settings, and has promise as a series. This is a quick book that would be ideal to take along with you to read as you sit in the waiting room of the tattoo parlor…

Rating: 3/5

Published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., 2009

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16 Responses to Review of “The Missing Ink” by Karen E. Olson

  1. harvee says:

    I’ve read one of the books in this series and this reminds me to try the others. A great escape venue, I agree.

  2. Sandy says:

    I’ve seen this series around, and I’ll admit that it really did nothing to inspire me to pick it up. I’m not all that interested in the tattoo industry, and I guess if I’m going to read a cozy, I WOULD rather be where there is food or books…

  3. Jenny says:

    Hmm, I’ve thought about reading this on, though I really don’t need a new cozy series, LOL. I’m behind on all the series I’ve already started. I like that it’s a different setting, though those comments she makes would probably bother me too.

  4. I haven’t discovered many cozy mysteries yet. This one does sound interesting. I’m not sure of the tattooing aspect of the novel.

  5. Amanda says:

    I’m not a big fan of cozies in general, but i usually get the urge to read one in April or so (and then I’m fine for another year), and this does sound very different from others. I’m sorry to hear about the fat-shaming – that’s really a turnoff in books – but I do like the idea of a more alt-life cozy than normal.

  6. I think the tattoo thing might be fun…as would the Vegas setting, but the rather unlikable main character might be a deal breaker.

  7. Barbara says:

    Hmmm. Exactly how often do you spend time in the tattoo parlor waiting room, Jill? This presents such a funny picture to me, I just can’t write anymore, as she falls out of her chair laughing.

  8. stacybuckeye says:

    Oh, Jill. You obviously don’t get the tatoo culture at all (I say with a huge laugh since I’d never consider getting one).
    I’m sorry you didn’t like Brett & gang. I’m still excited to read book 3 in the series.

  9. When I first saw this series, I figured it wasn’t for me, since I’m not a fan of tattoos, but I’ve seen so many glowing reviews that I’d like to give it a try. Sorry you didn’t love it as much as others have.

  10. zibilee says:

    I think that a cozy revolving around a tattoo parlor would be great, but I would be seriously annoyed about all the monitoring of the partners food and his weight, so I am not sure about this one. It does seem like a cute idea, but some of the particulars really turn me off. Thanks for your candid take on this one today, Jill.

  11. JoAnn says:

    OK, now I’ve heard everything – a tattoo parlor cozy mystery series?! I must be getting old…

  12. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    I read this one a few years back and thought it was fun! It is a cozy series that I would continue to read just because the setting is different and zany!

  13. Margot says:

    Tattoos and Las Vegas – it was bound to come to this for the cozies. They all try to be so clever and different. I can’t even imagine what’s next.

  14. Jenners says:

    Tattoo parlor and cozy just don’t seem to go together!

  15. Vasilly says:

    Maybe the next time I’m in a tattoo parlor, I’ll take this one with me. 🙂

  16. Julie P. says:

    Sounds cute! I just read a mystery that takes place in Las Vegas too. It is an ideal setting for a crazy story!

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