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