Title: The Missing Ink
Author: Karen E. Olson
Publisher: Signet, 2009
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #1 Tattoo Shop mystery
Source: Purchased from Amazon.
First Line: I've made grown men cry.
When Las Vegas homicide detective Tim Kavanaugh split with his girlfriend two years ago, his sister Brett moved in to share expenses. She also became the owner of The Painted Lady, a tattoo shop on the Las Vegas Strip.
A young woman makes an appointment for a tattoo that contains the name of her fiance within a heart, but she never shows up. The next thing Brett knows, the woman is missing, the police are looking for her, and the name she wanted on the tattoo isn't her fiance's.
Everyone on the suspect list seems to be beating a path to The Painted Lady's door (whether the shop is open or not), and Brett needs to find out what's going on while she still has a business to run.
This is a light, fun romp through the mean streets of Vegas with Brett as tour guide-- although she's not 100% sold on the city. (She has issues with the use of water, among other things.) Brett is level-headed, doesn't believe in taking foolish chances, and since her brother is a policeman, she knows how to find a dead body and not trash the crime scene.
There's also some tattoo lore and history to be learned along the way:
I wanted to stay, to talk to her more.... just to watch her, a previous generation of tattooist, a woman tattooist who'd had to suffer far more discrimination that I ever did. Those women who came before me were pioneers, breaking into a male-dominated profession and breaking all the rules.I liked the pace of this book, Brett's employees, and Brett's voice. The identity of the killer seemed a bit obvious to me, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of The Missing Ink. I'm looking forward to reading more of Brett's adventures.