First Line: If your name is Britney Brassieres, being taken down by a tsunami of champagne might seem only fitting.
Owner of The Painted Lady tattoo shop in Las Vegas, Brett Kavanaugh is an artist who specializes in one-of-a-kind works of art. After inking some of Las Vegas's newest drag queens, Brett and her employees attend opening night at The Strip's glamorous "Nylon and Tattoos" show. Unfortunately for drag queen Britney Brassieres, the last thing that glitters is a fatal champagne cork straight to the chest. The champagne shootist, who has a distinctive Queen of Hearts tattoo, disappears into the crowd.
Brett scarcely has time to blink before she's being grilled by Metro Homeland Security Detective Frank DeBurra. Believing that the police aren't taking her information about the man with the Queen of Hearts tattoo seriously enough, Brett begins sleuthing on her own... and everywhere she goes, Frank DeBurra is there. Is the man stalking her? When another drag queen is found poisoned, Brett has another question on an endless mind loop: just what does her new employee Charlotte have to do with all of this?
With its Las Vegas setting, this series can take you to unfamiliar places-- like the drag queen scene and tattoo shops-- and provide quite a bit of insight. If you're in the mood for a plot that is devious and moves at speed, Pretty in Ink is the book for you. The characters had such a stranglehold on me that I never really had the time to figure out what was going on. Brett, who has love right under her nose and refuses to see it, aggravated me no end by constantly hiding information from the police. If Frank DeBurra (who had to be the guy who put the nox into obnoxious) were stalking me, I'd tell him everything I knew including my great-great-grandmother's maiden name in an attempt to get the jerk off my back. Brett is made of sterner stuff. Pretty in Ink also serves up its share of humor-- not only with drag queen stage names-- but with the pièce de résistance: Brett's righthand woman, Bitsy, has the most perfect putdown of a politician I've read in ages. This little person had me laughing and clapping. Way to go, Bitsy!
Devious doings in Las Vegas, wonderful characters, humor... what are you waiting for?
Pretty in Ink by Karen E. Olson
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #2 Tattoo Shop mystery
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.