Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pretty in Ink

Pretty in Ink
By Karen E. Olson
Publisher: Obsidian
Published: March 2010
ISBN-13: 9780451229625
320 pages

Read the first two chapters

Synopsis from the back-cover: Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of one of Vegas's hottest tattoo shops, The Painted Lady. And in her spare time, she does some sleuthing - because nothing needles her more than murder.

After Brett and company ink Sin City's newest drag queen stars, they're invited to opening night at the Strip's glamorous Nylons and Tattoos show. An evening of glitter and dancing ends in disaster when a stranger with a queen of hearts tattoo fells Britney Brassieres with a wayward champagne cork.

Even though Britney recovers, she mysteriously dies soon after, and then another drag queen is found poisoned. Someone's targeting Vegas's fabulous femmes. And sharp-as-a-needle Brett must crack the case before the show's over for good.

First sentence:
If your name is Britney Brassieres, being taken down by a tsunami of champagne might seem only fitting.

Last month, I received Karen E. Olson’s second book of the Tattoo Shop Mystery series just in time for my holiday in Perhentian island. The package came with a beautiful postcard featuring the book cover with a personalized message from Karen. I loved the first book in the series, The Missing Ink, and I have a feeling I was going to love this one as well. Before I go on, thank you for the book, Karen!

I believe this is the first time I read a novel with drag queens in them, and in this installment readers are invited into the Las Vegas drag queen scene. As you can see from the first sentence, a drag queen, Britney Brassieres (believe me, I read this as “Britney Spears” a few times until I finally realized it’s "Brassieres"), is purposely struck by a champagne cork at the opening night of MissTique’s new Nylons and Tattoos show, featuring drag queens Britney, Miranda, LaTuche, and Marva Luss (the names got me giggling). The Painted Lady, Brett Kavanaugh’s tattoo shop inked the queens, so Brett and gang were invited as VIPs to the event.

When the cork is shot at Britney, Brett is the only one who sees the culprit but could not identify his face. She could see the tattoo on his arm, though. Britney is dead a few days later, but one does not just die from being shot by a cork. Apparently, there is more to it than that, and things get more interesting and complicated. At about this time, Charlotte, one of Brett's own employees is missing and her disappearance is linked to the case. In true Brett style, she gets herself involved in solving the mystery, not to mention danger.

Pretty in Ink is a funny book and suspenseful too. It is a perfect beach read and I am glad I took it with me to savor at the island. I like how each chapter ends in suspense and that made me want to continue turning the pages, because I needed to know what will happen next. I find myself chuckling at various parts. Boy, that Brett has a sense of humor. The other supporting characters in the novel such as her employees are great and they add flavor to the story. I am beginning to like Jeff Coleman, tattoo artist and owner of a competing tattoo business. I smell potential romance here because he has been looking out for Brett and he is sweet. I am so looking forward to the next book in the series to see if it will happen.

It took me a while to warm up to the story because you see, I am not exposed to drag queens (but there is always a first time for everyone), and I found that as I go along, it was actually pretty entertaining. Do start off with the first book to get a feel of who Brett and her friends are. The verdict? I enjoyed it very much and I want the next book, Driven to Ink!

Before you go, please check out the interesting interview with Karen by John Valeri at Hartford Books Examiner (he asked where Karen got the spark of hilarity from when she wrote about the opening scene of Britney being shot with a champagne cork, and what can readers expect next for Brett and her crew at The Painted Lady, and so on). Also look out for the book review by Wendy at Musings of a Bookish Kitty!

More about Karen E. Olson and her books on the author's website and she blogs at the First Offenders.

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