Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review: Pretty in Ink by Karen E. Olson

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

One minute she was belting out "Oops! . . . I Did It Again," the next she was on the floor, her arms flailing as the Mo√ęt - not the really expensive kind, but that White Star you can get at discount if you look hard enough - showered her. [pg 1]

Pretty in Ink by Karen E. Olson
Obsidian Mystery, 2010
Crime Fiction; 299 pgs

I did a little happy dance when I received Karen E. Olson's second book of the Tattoo Shop mystery series in the mail last month. I loved the first book in the series, The Missing Ink, and was excited to see what Brett and friends were up to now.

In this particular novel, readers step into the Las Vegas drag queen scene where one such drag queen, Britney Brassieres, is struck by a champagne cork--on purpose--at the premiere of the Nylons and Tattoos show. Brett Kavanaugh, owner and tattoo artist at the Painted Lady, and her staff had drawn the tattoos that the drag queens are sporting and were invited to the big event. Brett is the only one who sees the cork shooter, and, while she is unable to identify him by his face, she does get a good look at the tattoo on his arm. When the queen dies mysteriously a few days later, the situation grows all the more suspicious--and complicated. One of Brett's own employees is missing and seemingly in trouble. Brett is determined to do her own investigating both to help her friend and to solve a murder, placing herself in the path of danger.

I had a lot of fun reading Pretty in Ink. I fell into the rhythm of the novel almost immediately. The book is fast-paced both in tone and action. There were comic moments, as can be expected. I love Brett's dry sense of humor. And her friends are a real hoot. Joel is one of my favorite characters. He reminds me a lot of a former coworker who was large and imposing size-wise, but was really a big teddy bear, cuddly and kind-hearted. He also loved to eat. Jeff Coleman, owner and tattoo artist of a competing tattoo business, is ever present. I wasn't sure what to think of him in the first book of the series, but he's growing on me. There's certainly more to him than meets the eye. And that Bitsy is a spitfire. She may be small, but like many of us who are short know, you shouldn't be quick to underestimate us.

This series is fast becoming a comfort read for me. It is not a series that should be taken too seriously. It has just the right amount of suspense and comedy to keep me entertained while I am reading. I cannot really think of anything I did not like about the novel. Readers interested in getting to know Brett would probably be better off starting with the first book in the series as her character is more fully developed there, although the mystery in Pretty in Ink stands on its own.

Upon completion of the book, I actually read the excerpt for the upcoming book, Driven to Ink, something I never do. I read introductions, acknowledgments, glossaries, appendices, and the dedication, but never the excerpt to the next book. And yet I did with this one. I wasn't quite ready to let go of Brett just yet come the end of the book.

Rating: * (Very Good)

You can learn more about Karen E. Olson and her books on the author's website. You can also find Karen at the First Offenders blog.

Source: My copy of Pretty in Ink was provided by the author for review.

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I share the same thoughts, Wendy! I loved this book and my review is long overdue. I will be posting it soon. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Jeff is also growing on me. I'm beginning to like him. :D

  2. First off, any book that reminds me of a Hughes movie has to be good!! Second, if this is becoming a favorite comfort read then I must check it out!!! Such a fun review Wendy!

  3. I'm so thrilled you enjoyed the book, Wendy! And I'm loving it that you and Alice are seeing more in Jeff in this book. His role gets even deeper in the next one. Their relationship is not the conventional romantic one, but I think it says a lot for both characters. And to think, he wasn't even in the proposal for the first book. He just showed up!

  4. I love a mystery that doesn't take itself too seriously! This sounds like a great series, and what an awesome comment from the author!

  5. yeah - glad to hear the 2nd is as good as the first. I can't wait to pick up a copy for myself.

  6. Oh, this sounds FUN! I like the light and fluffy mysteries, too, though I tend to like the historical ones more than the current ones. However, that scene you quoted at the top sounds giggle-worthy :-)

  7. This series sounds like something I would really like. Great review! You've given me another title to add to my wish list!

  8. I have the first book in this series on my Kindle. Glad to know that there will be a second and a third. Thanks for sharing, Wendy!

  9. Thanks for your lovely review, Wendy! I haven't read this series yet though I've the first book in my pile. This book is definitely onto my wishlist! :)

  10. Alice - I look forward to reading your review, Alice. I'm glad you enjoyed this one too!

    Staci - LOL Yes, Hughes' movies are among my favorites.

    This is such a fun series. I hope you do give it a try.

    Kathy - I find myself craving books like this now and then. :-)

    Kris - I hope you will enjoy it when you get to it!

  11. Karen - I hadn't really considered Jeff as a possible romantic interest for Brett until this book. I'm glad he worked his way into the series! I look forward to getting to know him better in the next book.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to read and review Pretty in Ink!

  12. Aarti - I go through phases in regards to reading mysteries. This one was perfect for my current mood. I really enjoyed it. And there were quite a few giggle-worthy moments in this one. :-)

    Donna (Myckyee) - Thank you! I do hope you'll give this series a chance. :-)

    Kay - My husband is reading the first book in the series right now. So far he's enjoying it. I admit to being a little nervous--he's really picky about the mysteries he enjoys.

    Melody - I have a feeling you'd really like this series, Melody. :-)

  13. Sounds like a fun series. I don't read too many mysteries, but I'll keep this in mind in case I get in the mood for one.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  14. I enjoyed the first one too, so will have to see in my library has this one. I didn't really like Bitsy so much in the first, hopefully that changes.

  15. I put the first book in this series on my TBR list when you reviewed it and still haven't read it. Must rectify that immediately. I also need to read the rest of the Annie Seymour series.

    I need to win the lottery so I can stay home and read!!

  16. Anna - It's a light and fun mystery. Perfect for those days when you have a lot on your plate and need a break.

    Lisa - Bitsy took a little getting used to because of her attitude, but I think she's a good person underneath that tough exterior.

    - We can go in on that winning lottery ticket together then we both can stay home and read whenever we want. ;-)


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