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Retro Reading: Driven to Ink by Karen E. Olson

Updated on May 13, 2022
Missing newlyweds, bodies in a trunk and the thrill of Las Vegas
Missing newlyweds, bodies in a trunk and the thrill of Las Vegas

Third Time not such a Charm

How could a great plot and subplot be ruined?

I'm not sure but for the third installment in the Tattoo Shop Mysteries, author Karen E. Olson lost me somewhere while being Driven to Ink.

When Brett Kavanaugh agrees to let Sylvia Coleman use her car for her drive-through wedding ceremony to Bernie Applebaum, she didn't expect the car would have two dead bodies in the trunk and the happy newlyweds would disappear before their honeymoon began.

With that plot and subplot alone you'd think it'd be a page turner but for most of the book I wasn't feeling it. As hard as I tried, I kept hoping the pace would pick up but spark wasn't there.

Olson has been a great storyteller up until now and I was extremely disappointed. Here's why.

With the marriage of the old couple (well into their late '70's early '80's) disappearing that in itself made for a good page turner. I was hoping for a lot more interaction between Brett and Jeff Coleman, considering he seems to be harboring a little crush on her. It would have been good to possibly see where that relationship could be heading (and I think Brett likes the attention and the thrill of the chase) but nothing really materializes.

Then the subplot of the dead bodies in the car (one a Dean Martin impersonator) makes things a little more complicated. Granted the other body is a rat but a body none the less.

Since the rat's death is linked to the actual body, Brett along with cohort Bitsy Hendricks manage to get past security at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where they run across dashing Dr. Colin Bixby.

Brett's nearly run down a couple of times, has dinner and solves the crime. And that's pretty much it while she tries to track down Dan Franklin.

When the action gets good it does become a page turner but for the most part I was struggling to get through the novel. My guess is Olson was probably working on this along with the second installment which are less than six months apart so she was probably spending most of the time polishing up Pretty in Ink and not really following her writer's instinct with this one.


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