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Retro Reading: Pretty in Ink by Karen E. Olson

Updated on May 13, 2022
Men by day, Drag Queens by night
Men by day, Drag Queens by night

Second Tattoo Shop Mystery is Aces

If author Karen E. Olson were anywhere near me while I was reading Pretty in Ink I think I would have slapped her a few times.

It was one of the hardest books to put down. Even when I did find myself putting it down (and I was debating if I should continue reading on one of those sleepless nights) I had to rush right back to it.

The second installment starts with Brett Kavanaugh and crew having a night out at Chez Tango. It's the opening night of the drag show, Nylons and Tattoos, and since all of the drag queens had gotten new ink at Brett's shop, The Painted Lady, they've invited the crew to hang out with them. As VIP's they were treated to a fun filled night along with the assault of Britney Brassieres.

Britney's assault wasn't by any means an accident and the death of "her" sets Brett into detective mode.

Since Brett witnessed the attack she was sure of one thing. The assailant had a Queen of Hearts tattoo and suddenly her trainee, Charlotte Sampson disappears. As she begins her own investigation a sort of cat and mouse game begins when Charlotte starts calling Brett and needs her to come quickly to where she's at. A luxurious condo on the famous Strip of Las Vegas.

When Brett gets there she doesn't find Charlotte but another body.

With two dead, Brett enlists the aid of MissTique (Kyle Albrecht) to help her with the investigation. Kyle takes her to Britney's apartment and while Brett searches for clues, Kyle sets about helping himself to a few of Britney's personal items. What they do find is a lot of cash stuffed into Britney's boots which makes them wonder why she'd constantly be pawning an over-the-top brooch and always claiming to not have any money.

Also lending a helping hand is Brett's competitor, Jeff Coleman, who owns a rundown tattoo shop on the other side of town. Although Jeff isn't one of Brett's favorite people, Olson does give us a bit of sexual tension between the two characters. There's also some tension between her and the mysterious Colin Bixby.

Because there's so much to this mystery I can't really say too much- just that it's very fast paced and I haven't had a read like this in a long time which is one of the reasons I wished Olson was near.

The characters are all very unique and as I said in my review of The Missing Ink this series would make one great television show based on the individual books. Writing like this is hard to find when it comes to a mystery and as a reader we're not bogged down by all of the past events from the previous novel. Olson does remind us at some point but doesn't harbor on the past.

Another reason to slap Olson is the title of this book. I guarantee you'll have the song embedded in your head while reading and after you've completed the last page.

Thanks, Karen. Now I have it stuck in my head. Again.


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