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Book Cover Image: The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson

Title:  The Missing Ink 

Author: Karen E. Olson 

No. of Pages:  299

First Released:  2009

Synopsis (Courtesy of B&N):  “Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of an elite tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. When a girl makes an appointment for a tattoo of the name of her fiancé embedded in a heart, Brett takes the job but the girl never shows. The next thing Brett knows, the police are looking for her client, and the name she wanted on the tattoo isn’t her fiancé’s…”

Comments and Critique:  I want another tattoo.  That’s my biggest takeaway after reading this book.  It probably isn’t the reaction Ms. Olson was hoping to generate from this book, but I admit that the fact that this mystery revolved around a female tattoo artist is the reason why I read the book in the first place.  My overall thoughts on the book itself are, unfortunately, mixed.  Mainly, I thought this was quite a fluffy, engaging but not overly so.  I found it easy to put down each night and found myself rolling my eyes quite often at many of the very unrealistic scenes that occur throughout the book.  Still, I enjoyed the book. 

In addition, I feel that the subject will not appeal to the masses.  While it is a mystery, the fact of the matter is that the main character has a full-arm tattoo plus one that wraps around her body.  Tattoos are mentioned on almost every page.  While society in general is more tolerant of tattoos, full sleeves or massive ones that cover large portions of the body still generate stares and cause others to immediately form negative opinions about the owner.  I have three small ones and still get stares of disbelief that someone as “vanilla” as me could possibly want one let alone three.  So, I do not seeing a large portion of society being interested in a book about a tattoo artist or someone trying to solve a mystery surrounding a tattoo client. 

Also, I feel that the author knows nothing about tattoos themselves, even though she should.  I get this impression from the way Ms. Olson glosses over descriptions of someone getting a tattoo, how to take care of a newly inked one, and the mindset of someone who is interested in sleeves and leg tats.  She also does not adequately describe the pain of getting inked.  It is a subtle lack of knowledge but, again, for someone who has several of her own, the lack of knowledge is there. 

There is a significant lack of character development in The Missing Ink.  All of the characters remain one-dimensional, with very little back story shared to fully round out the main characters.  Brett remains nosy, selfish and fairly superficial, which surprises me given her profession; tattoo artists or anyone considered on the fringes of society are, in my experience, fairly accepting and open-minded.  Brett constantly jumping to conclusions based on superficial observances bothered me and kept me from fully becoming immersed in the book. 

Given the mostly negative review I have written so far, I did enjoy the book.  I attribute this to the fact that I am a sucker for any mystery.  I have a compulsive need to know the answer that will keep me reading and enjoying them on the whole.  The Missing Ink is no exception.  From a macro level, I enjoyed my time with Brett and her staff from The Painted Lady, even though on a micro level, there is quite a bit with which I can find fault.  The fact is I enjoyed this book in spite of its faults.  I will not be running out to get the rest of the series but I had fun reading it and trying to solve the mystery.  I also figured out what I want for tattoos number four and five.  I consider that to be a successful book.

Has anyone else read this yet?  What did you think?

Image: Signature Block

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