Karen E. Olson's Ink Flamingos (Tattoo Shop Mystery #4)
I just finished what I have learned is the final Tattoo Shop Mystery by Karen E. Olson. Though this is certainly sad news to those of us here at The Reading Grove, the series certainly ended on a high note. Brett Kavanaugh owns "The Painted Lady," an upscale tattoo shop in Las Vegas known for its custom ink. In Ink Flamingos, Brett is pulled into yet another murder mystery. This time the victim is one of her customers and the key suspect is a redhead tattoo artist, which happens to describe Brett. Though the series is categorized as a "cozy" mystery, this book is certainly filled with very dark undertones. It is a serious mystery with a lot at stake for one of my favorite main characters. Someone is stalking Brett and trying to frame her for murder. Olson does a great job with character development as the book progresses and the readers witnesses a normally strong main character begin to unravel as she loses more and more control over her life. Thankfully the same cast of quirky characters that we have come to love in this series step in to keep her afloat until the mystery is solved. Chief among them is fellow tattoo artist and former marine Jeff, who helps Brett keep a sense of humor during some rather stressful times. Olson provides the readers to new insights into Brett's personal relationships, along with a special public service announcement of the dangers of absinthe. Though not entirely unpredictable (there are enough lose ends to tie up that you could not anticipate every angle), this is by far my favorite of the four tattoo shop mysteries. It made me all the more disappointed that readers now have to say goodbye to Brett and her friends at The Painted Lady.