In the fourth, and probably the last, installment of the Tattoo Shop Mystery series pink flamingos play a very important role and appear all of a sudden in quite a few places, growing to scary dimensions.
Brett Kavanuagh, a female tattoo artist based inLas Vegas, again gets into trouble when she hears that one of her regular clients, a rocker celebrity named Daisy Carmichael, was found dead in a hotel room. The police found ink pots and needles in the room and someone saw a tall redhead leaving the room before Daisy’s body was found, so obviously all of it makes Brett a crime suspect. To make things worse a tattoo blog begins to publish pictures of tattoos done by Brett and her own pictures as well. Brett finds herself stalked by someone eager to ruin her life and must do all she can to prove her own innocence and find who stands behind the crime.
The plot resembles somewhat the previous parts of the series and, like before, Brett gets involved into something she isn’t supposed to be a part of, and, like before, she can always count on her friends to help her out. In a way, though, this part seems the most mature and interesting.
Thanks to the blog element woven into the plot the author points out what a big danger the Internet can be for everyone. It’s relatively easy to set up a website and use its contents against anyone. The news is heard and read fast, it’s hard to prove it’s not true and it’s not that easy to locate the person responsible for the mess. With the blogs flourishing out there and discussing various subjects, they can be a great source of information but also a big risk if run by someone unstable or unknowledgeable. Brett learns this truth hard way.
Over the four parts of the series Brett has grown as a character and changed for the better. She’s one of these nicely strong-ish female characters that are good to read about and even though the element of romance is an important part of the series, Brett is able to approach it with a sense of humor. Long forgotten now are also annoying phrase repetitions, referring to tattoos as ‘ink’ or ‘tats’ and focusing on only one or two types of tattoos. As it seems, along with Brett also the author’s knowledge on the subject grew and evolved. The ‘Painted Lady’ shop saw quite a few interesting clients in all the parts of the series and they got better and better.
Sad as it is, there’s no mind-blowing/ earth-shaking change when it comes to tattoos in this last part but Brett’s own tattoo collection expanded, she learned that there are good artists even in places she wouldn’t think of and she finally acknowledged other forms of body modification even if she concludes that ‘it’s not her journey.’ At least we know that she knows that such things as split tongues or stretched lobes exist and there’s more to body piercing than just multiple ear piercings.
So-so at the beginning and getting better later on, Karen E. Olson managed to create a bunch of positive tattooed characters who don’t strike a pose ever so often as you can see it on Ink Reality TV and whose personalities are nicely written, funny and likeable. After having read the whole series and enjoyed it I don’t think my time was wasted and I thank her for that!
Karen E. Olson, Ink Flamingos, Signet 2011