Publication date: 3 May 2018

  • Publisher: Trapeze
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0719VZB2Z
  • Source ARC copy from the publisher via NetGalley

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

I started this book early one morning and by breakfast time I’d read 40% of it!

I’m from an age where women didn’t have tattoos and thank goodness the world has moved on and so many now do, including my own daughter. Many tattoos are absolute works of art and I’m always amazed by the skill of tattoo artists.

This book set in Brighton, is about the collection of exquisite tattoos taken from living people who of course end up deceased after their tattoos have been stolen from them. Who is doing this and why? The victims appear to have had tattoos from a few elite tattoo artists and after discovering one of the victims tattoo artist Marni Mullins and her associates ends up at the centre of the investigation.

I really liked the character of Marni but not so much the DI in charge of the case Francis Sullivan who was a bit wet behind the ears and hapless but did discover some inner steel and flashes of brilliance when he realised the link between the victims when his superior did not.

Gruesome at times but never gratuitous although I learned a bit too much about the removal and preservation of human skin.

The book was a fascinating glimpse into the world of tattoo artists.

With my bookshelves groaning and my kindle library ever beckoning me with book titles that shout out ‘pick me!’ this book held my attention and fascination throughout.

A thoroughly gripping mystery

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Alison Belsham initially started writing with the ambition of becoming a screenwriter-and in 2000 was commended for her visual storytelling in the Orange Prize for Screenwriting. In 2001 she was shortlisted in a BBC Drama Writer competition. Life and children intervened but, switching to fiction, in 2009 her novel Domino was selected for the prestigious Adventures in Fiction mentoring scheme. In 2016 she pitched her first crime novel, The Tattoo Thief, at the Pitch Perfect event at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival and was judged the winner.