The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 3 days
Pages - 304
Publisher - Trapeze
Source - ARC
Blurb from Goodreads
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?
A serial killer with a difference, the killer literally takes the skin from the victims, more precisely the tattoo'd area, no mean feat in itself. Marni Mullins is a tattoo artist, separated from her husband and a great distrust of the police. Marni finds herself dragged into the investigation, shoulder to shoulder with the very professionals she distrusts trying to find the how and why to the killer. Can they work together before the killer strikes again and kills another?
The book opens with the killer and a bit of a horrible scene, we are left in no doubt what his intentions are and the horror to follow. The chapters then flip between the characters, Marnie, the main police officers Rory and Francis and intermittently from the killer (always written in italics).
Some of the scenes are brutal and graphic in nature, it is a bit of a fresh take on a killer and the reasoning for the killings. The personal aspect with Marnie and her ex, the police dynamics especially Francis trying to establish his place in the team lead on their big case. It is a very mixed bag, lots to keep you turning page after page. Another thing of note, I learned a few things about tattoos along the way which was a wee added bonus and found myself googling a couple of things. This is Belsham's first crime novel and I hope it won't be the last. I would like to see where the characters go next, what is in store and the author taking her writing to the next level. 3.5/5 for me this time, I look forward to seeing what she offers next, certainly a fresh injection on the crime scene.