Review of Alison Belsham’s The Tattoo Thief
The plot is original. I’m talking about the tattoo aspect. I don’t think I’ve read anything like it before. But that isn’t foolproof because I rarely remember any book that I don’t consider exceptional.
The police are pretty clumsy. It’s clear that the reader has the advantage of knowing the title and having read the synopsis, but the fact that they don’t realize the motive since the first murder, and let alone the second one, is the tattoos, seems to me quite serious.
The characters are flat and shallow. Perhaps the one that’s best crafted is the tattooist Marni Mullins. In general, they don’t have a story behind them nor are they placed in any context. Though some things come to light about them as the story progresses they never really become round characters. Not even Marni Mullins, and let alone the protagonist, Inspector Francis Sullivan, who’s quite weird.
As if that weren’t enough, the author is confused about the relationships between the characters, especially between the policemen. Sullivan, newly promoted to Inspector, is the most coherent, but the Commissioner, his superior, doesn’t trust him despite having recommended him for the promotion and doesn’t make his job easier. He spies him through the Sergeant under Sullivan’s orders, whom he considers the most experienced. It’s inexplicable.
The Sergeant doesn’t understand either. He would’ve wanted the Inspector’s job. He does everything he can to not make it easier for Sullivan by informing the Commissioner of things that can hurt him. The Sergeant assumes they’ll take Sullivan off the case and put him in charge. And they do, in fact, but at that moment he turns to the Inspector and even asks the Commissioner to put him back in charge. Messy, right?
I’m quite sick of reading novels in which the lead cop, whether male or female, and who always solves cases, has their superior, subordinate, or both, against them. Aren’t there any cops who work well together and trust each other?
The story is entertaining. Period. It gets a little boring and it doesn’t hook you because you’re too distracted with all those messy relations.
The ending is totally predictable.