The Tattoo Thief - Alison Belsham

August 12, 2018

3.5 / 5 Stars 


A well paced whodunnit with great characterisation - though sometimes a bit far-fetched.

Marni's tattooing a guy called Steve in her hometown in Brighton, when she discovers a body in the bins outside. She phones it into the police, only to find herself hauled into the centre of a twisted serial killing spree. As if the poor love hasn't got enough on her plate with her problematic ex-husband still in the neighbourhood. 


Turns out that this murderer has a taste for collecting tattoos, and whats more, they only want the finest that's out there. Francis, a religious copper who's recently been promoted, is on the case -but only if his boss will let him get on with the task at hand. However, he didn't count on meeting a lady like Marni...

Overall, I liked the book and read it very quickly (over the course of a couple of nights). I was invested in the characters (particularly brittle Marni, who was a definite treat to read) and wanted to find out what happened. The ending was fairly satisfying, with a couple of twists that weren't immediately obvious, and it was enough to keep me satisfied. 

I think the author definitely excels at characterisation - with some of her characters, you really get a sense that she's dug deep to pull out their authenticity and vulnerability. However, I was slightly disappointed to see some very over-used genre cliches in this book; not least the golf-playing police chief who obstructs the 'good cop's' efforts - that was a trope I could well have done without. 

There were also a few moments that felt a bit unconvincing. For example, if you'd just been brutally attacked by a serial killer and they'd tried to flay you alive, would you check yourself out of hospital without anyone knowing, then return the the scene of the crime in the middle of the night? 

Also, what happened to Marni's dog?! I needed to know, I was worried! 

However, this sort of thing is quite common in books like this. It's such a popular, over-populated genre that there's bound to be some crossover and it must be hard to get total originality. As such, I'm giving it a four out of five stars as it was really compelling to read. 

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