No Last Tattoo by Isabel Chloe

No Last Tattoo by Isabel Chloe
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (92 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Paige Steward had met a mystic woman in the antique market on a cold January weekend. This woman brought her questions that overwhelmed her with pain and led her to a destructive path. This early summer night, Paige and the mystic woman were more than two thousand miles apart and recalling all their meetings on their own terms. Each of their meetings was related to one brutal crime in the past four and half years. However, there were more secrets behind these crimes than anyone involved imagined. Who was truly responsible for these crimes? Who was completely innocent and who was truly guilty? More surprises awaited these two women. Death was preying on them to become new victims. Would they suffer like their victims in the past? Who would be the next sacrifice to the cruelty of fate? Only one thing was certain. A new death was guaranteed very soon. Who would be allowed to survive?

Revenge is a dish best served on your own terms, whatever those terms may be.

I couldn’t predict any of the plot twists in advance, and that isn’t something that normally happens to me due how familiar I am with the mystery genre. It was a lot of fun to be kept guessing until the very end. Ms. Chloe has a vivid imagination and she clearly took full advantage of it when writing this tale.

The pacing felt disjointed. It’s divided up into a few different sections that almost seem to function as their own stories. While each section moved along fairly smoothly, transitioning among them was sometimes bumpy due to how many different time the perspective switched from one character to the next. I appreciated the backstory that later sections provide, but it was a little too detailed for something this length.

In the beginning I was sure I had Paige figured out. The hints about her past are illuminating, but no sooner did I think I’d pieced them all together correctly than another twist would knock them apart again. I enjoy meeting protagonists who defy categorization and make their own rules. Paige is definitely a complex woman, so it was rewarding to figure out what makes her tick and why she behaves the way she does.

I’d recommend No Last Tattoo to anyone who likes mysteries that are not easily unravelled. There are a lot of tantalizing clues here to be discovered, but none of them are easy to fit together!

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