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The Tattoo Thief

(The Tattoo Thief #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,497 ratings  ·  327 reviews
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 t
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Trapeze
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,497 ratings  ·  327 reviews

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Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an infinitely dark crime thriller set in Brighton in the fascinating world of tattoo artists, with a macabre serial killer that takes pleasure in removing tattoos by flaying alive the murder victims. The youngest DI Francis Sullivan faces hostility from his second in command, the older, more experienced DS Rory Mackay, who thinks he should have been the one promoted and from his boss, DCI Martin Bradshaw, disinclined to trust Sullivan's judgement, whilst insisting on courses of action th ...more
Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
This book will not be for everyone... it is dark, disturbing and graphic. If you can cope with that you will love this book! Lately there have been a lot of books with such similar stories that it has been hard to tell them apart. This one was absolutely an original story, and one that had me hooked.

Marni Mullians is a tattoo expert, she knows her ink as a tattoo artist in Brighton. When she makes the horrifying discovery in the rubbish near her studio of a man who has had his tattoos removed, s
Lucy Banks
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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.
Liz Barnsley
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Tattoo Thief is a pacy and addictive thriller that I read all in one go - it is dark and quite brutal with an excellent twisty plot and some intriguing characters.
I liked Marni, tattoo artist, who gets caught up in a serial killer case despite her best efforts to stay out of it and the mystery elements are well plotted to keep things unexpected. It is gripping and often darkly violent, descriptively this is not for the faint of heart.
We get a glimpse into the world of the Tattoo artist, whic
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
he Tattoo Thief flicks between four characters. Marni a tattooist, Francis a DI, Rory, who works under Francis and the killer. The killer even though we get to meet them and see inside their dark and twisted mind, we don't actually know who it is. Obviously I was trying to guess who but failed miserably.

Marni is quite a strong character and I have to say I loved finding out more about tattoo's and what a normal working day is like for a tattooist. It really makes for some fascinating reading. Ma
The Tattoo Thief was a bit of a disappointment.
The premise is awesome. Tattoos and serial killers? Sign me the f up.
However, I couldn't help but change my mind when I was halfway thorugh it.
You can tell the author did her research and knew where she wanted this story to go, but apparently got a bit lost in the making because 1) it takes really tooooo much for the story to start and 2) there are plot holes and unsolved questions that will haunt me forever.
I found this book a little too inconc
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well. If you like your crime dark and graphic then this is the book for you.

As to what the book is about, “It does what it says on the tin”. There is a killer selecting people with tattoos and removing them – whilst the person is still alive. Gory enough for you? We’re not talking tiny butterflies here by the way – all those chosen have some amazing body art which someone is obviously desperate to own.

DI Francis Sullivan has been newly promoted at just 29 years of age. His promotion has not gone
Stephen Clynes
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buzz!!! Buzz!!! and the tattoo machine inks another person having given their consent to the tattooist to make their mark. However, there is a thief about who steals tattoos off people, leaving them for dead.

This crime thriller is set around Brighton and in her debut novel, Alison Belsham gives the case to newly promoted DI Francis Sullivan. What is nice about this police procedural, is that there are separate chapters from the point of view of the 4 main characters. DI Francis Sullivan and DS R
Tracy Fenton
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
WOW – This is one gory and gruesome debut and if you have a strong stomach I am pretty sure you will love this book. The Tattoo Thief is the debut novel from Alison Belsham, published by Trapeze and available to buy now and is the first book in a trilogy.

The gory story is narrated through four main characters. The Killer: a really sick and twisted individual who is killing people around Brighton and removing their skin to collect their tattoos; Marni Mullins: a divorced mother who works in Brigh
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Someone is stealing tattoos off dead people in Brighton. When Detective Inspector Francis Sullivan starts sniffing around, tattoo artist Marni Mulligan finds herself involved in a tattoo expert capacity. She doesn’t trust the police and wants nothing to do with the investigation, but at the same time finds herself drawn to Francis, whom she calls Frank, just to annoy him.

Alison Belsham’s story is quite an intricate mystery, and the whole tatto angle is pretty fascinating. I learned a lot about d
ally’s reading corner
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
WOW!! What a book, I can honestly say this was a fantastic read, I was hooked from the first sentence, and I loved the authors writing style, it was perfectly detailed, although some of the details given by the killer made me feel quite queasy, however that didn’t stop the killer chapters from being my favourite.

The story follows Marni, Francis and Rory on their journey to find the tattoo thief with the extra bonus chapters from the voice of the killer and their backstory. The story was pacey an
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
I really enjoyed The Tattoo Thief. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I found myself getting pulled into the story really quickly. I liked the tattoo angle, not least because I have a few myself, so it was interesting to read about.

Marni Mullins is a tattoo artist, and she stumbles upon a body in a dumpster when taking a break at a tattoo show. Conflicted, she calls it in but then goes back to work at the tattoo show, not expecting anything to come of it. Until the police find her.

Joanne Robertson
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was on my radar for quite some time before I read it and once I did get my hands on a copy I just had to start it straight away. And I read it in one sitting as well as it is so completely and utterly gripping that I couldn’t bare to put it down! If, like me, you’re finding it hard to distinguish between police procedurals at the moment or want something a little bit different that really stands out from the crowd, then The Tattoo Thief is the book for you! It’s a fresh and exciting de ...more
A nice crime book, nothing super great but good enough. The positives: I liked the introduction to the tattoo world, the fact that it presents the artistic side of tattoos (although I have none), I liked that it is set in Brighton, a city I have visited. I liked that there is a strong female character narrating half of the book.

I didn't particularly like the police inside drama, it wasn't bad, but why should we have the chapters narrated by Rory? Two narrators are enough. And I don't know about
Joanne Parkington
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
‘International Thriller of the Year’ ... did I miss this chapter ?? What a load of cliched toss from Marlin Mullins ‘rough tough survivor of a terrible past’ female tattoo artist to Francis Sullivan’s drippy cop and don’t get me started on who shoved the baguette up Thierry’s ‘Putain! Merde!’ arse .. what a cock. There is zero back story on Kirby or Steve .. no real ending .. no explanation as to why and if the Frank thing was supposed to be funny .. it wasn’t. Drivel from start to finish.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, that’s one way to kick off a book! We are talking tattoo removal with not a laser in sight! The Tattoo Thief brings a whole new method to the removal of body art! Moving swiftly onto a tattoo convention in Brighton and this book has got all my synapses snapping!

The Tattoo Thief is the police investigation into a brutal killer with a unique fascination. The killer is tracking down tattoo fans and killing them slowly for their skin! Enter newly promoted DI Francis Sullivan who finds himself
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my, it's finished. I really enjoyed reading this book. Very exciting and I could hardly put it away. ...more
Kelly Lacey
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Sometimes a book comes along that is so clever that when you finish it you feel like you have been hit on the head with a brick, like in the cartoons you watched as a child. As you exhale a WOW and sit for a few minutes in the stunned awe. Replaying your favourite parts over and over in your head. A fantastic place to be may I say, it doesn’t happen a lot. So when it does, the book is truly magnificent.

The Tattoo Thief is a debut novel by Alison Belsham. Set in Brighton, England. We meet two ke
Colette Lamberth
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Removing tattooed skin with the victim still alive is definitely an original and rather gruesome method for a killer. I can only wonder at where the author got their inspiration from but it made for a good read. I didn’t care much for any of the police officers and they had a bit of a tv cop feel to them. Surely a DI should be delegating more. The bitchiness of the relationship between Rory and Francis seemed about right though. I was surprised at how much I liked Marni and she was definitely th ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tattoo Thief is a unique police procedural with an interesting premise, albeit not one for the faint of heart and weak of stomach!

The story has a gruesome opening and – be warned – is stomach-churning at times throughout. The killer’s narration is creepy and grim. From the start intriguing questions are raised about Marni’s backstory and her relationship with her ex-husband, Thierry, and the police.

I must admit that, to start with, I didn’t really find any of the characters particularly like
Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Wow this was very fast paced - I read the book in two sittings!

Original plotline but I expected more plottwists and the murderer wasn't that surprising to me. I also think that the characters were a bit flat. I wanted to know more about them, especially about the past of Mardi.

Because of all those reasons, I don't think that I will read the sequel. However, I definitely recommend this book if you want a fast and entertaining read! Keep in mind that the story has a lot of gory details th
Jayne Catherine pinkett
Just finished. Very gruesome in places but goodness me I couldn't put it down ...more
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book pleasantly surprised me!
I was a little curious, as a tattoo artist myself, about how the book would portray the ‘’tattoo scene’’ and everything surrounding it, and I must say it didn’t disappoint. Easy to read, but captivates your attention. A very nice read!
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. It was like I was in the book while reading. Written very vividly with a lot of details. Loved the plot, started reading the book and did not want to stop! I want more inspector sullivan ^^
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you’re a regular visitor to then you will know that I like my reads to err on the darker side of fiction. In fact, I would go as far as saying, the darker – the better, for me! So I was immediately drawn to this book following the mention of ‘flaying’ in the blurb. But there was more to it than that. Yes, it sounded a little on the gruesome side but it is also about something that I find utterly fascinating. Tattoos. Now, I don’t have any tattoos, nor am I brave enough to go o ...more
Kelly Van Damme
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Tattoo Thief is a chilling thriller featuring a very likeable DI and his very annoying boss, a kick-ass (and yes, you can take that literally) female tattoo artist and her French ex-husband / womaniser / tattoo artist, Pepper the dog, a koi fish and many other tattoos, the Yakuza (if only by name), a tattoo collector AND a tattoo thief (go figure!). And how does one steal tattoos, you ask? Well, evidently by assaulting the tattooed person, flaying them and curing their tattooed skin. Yup, th ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Tattoo Thief is one of those books that will really get under your skin…sorry I couldn’t resist! It is true though, I really struggled to put this book down and was walking round my house with kindle in hand permanently. It is a really fast paced, intriguing tale and the action kicks off early doors when Marni (tattoo artist) discovers a mutilated body in a dumpster. After phoning this in to the police anonymously she soon becomes deeply involved in the case as it becomes obvious there is a ...more
Susan Hampson
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved how very different this story was. Yes it is very dark and detailed but the victims were only seen as the frames for the beauty that they held, the unique tattoos. The story is told through a number of characters, Marni a tattoo artist herself who found the first victim, D.I. Francis Sullivan who heads the case, Rory who works with Sullivan and the killer.
The story dips back and forth in the killer’s mind to the past and never quite being good enough and so now there is so much to prove.
Thoroughly enjoyable crime-thriller set in good ole' Brighton. Plenty of noir elements to this book, and some gloriously graphic scenes about flaying (so definitely not for the faint of heart).
The characters were well written, and with a strong female lead, and you do get a real sense of tension as the protagonists try to catch the killer.
It certainly isn't for everyone as it is rather dark and unsettling in parts, but the general premise, character and world-building is very good.

An advanced
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