‘The Devil Has Tattoos’ Offers Funny, Thrilling Ride

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5 out of 5 Stars

**Review Contains Some Spoilers**

The devil drinks coffee and has tattoos, and he can get both easily in Branson Falls now, much to the chagrin of many of its residents. Two new stores in the town have the more religious residents up in arms.

The repeal of a morality law is the last straw for some, and they blame the loosened morals – especially the new tattoo shop – for a recent string of random robberies. All of this, along with her confusing love life and her new puppy, is keeping newspaper editor Kate Saxee on her toes.

The third installment of the Kate Saxee series is filled to the brim with the small town quirky charm that made the first two books hard to put down. With everything from superheroes to casserole bandits, this book was as good as the first. The second installment suffered a lull that often happens in series, meaning I always give them another chance as long as it’s still enjoyable. Besides, they almost always get me with the romance angle.

I’m a sucker for a love triangle, and if you were hoping for a resolution to Kate’s steamy dilemma, the only thing that happens is it gets steamier and more complicated. I’ve read several cozy mystery series, and this one has toed the line on dreaminess. They’re usually more hallmark channel and this one edges onto lifetime or even HBO. I don’t mind it, even though I prefer clean romances. They don’t really cross the line and I’d I’m already invested; I’ll forgive a lot.

Ford has definitely sharpened her mystery writing skills in this third book. The twist at the end was not obvious. While I had my suspicions at one point, they were so unbelievable that I disregarded them. So an excellent misdirect.

Even though she focused on her mystery, she didn’t sacrifice her character development. We met several new characters, the quirky characters don’t disappoint, and the small town culture continues to strain Kate’s worldly views. And, of course, Kate’s mom is as lovable and zany as ever.

While the story clearly had a message, Ford conveyed it in a far less preachy and/or judgmental tone than in her second book. She returned to the fun, enjoyable experience that was her first book. Overall, she’s evolved her writing, character development, and mystery chops all to the next level.

I remain pleased that an ad on my Kindle introduced me to the series and look forward to when Ms. Ford takes us on more adventures with our editor/amateur sleuth and further explores the culture of this small fictional town in Utah.

If you’ve wandered here before you made it to the previous two books, you can find my reviews of the first two installments below:

“The Devil Drinks Coffee: Can’t Take Just One Sip of “The Devil Drinks Coffee”
“The Devil Wears a Tank Top.” https://amorinacarlton.com/a-kate-saxee-mystery-review/