A teenage girl, brutally murdered and left in a trash dumpster; a young man, killed in a firebombing attack; a soccer mom, shot in the living room of her home; vicious thugs whose job is to protect a suspected criminal. Just another week on rotation for LAPD detective Joel Jovanic...until he uncovers a connection between the disturbing series of vicious crimes and Annabelle Giordano, who is in the temporary custody of his soulmate, Claudia Rose.
Annabelle is a troubled and traumatized teen who suffered the tragic loss of her mother and later witnessed the brutal murder of a beloved mentor. Neglected by a father who scarcely acknowledges her existence, it’s little wonder the girl makes some disastrous life choices.
But she has one staunch ally in Claudia, a highly regarded forensic graphologist who digs into the darkest of human secrets through the study of handwriting. When Annabelle involves herself with a questionable tattoo artist she re-opens a door to the grim side of life and goes down a path that could get her killed. A distraught Claudia will do anything to save her, even if it means jeopardizing her relationship with Jovanic.
After reading and loving the first three books in the series, I somehow missed the next two books but happily it didn't matter. Inkslingers Ball had the same familiar characters and even though aspects of the stories from the books I missed were referenced, I don't feel that I lost anything by not reading them. Now don't get me wrong, I'm still going to go back and greedily read every last word because I love a fresh, well planned mystery.
What I also love about the book is that the characters have progressed. There's nothing more frustrating in a series than the characters doing the same things over again. I'm talking to you Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum)! There's been growth for Annabelle and movement in the relationship between Claudia and Joel. It's perfect.
I highly recommend series or even just this book for anyone who loves mysteries that are a step above cozies.