Title: Earnest Ink
Author: Alex Hall
Publisher: NineStar Press
Publication Date: 14 October 2019
Format: eBook - EPUB
Source: ARC via NetGalley
While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.
Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.
When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.
Earnest Ink was a mostly engaging read. I liked the idea behind the story: tattoos coming to life with magic. Hemingway was a fun character, and I would like to see more from him, and his tattooing, in the future as I think there are more layers to explore there. Where the book fell down a little for me was the pacing. The murder mystery element of the story didn't properly kick off until about a third in. Once it did, the pace picked up and things moved along nicely, but it felt like a long time to get there. This was a 3.5 star read for me. There were a few issues, but I still found the characters and story enjoyable and would read more from this author in the future.
I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.