St. Martin’s Paperbacks
ISBN-13: 978-1250860088; 304 pages
December 27, 2022
“Everything old was new again.”
Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke is the first in the Record Shop Mystery series and packs quite the cozy mystery punch. A dead body found in a storage closet during the grand opening celebration of Sip & Spin Records in Cedar River, Texas, gets the mystery ball rolling faster than a record turntable in turbo mode. Solving the murder of a young girl turns into quite the sleuthing quagmire for the three Jessup sisters, who are reopening the family vinyl record business that started way back in the ‘60s. Twenty-eight-year-old Juniper “Juni” Jessup and her two older sisters, Tansy and Maggie, have invested everything into the record shop and are ready to take advantage of the resurgence of vinyl record mania and the small town’s close proximity to Austin, Texas.
Family is at the heart of Vinyl Resting Place, and when Uncle Calvin becomes a murder suspect and then disappears, the sisters are determined to find him and clear his name. Unfortunately, figuring out the truth becomes quite complicated and daunting. As Juni and her sisters start asking questions, clues and more questions start stacking up higher than a tower of classic vinyl records in mint condition. Small town hijinks never disappoint, and Juni’s high school flame, Beau Russell, and her best childhood friend, Teddy Garza, add plenty of humorous interaction and even a romantic spark or two. Add in a bit of jealous rivalry, and the story sings a siren song to readers who like a bit of flirty romance mixed in with all the murder and mystery.
As cozy mysteries go, Vinyl Resting Place meets all the criteria and includes a unique flair. While all three sisters have varied styles and personalities, Juni is completely extra, with her Doc Martins and Chucks, music artist t-shirts, and adult-size pedal trike that she uses to get around town. As the main character in this first-person narrative, Juni is flawed yet endearing and an absolute glitter bomb of a protagonist.
Texas is a prominent character in this engaging mystery, with Whataburger and BBQ on the menu, cowboy hats and boots for every occasion, and that charming Texas drawl. As a bonus, Cedar River is close enough to Austin to soak up some of that weird vibe for which the capital of the Lone Star State is known.
Olivia Blacke delivers an alluring and quite detailed mystery. Its music-themed backdrop and well-developed characters make it a must-have for readers looking for a family-friendly yet still highly captivating murder mystery, complete with a hint of romance, twists and secrets, and a good old-fashioned vinyl record store with a delightful coffee nook. Despite the mainly investigative tone and minimal high-speed action and danger, Vinyl Resting Place is intriguing and well-crafted. The crime remains a riddle all the way to the end, providing readers and the characters with plenty of opportunities to guess at possible culprits. While all loose ends are eventually tied up, the ending leaves the door wide open for the next enchanting story in the Record Shop Mystery series.
OLIVIA BLACKE (she/her), author of the Record Shop Mysteries, beginning with Vinyl Resting Place, and the Brooklyn Murder Mysteries (Killer Content and No Memes of Escape), finally found a way to put her criminology degree to good use by writing quirky, unconventional, character-driven cozy mysteries. Olivia is a little nerdy, a lot awkward, and just the right amount of weird. She is a recovering ex-Texan who resides with her husband, Potassium, and Baileycakes, their roly-poly rescue puggle. When not writing, reading, or spending way too much time on social media, Olivia enjoys amigurumi crochet, scuba diving, collecting tattoos, watching hockey, and baking dog cookies. She wants to be a unicorn when she grows up.