B O O K R E V I E W :: Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke

In Vinyl Resting Place, Juni Jessup and her two sisters are excited to open Sip and Spin, a record store and coffee shop in their hometown just outside of Austin Texas. Almost everyone in town is at their grand opening. It is a perfect night with music, drinks, and a taco truck until Juni finds a dead body in the store’s supply closet. Juni’s, ex-boyfriend Beau, now a detective, identifies her uncle Calvin as the prime suspect since the victim was holding one of his business cards in her hand. Juni and her family don’t believe that Calvin could do anything so horrific.

When he is arrested, Juni and her sisters unquestionably put up the record store as collateral for bail. They are as surprised as the police when he skips town shortly after his release. Juni knows there must be a good reason for his flight. Regardless, if they don’t exonerate him and make it safe for him to return to Cedar River, he will forfeit bail and the sisters will lose the record store they’ve worked so hard to build. Juni uses all the tools in her arsenal to find out who really killed the woman in the closet but as she gets closer to answers, the killer proves how far they will go to keep the truth from coming to light.

I am always interested in cozy mysteries, but I specifically requested this one because its record store setting. George loves vinyl and we sometimes listen to records together The book includes references to records, different genres of music and the Austin music scene, which I really enjoyed. Juni has just returned to Cedar River after working in Oregon, so the book delivers interesting interactions with people she hasn’t seen in years—including ex-boyfriends!

The book also has all the elements that make cozies enjoyable: a likable amateur sleuth, an animal companion, in this case a stray cat, and an interesting setting and mystery. Blacke included several potential avenues of investigation that had me guessing. It’s not as saccharin as some cozies, which is a plus for me.

A few details took me out of the narrative. Juni and her sisters put the record store together in just a few weeks (my brain is interrupting and saying no business can become established so quickly). Uncle Calvin, besides being family, seemed like a bit of a jerk, so it was hard for me to understand the risk the sisters took in using their store for collateral. Also, Juni didn’t seem interested in the identity of the victim for an unusually long period.

With winning characters, a fun location, and a hotbed of entangled relationships, Vinyl Resting Place provides a strong foundation for this new series. I will certainly read future books!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for a gifted copy of the book!