Book Review: Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke

First in a new series by Olivia Blacke, Vinyl Resting Place follows three sisters who discover that opening a family business can be murder. Read on for Doreen Sheridan's Review!

Juni Jessup has given up her entire adult life in Oregon in order to move back to Cedar River, Texas and reopen her family’s record shop with her older sisters, Tansy and Maggie. Sip & Spin Records adds a cafe to the once-shuttered family business, and looks surprisingly well-poised to make a killing even on its opening night. Most importantly to Juni and her sisters, the store revives fond family memories, and will hopefully be the birthplace of many more:

My grandparents use to own a record shop in this very storefront, back in vinyl’s original heyday. My mother and her brother, my uncle Calvin, grew up in this shop. And later, after Mom met our dad not six feet away from where I was standing right now, my sisters and I grew up here, too. By then, we sold cassette tapes and CDs, too, but eventually Napster and iTunes put us out of business.

 

Then the miracle happened. Millennials discovered vinyl. Between a wave of nostalgia and the desire to experience music without commercials, records were back in a big, big way. And my sisters and I were poised to make the most of it.

It helps that Cedar River is close to the music-loving city of Austin, and that Tansy’s knowledge of music, especially of local and up-and-coming bands, is encyclopedic. But the joy and promise of their opening night celebrations are horribly marred when the sisters get ready to clean up later that evening and discover a dead body in their supply closet.

After dutifully reporting their discovery, the sisters are astonished when their uncle Calvin is arrested for murder. Sure Calvin isn’t the most upstanding citizen they know, and is probably far more fond of pranks than is healthy for any one grown person, but he would never actually harm anyone, and certainly not murder them. He’s also not the best off financially, so when the subject of bail comes up, the Jessup women must put up their newly launched business as collateral against his freedom.

That wouldn’t be so bad–family is family, after all–except Uncle Calvin somehow gets rid of his ankle monitor and disappears. Now the police think he definitely killed the dead woman found in Sip & Spin’s supply closet. The business itself is in serious jeopardy of being foreclosed on unless Uncle Calvin shows up in time for his hearing. A desperate Juni realizes that it’s up to her not only to find her Uncle Calvin and bring him home, but to clear his name and figure out the identity of the real killer as well. 

Luckily, she isn’t alone in her quest for justice, as her sister Tansy is very ready to remind her:

[“]I appreciate that we’re all in on the business. We couldn’t do it without you. You’ve made bigger sacrifices than anyone.”

 

“That’s not true,” I said, shifting uncomfortably in my seat.

 

“Yes, it is. You gave up a promising career, your car, and your friends in Oregon. You moved halfway across the country and invested all your savings into the family business. We’re all in this together. Don’t feel like you have to do this alone.”

The sisters have each other’s backs as they figure out how to find Calvin and save the family record store. They’ll really need to trust and rely on each other though, when their search leads them to a killer who’s willing to do anything to protect an awful secret–even if it means killing again. 

This was a charming contemporary cozy mystery series that really draws you in with its depiction of the strong bond between the Jessups. They’re not the only terrific characters though, in this fun, large-hearted mystery that showcases a wonderfully diverse cast of believably flawed, modern people. The showdown with the murderer was also neatly done, and I absolutely know which side of the nascent love triangle I’m on (Team Teddy!) The music setting was also really great, making this a must-read for anyone who loves vinyl as much as they love cozies.

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