Olivia Blacke’s Vinyl Resting Place is the first book in The Record Shop Mysteries, and also my first ever “cozy” mystery. If they’re all like this, I’m in!
In Vinyl Resting Place, Juniper Jessup is looking for something new. And maybe, something familiar.
After getting laid off from her cool tech job in the Pacific Northwest, she sells her car and moves back to her little hometown in Central Texas. More specifically, she comes home to Cedar River. It’s a little but outside of Austin ,and maybe a little bit outside of time.
Juniper and her two sisters have decided to go into business together. They’re going to re-open the defunct family record store. They’re also going to add a little coffee shop to the place. The Jessup sisters, their mom, and their wild Uncle Curtis are ready to go all in on the store. And the grand opening party is going great! Until they find a dead body in the supply closet. Then a family members turns up missing. That sudden disappearance feels like bad timing to the family, and also to the police!
The Jessups have to figure out who the real killer is before their missing family members takes the blame, or worse.
I’m not sure how these cozy mysteries usually go plot-wise, but I thought the twists and turns in this mystery were pretty good! Olivia Blacke has a criminology degree, and it shows. More importantly, the characters and the setting are all…well, cozy. I live a little outside of Austin myself (though I did grow up there) and I often work in towns like Cedar River, so it was a lot of fun to live in a kinder, gentler version of Central Texas. Juniper Jessup also is an alum of the University of Texas like me, so having campus receive a cameo was fun.
(By the way, Cedar River isn’t technically a real town, but it sure feels like one. I asked the author which little town Cedar River is based on, and she told me it was a little bit “Cameron, Wells Branch, Georgetown, Dripping Springs, Brenham, Rockdale, Milam, Rosebud, Salado…”)
I recommend the book to lovers of cozy mysteries and/or small town Texas.
PS In honor of the record store in the book, and of Texas, I should mention that I listened to Bob Wills’ “The Living Legend” and sipped on HEB’s San Antonio blend coffee while writing this review.
PPS I listened to the audiobook version while I was driving around Texas. This was a fun way to read the book, but I do think the accents were more Georgia than Texas. But I’m no expert.
PPPS A new book in the series comes out this summer.