My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
First in a new series by Olivia Blacke, Vinyl Resting Place follows three sisters who discover that opening a family business can be murder.
When Juni Jessup and her sisters Tansy and Maggie put all their beans in one basket to open Sip & Spin Records, a record-slash-coffee shop in Cedar River, Texas, they knew there could be some scratches on the track, but no one was expecting to find a body deader than disco in the supply closet.
Family is everything to the Jessups, so when their uncle is arrested by Juni’s heartbreaking ex on suspicion of murder, the sisters don’t skip a beat putting Sip & Spin up for bail collateral. But their tune changes abruptly when Uncle Calvin disappears, leaving them in a grind. With their uncle’s freedom and the future of their small business on the line, it’s up to Juni and her sisters to get in the groove and figure out whodunit before the killer’s trail—and the coffee—goes cold.
Music and mocha seem like a blend that should be “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” but caught up in a murder investigation with her family and their life savings on the line, Juni wonders if she might be on the “Highway to Hell” instead.
I received a free copy from Tantor Audio and am voluntarily reviewing it.
Vinyl Resting Place caught my eye as it’s about a record shop run by three sisters. And that turned out to be my favorite part of this book. I liked reading about the three sister and also how all three of them get involved in the mystery. The record shop has to be closed early on because a murder and I was excited when it opened as it was so fun to read about the store and how Juni and her two sisters run it.
The mystery starts early on in the story as Juni finds a dead body in the shop’s closet while cleaning up after the opening party. Then her uncle gets arrested and becomes a suspect in the murder investigation, but after they get him out on bail he disappears. Juni and her sisters get involved trying to figure out this mystery. Unlike most cozies the focus isn’t mainly on who killed the dead women, but also on trying to find their uncle. I liked how the mystery took a different direction with finding a missing person as well as figuring out who is the murderer.
Where I struggled with the mystery is that it feels so slow and lacked progression throughout the book. My favorite type of mysteries are where it feels like the characters are getting closer and figuring out more things throughout the book and you can piece together who did it along the way. In this book there’s a lot of people they talk with and a lot of information they gather, but there were no breakthroughs or things falling on it’s place. The clues and information feel like a collection of loose pieces that don’t fit together or paint a clearer picture. Until the end. The last clue, clued me in and I managed to narrow my suspects down to two and one of them turned out to be the murder. I actually thought the twist of who the murderer was, was quite clever and made sort of sense too, although I didn’t figure out the motive. I wasn’t a fan of how Juni figures it out as it feels like she’s just guessing out loud and then accidentally figuring it out.
This book really focuses on Juni and her sisters. Juni is back home in Texas again after years spent working and living in another state. I liked seeing Cedar River through her eyes and experiencing how happy she was to be back home in Texas. I also thought the book conveyed the Texas setting well, at least as far as I can tell. I liked seeing how Juni interacted with her sisters and how close they were, but also the differences between them. Each of them is their own character and I thought the author did a good job differentiating them. I also liked how her sisters help her investigate the mystery.
There is a bit of romance as well and to be honest it didn’t work for me at all. Juni left Cedar River years ago after her boyfriend Beau broke up with her by text. now she’s back and he keeps showing up, wanting to talk. He doesn’t get the hint Juni doesn’t want to talk or maybe she’s not fully sincere there, I am not sure. I feel she will end up with him in the end, but I can’t see that happening yet. I thought Beau was rude and pushy and I disliked him every time he showed up. Then throughout the book it turns into a bit of a love triangle and that didn’t work for me either, although I do like the other guy more and hope she ends up with him.
I liked the narrator for this book. She did the different voices well and I liked how she narrated this book. It was pleasant to listen to this book and I am glad I decided to listen to this one.
To summarize: this was a mixed read for me, some parts that were really good and other parts didn’t work for me at all. I liked the set up with the three sisters running a record shop. The record shop was fun to read about and made for a good theme. I liked how each of the three sisters are very different, but they’re close too and the three of them investigate the mystery together. The focus of the mystery was at times more on figuring out where their uncle had gone than who killed the dead women and I thought this worked well. What didn’t work well for me was how slow the mystery felt, there are a lot of clues and information, but it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s like all the information piles up till the vital clue at the end which made me figure out who of 2 characters I thought was the murderer. One of those was indeed the murderer. The twist was kinda clever, although I didn’t like how Juni sort of accidentally figured it out when she starts accusing people. Juni and her sisters were likable and fun to read about. I didn’t like the romance, Beau was pushy and rude in my opinion and I didn’t like him. Then later on it turns into a love triangle instead and I didn’t really care for that either, although I liked the other guy better. I liked the narrator for this book and how she did the different voices. It was pleasant to listen to it.