A Fatal Groove By Olivia Blacke: Review/Giveaway/Interview

Jul 29, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

This week we are reviewing the latest Record Shop Mystery by Olivia Blacke, and we have a fun interview with Olivia. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

A Fatal Groove: A Record Shop Mystery By Olivia Blacke
Review by Kathleen Costa

“The best part about working for the family business is that they can’t fire me…” Then again, “…I can’t ever quit.” — Juniper Jessup, Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke

Juniper Jessup is her full name, but she’s mostly called Juni by friends and family, and the failure of her career with a tech company, revealed a silver lining. She returned home to Cedar River, Texas, and with her two older siblings,Tansy and Magnolia (It’s Maggie!), they revitalized the family’s record shop that had closed down in 2005 when vinyl lost its popularity. The three sisters took the same storefront, added a coffee bar, and labeled their new venture Sip & Spin Records. They even have a store mascot that, despite being a male white and orange tabby, was named Daffodil to keep up the family tradition of naming members after flowers, but calling him “Daffy” is a bit more appropriate. What isn’t appropriate was finding a dead body in the shop and being accused of murder! But, Juni found the killer, saved the store’s reputation, reconnected with a couple of romantic options, so all is well … fingers crossed!

A Fatal Groove Earns 5/5 Coffee Shots … Clever, Engaging Gem!
Sip & Spin Records is always on the front lines for special activities, community gatherings, and of course, the town’s crown jewel event: the Bluebonnet Festival. The sisters set up a DJ station to spin a wide variety of favorite tunes and a coffee bar to serve their specialty roasted coffees. Mayor Bob Bobbert was impatient about having to wait for a regularly brewed coffee remarking it would be faster if they’d agreed to use the single-serve coffees he’d suggested. Juni, of course, was an emphatic “no way!” He’d been mayor of Cedar River for well over a decade, often unopposed, and he wasn’t much for actively promoting progress and improvement; he literally seemed to say very little and do even less. So, it was odd when he quickly grabbed his coffee and raced off making excuses he had business to complete.

With some time before the opening ceremony, Juni volunteered to return to the shop to pick up some extra items for their stand. She thought it the perfect opportunity to smooth things over with the mayor by taking him his favorite “froufrou” coffee. Besides, he was expected to be the MC, and since Juni hated public speaking, she wanted to make sure he made it to the festival. However, when she arrives at his office, she finds him dead with a Sip & Spin’s to-go cup in his hand. Oh, this is going to be all sorts of trouble!

What really makes one a fan of a series? Is it just the murder mystery, gathering of clues, and making an arrest, maybe with some danger involved? Is it how attached to or identifiable the characters are for you? Or is it the theme, the career, or the fascinating facts woven throughout? In Olivia Blacke’s Record Shop Mystery series, it’s all of the above making for a “couldn’t put down” reading experience!

Blacke’s second book included a clever murder mystery, a somewhat karmic victim, an annual digging contest, and a seventy-year-old bank robbery with a missing million dollars. The investigation done by the amateurs was realistic, not always circumventing law enforcement, although enough to warrant a scolding or two. There’s a few suspects to challenge my inner Sherlock, and a surprise arrest with just the right amount of peril. I really enjoy the entertaining multigenerational group of smart characters, a tight sister dynamic, family issues with their mother dating again, and a romantic triangle that have readers lining up for Team Beau or Team Marco … Team Beau here! The reenergized interest in albums was an element that first sparked my interest since I grew up with records; I was inspired to get out my favorite Boz Scaggs, Billy Joel, and Beach Boys for some summer fun! The names of and flavors for their brews had me trying to concoct my own coffee treat to beat this summer heat: Brew a French roast, add cream and a drizzle of maple syrup, and serve over ice … it’s my Vermont Snowball!

A Record Shop Mystery
Vinyl Resting Place (2022) KRL Review HERE
A Fatal Groove (2023)

Be a Big Olivia Blacke Fan! Olivia Blacke has taken her background in criminology and used it to enrich her cozy mysteries. Along with this new Record Shop Mystery series spinning the trials and tribulations of Juniper Jessup, she writes the Brooklyn Murder Mystery series with Louisiana native Odessa Dean who finds herself living in New York. Could this fish be more out of the water?

Facebook: Author Olivia Blacke
Website: Olivia Blacke
Instagram @oliviablackeauthor

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Interview with Olivia Blacke:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Olivia: I’ve been “writing” since before I could actually write. When I was little, I used to scribble out stories and would even type them up on the typewriter. Of course, I was too small to read or write so they were mostly gibberish. I like to think I’ve gotten better at the craft, now that I know my ABCs!

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

Olivia: My debut cozy mystery is Killer Content, which came out in 2021. In Killer Content, spunky Louisiana native Odessa Dean has three months in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg to make new friends, explore all that NYC has to offer, and solve a murder. While Odessa is waiting tables and serving craft beer at Untapped Books & Café, her co-worker plunges to her death in the background of a flash mob proposal video gone viral. Determined to prove that her fellow waitress’s death is no accident, Odessa embarks on an investigation that meanders through Brooklyn, getting to know its quirky residents as she searches for the killer.

Olivia Blacke

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense and if not, what else have you written?

Olivia: Before I started writing cozies, I wrote very dark urban fantasy, pretty much the opposite of cozy! However, I do have a new series coming from Minotaur in the fall of 2024, starting with Afterlife, a darkly humorous supernatural mystery about a recently deceased ghost who teams up with the new (living) roommate of her apartment to solve a series of apparently unconnected murders. Afterlife combines my love of urban fantasy and my love of mysteries.

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?

Olivia: In the Record Shop Mysteries, sisters Juni, Tansy, and Maggie resurrect Sip & Spin Records, their family’s vinyl record shop/coffee café in the small town of Cedar River outside of Austin, Texas (the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World). Together, the sisters serve up the coolest music and the hottest music-themed beverages – and occasionally solve a murder.

The series is inspired a small shop my grandparents ran in Texas. They didn’t sell music and coffee, and as far as I know, they never solved any murders, but some spark of that family business lives on in Sip & Spin Records.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to experience from your work?

Olivia: I read as an escape, so I write as an escape, too. One thing I love about cozies is that the bad guy gets their comeuppance when an average person just like us saves the day. Justice always prevails. Particularly when it feels like none of that ever happens in real life (or in the news), it’s comforting to find a happy ending between the pages of a good book.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can?

Olivia: I have other commitments, so I’m only able to write on the weekends and evenings. I need to make the most of the time I have (like all writers!) so I’m very careful about blocking off time for drafting or editing.

KRL: What is your ideal time to write?

Olivia: I always get inspired at the most inconvenient times! Luckily, I keep notepads everywhere (even in the shower) so when I do have a block of time to write, I haven’t lost anything important.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Olivia: I am a dedicated plotter/outliner. Since I have limited time to write, I need to know what’s next. I do deviate from that plan a lot, but it helps keep me on track.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Olivia: Publishing is strange and difficult, and there are so many different, valid paths to publication. One of the hardest hurdles is that writing is an art, but publishing is a business. I went the traditional route, and it is challenging, but it’s also one hundred percent worth it.

KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Olivia: I was in the process of querying agents and right after I hit submit, I realized that I had used the wrong title. I was mortified. I wanted to crawl into a cave and never emerge again. I withdrew the query and to my complete embarrassment, I got an email from the agent seconds later asking why I’d withdrawn, so I had to admit my mistake. Ultimately, they were one of the agents that offered me representation, so I learned that not only are agents, editors, booksellers. and publishers human too, but also, even a glaring, mortifying error won’t necessarily tank a book!

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Olivia: I went to a book reading and signing of one of my favorite authors at a huge bookstore. I got there early and got a seat right up front. When I went through the signing line, this author asked me why I was on my phone during the whole event and that’s when I realized that me taking notes on my phone – on the front row, right in their eyeline – looked like I was busy texting the whole time they were talking. We both got a good laugh out of it, but now I’ve very careful when I’m in the audience to only pull out my phone to take pictures, and when I’m on the other side of the table, I don’t make assumptions about what someone might be doing on their phone when for all I know, they’re preordering my next book!

KRL: What are your future writing goals?

Olivia: I want to keep writing and keep delivering fun stories. I’ve got so many books just waiting to be written and my goal is to be able to find the time to write them and the audience to enjoy them.

KRL: Who are your writing heroes?

Olivia: I’ve had the good fortune to meet quite a few famous people – actors, politicians, musicians – but it’s when I meet writers that I get completely tongue-tied. Even as my collection of signed books threatens to overwhelm my bookshelves, I will always be a fan-girl when meeting authors.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Olivia: In A Fatal Groove, Juni Jessup and her older sisters Maggie and Tansy, run a vinyl records shop/coffee café called Sip & Spin Records. In order to make this as realistic as possible, while writing, I listened to a wide variety of wonderful music and drank as much coffee as possible. Research is brutal, y’all.

KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?

Olivia: I can’t get enough of Only Murders in the Building.

KRL: Have you any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Olivia: Write and read, as much as possible and as often as possible. Don’t edit yourself to death. The second you finish a book, start working on the next one.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Olivia: I’m a little over six foot tall, which always seems to take people by surprise when we meet in person.

KRL: Do you have any pets?

Olivia: I’ve got a roly-poly puggle that wants to play anytime I open my laptop. I didn’t know what a puggle was when I first met her at the rescue (half pug, half beagle, all attitude) but now Baileycakes is the center of my world.

KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?

Olivia: Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity!

Enter to win a copy of A Fatal Groove by Olivia Blacke by making a comment below about a potpourri of topics: (1) an anecdote about visiting a themed festival, (2) your favorite album cover, okay CD for you youngsters, or (3) are you a coffee purist or one to flavor it up?, or simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “groove,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 5, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I am definitely not a coffee purist. Love my French vanilla flavoring!

  2. I’ll have to go with Sgt Pepper’s as my favorite album cover.

  3. I did visit a Renaissance Fair once. A singer dropped to one knee and serenaded me in front of a crowd. I was so embarrassed because I’m pretty shy. It was secretly really fun though. Thank you for the chance to win. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  4. When the family dynamics is good, it’s
    more fun to read the book. this one
    sounds great. thanks

  5. I don’t care for coffee but I love a good cozy mystery. Thanks for the chance.


  6. Love to drink hazelnut coffee

    • I drink my coffee with cream only. Olivia Black is a new author to me. Books sounds like an interesting story.

  7. Favorite album/CD cover has to be Jann Arden’s Living Under June. It’s so simple, just a self-portrait, but it fits the mood of the album perfectly!

  8. I’ve been hearing a lot about this one!

  9. I went to a cherry festival in Montana recently. It didn’t have as many cherry themed items as I was hoping for. I like Jim Brickman’s piano music for listening.

  10. My favorite album cover is the KC & the Sunshine Band one that is white with the big rainbow. I always loved to pull that one out.

  11. We have a winner!


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