Veronica Mars is one of my favorite things. It started out as a tv series from 2004-2007 until it was cancelled. In 2014, a Kickstarter campaign brought a movie, which led to a mini web series and these two books, and people are still hoping for more. The television series follows Veronica, a high school student in Neptune, California, as she tries to solve the murder of her best friend while working with her father at his Private Investigation business, while the movie (and books) are set roughly 9 years after the series finale. These reviews contain spoilers for the show and the movie, but none for the books.
The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (VM, #1)
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Romance
Series: Veronica Mars #1
Published: March 25, 2014
Format: Paperback, 324 pages
Source: local library
Summary: Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.
Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person’s case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined. [Goodreads]
One of the best things about Veronica Mars is how rare it is to be able to predict the ending, and The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is no exception. The book picks up roughly two months after the events of Veronica Mars: The Movie, with Veronica living in Neptune, working at Mars Investigations while her father recovers from his car accident. Logan is still deployed, and one of Veronica’s best friends, Mac, is now working with Veronica. They’re struggling with money since no big cases have come in, but in a typical VM fashion, when one does, it’s a dangerous one.
In this book, Veronica is still trying to convince her father that she wants to stay in Neptune and that it’s the best thing for her (after leaving NYC), but it’s caused a sort of rift between them. The plot lines concerning her father’s approval are heavily stressed because of how important to Veronica he is. However, it is forced to take a spot on the back burner as she delves into the case and makes a connection to herself while investigating the missing girls. Like I said, completely unpredictable. Mac and Wallace are still important, but they aren’t as prominent as I would’ve liked. Weevil is back (with a bike), we get to have some Veronica/Logan moments, and as per usual, Dick Casablancas makes a funny and eye-roll-worthy appearance. The gang’s back, and it’s amazing.
The case that Veronica takes on is, of course, super sketchy. Girls disappearing from a fancy, rented mansion, connections with gangs, GUNS, the sheriff’s department is corrupted and totally hindering, and VM finds herself in many life-threatening situations. No one is surprised by that part. The pacing is great, the writing is the perfect blend of funny, heart warming (and heartbreaking), scary and risky. I don’t know how many plot twists there were, but it was totally worth it.
Mr. Kiss and Tell (VM, #2)
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Romance
Series: Veronica Mars #2
Published: January 20, 2015
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Source: local library
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Summary: The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman’s story.
The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why? [Goodreads]
The biggest twist in this book for me was who the victim was. She’s from way back in the tv series, and I was so glad Thomas gave the nod to one of the best minor characters. Mr. Kiss and Tell is set about 4 or 5 months after the first installment of the series, so a lot has changed. There are new lawsuits, a sheriff election, a funeral, a dog, and a whole lot of drama. The plot of this case (once most of the clues have been discovered, which is like 2/3 into the book) is not as exciting as the previous book, but it was still good, nonetheless. To me, this book seemed to focus more on relationship stuff, with more time to see how the characters interact after all this time. (I’d love to discuss it, but basically everything is a spoiler).
Mr. Kiss and Tell was not my favorite of the two books, but it is still really good. It wraps up nicely while leaving some things that could be elaborated on, if there was ever going to be a third book (I don’t think it will happen, but a girl can dream, right?).
FINAL: These books are great for anyone who loves Veronica Mars and wants to see more of the series/characters. Definitely check them out.