Fresh on the heels of the theatrical release of the Veronica Mars movie (reviewed last week here at borg.com), series creator and movie director Rob Thomas (along with writer Jennifer Graham) have just released its sequel, Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. We’re reviewed several franchise tie-ins and this new novel is among the best. All that you think you’d need, the familiar characters, setting, and mood are here, but the most important is that inner monologue of Veronica. Who better to scribe the next story, the immediate aftermath of the events of the movie, and Veronica’s voice than Thomas?
If you’re not already a Veronica Mars fan, the novel has enough of a standalone detective story to make for a good entry point for the series that genre king Joss Whedon referred to as “Best. Show. Ever. Seriously, I’ve never gotten more wrapped up in a show I wasn’t making, and maybe even more than those… These guys know what they’re doing on a level that intimidates me. It’s the Harry Potter of shows.”
Picking up in the days after the events of the movie and taking place literally in March 2014, the novel allows Veronica and hacker pal Mac to use all the resources of social media and modern technologies to sleuth out two missing young women who vanished on Spring break in the seedy beach town of Neptune, California (as Piz says in the movie, there really is a Hellmouth under there). Veronica’s dad Keith is slowly recovering from his car wreck injuries. Logan is off on an aircraft carrier in the Navy. And Veronica is dead serious about partnering with her dad full-time at Mars Investigations, to his disappointment.
We get to catch up with a character from the series from Veronica’s distant past, as well as a new character that will likely play a key role in future stories for both Veronica and Keith.
Just as true to life as the original series was, Veronica’s relationship with her dad couldn’t be more believable. She really isn’t going back to New York to become a lawyer. And she lives at home again. As much as we’ve cheered Veronica on, as successful as she could be, like Michael Corleone they keep pulling her back to Neptune. And it turns out the success we hoped to see Mac achieve (shouldn’t she be CEO of a Google or Facebook by now?) is also on a backtrack, as she quits her prestigious job at Kane Software to work for Veronica as hacker and researcher. How could all of this have gone so wrong for these two? Rob Thomas’s choices, if disappointing for all who have cheered on these characters, does something important: it creates the possibility of future movies and novels.
If the Veronica Mars movie and this first Veronica Mars novel is any indication, then fans will be begging for even more Veronica Mars, no matter the format.
So what could be more fun than a sequel to the Veronica Mars movie already? How about an audiobook of the novel narrated by Veronica herself? That’s right, Kristen Bell serves as narrator of the audiobook version, so you get all her dialogue, again, written by the show’s creator and Veronica’s original voice, and Bell even voices the words of Weevil, Dick, and everyone else from the series. What more could a marshmallow want? Check out the first five minutes of the audiobook here:
Veronica Mars fans should consider Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line required reading, and after the preview of the audiobook it will be hard to pass that up, too. Considering the noir vibe of Veronica Mars, think of it like listening to an old-time radio show.