Review by C.J. Bunce
For fans of Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham’s first tie-in novel Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, previously reviewed here at borg.com, the next novel in the paperback series will get readers even closer to the Veronica of the TV series. Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell, is a darker mystery, a hard-boiled detective story, straight out of the hard case crime series of the past. Mr. Kiss and Tell also continues to show the growth of Veronica, now a 29-year-old with responsibilities after she ditched her law career for a P.I. agency gig with her dad.
Nobody knows Veronica better than creator Rob Thomas. The banter, the snarky quips, the Whedon-esque pop culture references all make for a story that is not only consistent with the TV series and 2014 crowdfunded movie, but it remains fresh, taking Veronica into new territory. Thomas and Graham waste no time, providing a powerful beginning: A junk dealer happens upon what could be a mannequin as he is roaming the city. Only it’s a woman, barely alive, and we’ll learn she’s from a family that will be familiar to Veronica Mars fans. Veronica is hired by a hotel to prove that a hotel employee was not the attacker and rapist that left the young woman for dead. But if he didn’t do it, then who did?
Veronica has a long history with solving rape cases, cases that became almost a hallmark of her series. This case will take her into the seedy parts of society, with Veronica barreling into danger reminding us that, however well-intentioned, she often makes poor choices. Here she ends up in a hotel with a prostitute and her pimp–a giant thug who makes Veronica an offer that could end her case quickly–but it’s also an offer she should refuse. But will she? Has she changed at all?
She’s also still living with Air Force pilot boyfriend Logan Echolls. What do they really have in common and what hope do they have of forging a future together? Is the life of an armed services wife the future for Veronica Mars? And how will the new bonds forged with San Diego cop Leo D’Amato factor into the future of her sleuthing in the city of Neptune?
Other plot threads weave into the novel: Ex-con Weevil is pressured into suing the sheriff’s office… A political heat is underway that will hopefully result in the ousting of Sheriff Lamb… And Veronica’s dad has more cases to work through keeping him busy. Even her best pal Mac gets some backstory fleshed out more than ever before. It’s Mac’s story that we resisted in The Thousand Dollar Tan Line–Thomas’s choice to stick Mac as Veronica’s IT sidekick working for her in the P.I. gig is a waste of a character who seemed destined to run Microsoft one day.
Ultimately it’s fun reading about all these characters together again, and Thomas and Graham get it right. If you want to know what happens to Veronica after the events of the Veronica Mars movie, there’s only one series to turn to.
You can pick up Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell here at Amazon.com.