Book Review: Mr. Kiss and Tell

Mr. Kiss and Tell
Veronica Mars #2
by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Mystery

When a woman who was attacked at the ritzy Neptune Grand blames an employee of the hotel, Veronica is hired to prove that she is lying. Veronica, of course, prefers to take the case further and find out who really was behind the attack, if the woman was indeed lying. However, as she starts to peel back the layers to this case, she’s reminded that things aren’t always what they seem and that justice often takes a back seat to apathy.

I liked this book a little more than the previous, for various reasons. The main one is the inclusion of the side plot involving Weevil’s arrest from the end of the Veronica Mars movie. But I also feel like the main mystery plot held my attention a bit more. Maybe the set-up resembles mysteries Veronica has gone after before, which can make it feel a little overdone at first, but it didn’t bother me as much as it might others. It was interesting to see Veronica questioning certain choices when she looks around and sees what might have been–both in her personal life and in her career. The story spans several months, just like the over-arcing mysteries do in the show, but instead of being able to see the day-to-day cases she works on (because it’d be too much for one book), we just see gaps in time. What bothered me, though, is that Veronica let her obsession on this case, even after it was officially closed with the client, lead her to ignore everything else, which isn’t really like her. Plus, her response to being caught in a few different compromising situations in her investigating also seems a bit off from what we know of her.

Regarding the Weevil plot, I loved it. Keith and Cliff working together to try to bring down Sheriff Dan Lamb felt like all the old show magic coming back. And even more so, in the end, there’s no easy victory, no sugary outcome, not even always a “good guy” or “bad guy” left standing in the end. I even liked the fact that Sheriff Don Lamb, for all his corrupt and just plain mean ways, was remembered for that one decent thing he did.

While the audiobook for the previous book in the series was narrated by Kristen Bell, that was not the case with this book, so I read it myself. I still liked it a lot, and because I’ve seen the show so much, had no trouble imagining the characters as they were portrayed in the show. Whether or not this book would hold up for people who’ve never seen the show, I can’t say for sure, though I’d guess probably not. I’m not sure it’s meant to, either. For fans of the show, though, I definitely recommend this book and the one preceding it.

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Book Review: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
Veronica Mars #1
by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
read by Kristen Bell

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Mystery

Picking up soon after the Veronica Mars movie, which in turn is set about 10 years after the same-name television show, we have a brand new, stand-alone mystery. During Spring Break in Neptune, two young women go missing from the same house, on different nights. Veronica is hired to look for them, but she doesn’t expect to be confronted with a face from the past. With the help of some old friends, Veronica is determined to find the missing women. But will she be too late?

As one who has seen the show several times, this is just about everything I’d want from a book continuation. The only real downside is that a book can’t span as long of a time as an episodic show does, and so the mystery, characters involved, and side plots can’t be developed like they were in the show, which is what made each larger mystery (i.e. each season) have such a big punch at the end. However, the rest of what I love about the show is here–Veronica’s wit and sass, Keith’s very existence, a twisty plot with a dangerous conclusion, and a whole cast of friends and frenemies to help or hinder Veronica.

For Veronica Mars fans, I would say this is definitely worth a read. And I highly recommend the audiobook, as it is narrated by Kristen Bell herself, which notches the whole thing up to as close to a life-action show/movie as you can get, especially considering that the show is narrated by Veronica along the way too (though this is in 3rd-person, a minor detail). And Kristen Bell does a spectacular job with the voices of her once-co-workers. For one who has seen the show a lot, it’s so easy to hear Wallace, Keith, Mac, even Cliff coming out of the “pages.”

If you haven’t watched any Veronica Mars but are interested in this book, I would first ask why you’re not just starting with the show. But as for whether or not you’d enjoy this book or if you’d be lost, it’s hard to say from my perspective. Things that happened in the movie months before that affect the book are explained well enough, I think, but that also means the movie is spoiled in some parts. I do think that some of the larger characters are represented well enough for a newbie to get a feel for them, but smaller ones, like Weevil, definitely shine more if you already know them. That’s not a fault with the book, though, because he’s simply a smaller character in this story. So if you’re interested at all, I’d recommend the show first (the first 3 seasons), then the movie, then this book and its follow-up, which I haven’t read yet but will. And then maybe the 4th season…maybe.

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!