Monday, April 21, 2014

Genre-ally Speaking: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

Title: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1)
Author: Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: March 25th, 2014
Read: April 2014
Where It Came From: Library
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4 Quippy Comebacks

I was both excited and a bit apprehensive going into this one—tie-in novels can be a little iffy, but it’s got Rob Thomas’ name on it so it MUST be good, right? Right…? Now that I’ve finished it (in about a day, no less), I’m happy to say right once more, this time in firm agreement. Mysteries have been my drug of choice for most of my reading years, and though I haven’t read many lately, I still love a good one. And this one was! To be certain, if you haven’t watched the Veronica Mars TV series and movie you may be a little lost—background information on main characters and places isn’t covered too heavily, since, let’s face it: if you’re reading this book, you’re probably already a V-Mars fan. The mystery itself can be understood and followed by Marshmallow and civilian alike, but the nuances of character relationships and events preceding this book will probably be lost on those not already familiar with Neptune and its denizens.

But let’s assume you are a fan. All of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) characters make appearances and there are shout-outs to show-related things, but this book does not depend solely on nostalgia for its success. Instead, it firmly moves the V-Mars story forward, picking up shortly after the events of the recent movie. Veronica is still dealing with her dad’s disapproval of her choice to become a P.I. rather than a lawyer, and with the hardships of having a boyfriend overseas for the next six months. Just when she’s starting to worry about the electricity getting shut off at Mars Investigations HQ, she gets hired by the Neptune Chamber of Commerce to investigate the disappearance of a spring breaker co-ed (because the bad press is cramping the influx of tourist dollars, of course). The mystery deepens when another girl goes missing, some unexpected characters turn up, and Veronica finds herself in hot water before she gets her man (or woman. Or multiple people. Or bear. I’m not sayin’.).

I enjoyed the mystery—it held my interest, and kept me guessing about what was really going on. It was neither too outlandish nor too normal, containing the perfect blend of reality and crazy-shit-happens-don’t-it. I only called one tiny part of it, and tore through the pages to get to the bottom of the rest. (As it turns out, the only thing that ended up not making terribly much sense to me was the book’s title.) The trademark quippy snark is there is full force, which made me so happy! It was easy to hear the dialogue in the voices of the characters I’ve come to know and love from the show, and it was just as easy to picture them in the scenes described in the book. I’ve heard some people were a little bummed that there wasn’t much Logan, but I thought it worked and showed that the relationship is not without obstacles (because of course it isn’t!). I could’ve gone for a little more Weevil, especially considering where the movie left him, but I guess that can be picked up more in future novels. Overall, solid mystery, good writing, great characters we already know and love, just in a new format. When does the next one come out?

Oh, also, for those who may be missing Veronica’s first-person narration: Kristen Bell narrates the audiobook, and from the clip I listened to, it’s all a nerdy Marshmallow would dream it to be. If I had an Audible subscription, I would be on that like leather on a PCH-er. The series liiiiiives!

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