I enjoyed the first Veronica Mars novel more than I expected to, and this was also true of Mr. Kiss and Tell. Once again, Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham have brought one of my favorite characters back to life in a way that is fun to read and entirely consistent with the show.
If you’ve read the first one, there’s not too much to add. I found the mystery more engaging in this one, since it was a lot less convoluted. I also liked that Weevil’s story continued in this book.
When a young woman goes to the Neptune Grand one night for a drink, she’s found beaten and left for dead in a nearby field the next day. She has no memory of what happened. She left the hotel bar by way of the stairwell and the hotel cameras didn’t pick up anything after that.
Veronica is hired by the Neptune Grand’s liability department to resolve the woman’s suit against the hotel. She learns that the victim is actually Meg Manning’s younger sister, a young girl left with an abusive family in Season 2 after Meg dies and Duncan abducts their baby. But that’s not the story here, just a brief flashback. Still, Veronica feels responsible for Grace and wants to find out what happened, not just for the sake of the lawsuit.
There’s less snark in this book, and I was struck by Veronica as a more thoughtful, more mature adult – which I’m guessing some readers may not appreciate. As a partner with her father (rather than his unpaid teenaged assistant), she now has a family business that she’s responsible for. Previously, Veronica takes a lot of risks without any consideration for her safety. Here, Veronica still takes risks but they are more thoughtful ones, and when I expected her to set herself up as bait for Mr. Kiss and Tell, she surprised me.
Her relationship with Logan deepens and becomes complicated by her fears about his service in the Navy, as she realizes how much danger he’s in when he’s away. But as Logan reminds her, chasing criminals isn’t exactly safe.
I also enjoyed the return of Leo in this story, one of my favorite characters from the show.
Reading the reviews of Book #1, some readers were put off by the use of third person rather than being right in Veronica’s head. I didn’t find that an issue and I don’t here either. In fact, I think the distance you get with the third person makes it more clear that Veronica isn’t a one-man show or a mind-reader. In fact much of the intellectual wizardry in this case comes from her assistant Mac.
So if you don’t mind a slightly more mature, more responsible Veronica Mars, you’ll enjoy this book every bit as much as Book #1, and it doesn’t feel like just stuff from the show being revisited. I look forward to the next one, if there is one.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Edelweiss and publisher Random House in exchange for an honest review. The book will be released on January 20, 2015.