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Friday, March 6, 2015

"Veronic Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line" by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

OVERVIEW: Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.
Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

FORMAT: Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is the first Veronica Mars mystery in a proposed series. Fans of Veronica Mars or those curious about the series will benefit the most by reading this book after watching the series and the movie. However, it isn't necessary.

The novel stands at 324 pages and was published by Vintage on March 25, 2014.

ANALYSIS: I became a 'Marshmallow' (the term used to describe fans of Veronica Mars) a lot later than most people. I had just finished catching up on the series and watching the movie when I heard that the series – while not being picked up for TV – was making a comeback of sorts; this time in book form.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is an exciting addition to the Veronica Mars franchise. It ultimately picks up a month or two after the movie, which helps die-hard fans build on the world of Neptune.

I walked into Thousand-Dollar Tan Line with very low expectations. I have to admit, I wasn't a huge fan of the movie and the thought of a book series made it seem as if people were trying to ride the gravy train. I was pleasantly surprised by my experience.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is far from a complex mystery novel, but I think the fast pace of the novel mixed with the fun of seeing old favorite characters from Neptune made up for it. I found the mystery pretty much standard for the Veronica Mars series. In fact, it was pretty much run-of-the-mill Neptune mystery.

There were parts of the novel that seemed almost predictable. Maybe it is because I just saw the entire series and movie, maybe not. I just had a sense that the novel/plot was going a certain direction and it was. Again, I'm not so sure this is a book that is trying to win 'best crime novel', more so that it is trying to give fans a chance to continue the Veronica Mars world.

One of the biggest disappointments of the book was the choice to write the book in third person. Veronica Mars was a favorite show of mine because of her sassy, witty commentary on things. Unfortunately, this book doesn't really achieve that 'voice'. It feels almost like an outsider looking on and trying to tell me what Veronica would sassily say or a comeback she'd have for someone.

I really think this book would have been amazing as a first-person novel. It would have provided readers a chance to get that witty/sarcastic commentary in without it feeling forced. Sadly, that wasn't the way it went and I think it was a major let down.

Would I recommend Thousand-Dollar Tan Line to people who haven't followed Veronica Mars? Probably not as I think it is more of a book for fans than a book that will bring in new fans. New fans wouldn't understand the history of the characters, the nostalgia associated with seeing different characters return, or even get the dynamics of Neptune.

Fans of Veronica Mars will certain love this novel. Even though some of Veronica's sass is missing, it still was a nice read. It was fun, fast, and really serves as a nice, yet different addition to the Veronica Mars family.  


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