The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

The Thousand-Dollar Tan LineThis is a book about Veronica Mars. SOLD.

So… here’s the thing. I discovered Veronica Mars in college and loved the heck out of the first season and thought the second season was okay and the third season was fine too, whatever, put Kristen Bell on my television and I will watch it. But it turns out that you put Kristen Bell on my movie screen and I will only watch it if it’s at a theater I like, which the recent movie was not, and also cheap, which the digital rentals of said movie were not. So I haven’t actually seen the movie yet, but I will once it makes its way to my local Redbox, I promise!

And it turns out that this book takes place basically immediately after the events of the movie, which I knew the results of well enough not to be surprised that Veronica was back in the PI game but not well enough to realize that Dan Lamb wasn’t a typo until I got so irritated that I googled it literally two paragraphs before the exposition fairy comes to explain it.

Maybe watch the movie first, is what I’m saying, or don’t watch any of the series first and then you won’t be confused by changes.

Aaaanyway. This is a book about Veronica Mars, who has left potential high-money lawyering in New York to slum it in Neptune as a PI with Mac, who has left actual high-money computering for this job, which… was part-time not an option? Whatever. The book opens with a girl gone missing, and Veronica is called in to do all the investigating while the sheriff’s office gets all the credit. There is some classic undercover work (with Wallace yay!) and sleuthing, and then another girl goes missing and her family (well, one member in particular) knocks Veronica for a tiny loop after which she gets the job done like an awesome person.

The mystery is pretty solid; I certainly didn’t know whodunnit until Veronica uncovered the appropriate number of clues and also the herrings and twists are well placed to be “Wow!” rather than “What.” Good job, Jennifer Graham!

But I think I might have liked this book better if it starred people I didn’t know (well, “know”), because everything was weird from a character angle. I didn’t understand some of the interpersonal dynamics, which is my fault for not watching the movie first, I guess, but also there’s the fact that it seemed like a few show characters were thrown into the story just to have them there rather than for a useful purpose. One character’s conspicuous absences also called for some more thorough investigating by a certain tiny PI, but I didn’t get any resolution on that at all! Next book, maybe?

And, as many others have complained, the book is written in third person rather than the show’s more first-person point of view, which, I never realized what a strange word Veronica is until I saw it once every two sentences for this entire book. Veronica. Veronica. Veronica. Weird, right?

Overall, a delightful read and a happy reunion of my favorite characters (Veronica and Mac, obvs) and a good impetus to finally seek out the darn movie.

Recommendation: For mystery lovers and Veronica Mars lovers.

Rating: 7/10