The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you are like me, and own the Complete Series, and waited with bated breath for The Veronica Mars Movie but still haven’t slaked your V-Mars thirst, please please read The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line. It’s fantastic. And if you haven’t seen the series (for some crazy reason), and you like witty banter, fast-paced mysteries, Southern California noir, and wisecracking heroines who can fire a gun but still be waylaid by their own hearts, READ THIS BOOK. Then watch the series and the movie and be in love with all of it.
Tan Line picks up right where the movie left off: Keith is recuperating from his wounds, Logan is out to sea (and stays there), and Veronica is trying to keep Mars Investigations afloat on her own when a juicy case walks in the door, courtesy of the Victoria’s Secret model-turned-Neptune-Grand-owner, Petra Landros, who hires Veronica to investigate the disappearances of two spring-breakers. Landros, by the way, is a great new character in a book with our old favorites (Weevil! Wallace! Mac!) and even some returning faces (Norris Clayton, the trench-coat with a crush on Veronica and Japanese weapons, now working for the Neptune PD). Tracking down the two missing girls gets Veronica involved with a Mexican drug cartel, and that’s just the beginning. Since this is Neptune, no one is who they seem to be, and Veronica gets thrown quite a few curve balls.
I’m one of those fans who loves the Logan-Veronica pairing, but having that mostly off the table (seriously, Logan only pops in a few times via Skype) lets us focus on what makes Veronica so special, and we travel deeper into her psyche than ever before. Courtesy of a major plot twist, Veronica has to decide whether to assess her own prickly approach to boundaries, especially those in her past, and she grapples with this in a much more mature way than she was able to in high school. The book opens up more territory for Veronica to explore beyond her love life, and lays some groundwork for what future chapters in the saga might look like.
Apparently there’s some controversy over the fact that the book is told in third-person, not first-person, but I think this is silly, honestly. Whether it’s “I” or “Veronica” speaking, we’re in the same perspective, and it maps perfectly with the perspective fans of the series will expect as well as establish Veronica as a character many readers will love. I think we get to know Veronica even better here, because we’re not limited to what she’s willing to say but instead get to hear the interior emotions we often only saw on Kristen Bell’s face.
I’m really looking forward to more mysteries, whether or not there’s ever another movie, and I think Rob Thomas is doing an excellent job continuing to unfold the Mars universe and let Veronica evolve as a protagonist. The world of Neptune still has much to show us about the dark side of the American dream, and Veronica has much to learn about herself and her place in it.
View all my reviews