Friday, April 11, 2014

Group Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

Author: Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Series: Veronica Mars #1
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 324
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  mystery
Rating: 4
Bottom Line: A must for Veronica Mars addicts.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Blurb:  From Rob Thomas, the creator of the television series and movie phenomenon Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling mystery series that picks up where the feature film left off. 

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 no 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.

In Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who’s part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark. With its sharp plot and clever twists, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Jenn's Review:  Veronica Mars may be an adrenaline junkie, but I am a Veronica Mars junkie.  I've seen the movie at least 15 times since it came out last month, and ever since I've been looking for my next VM fix.  Not that the movie wasn't fabulous, it was everything the fans could have hoped for after seven years of radio silence (glaring at you CW execs).  But returning to it only made me crave more VM (I told you I was a junkie didn't I?).  I found it in this newly released novel from creator Rob Thomas.

The book picks up shortly after the movie leaves off.  Keith is on the road to recovery and Veronica is struggling to make a go of things back in Neptune again.  She finally lands her first big case since Bonnie DeVille, and she has to accept the fact that she'll be doing all the detective work while Lamb will be getting all the credit.

The plot is solid with several fabulous twists.  It kept me guessing right up until the end.  It doesn't go over the top.  The whole book stays very true to the show in that regard.  I love the exchanges between Veronica and her Dad.  Of course there is very little Logan, but that was to be expected, but what we do get is enough and it's nice to hear Veronica's inner monologue on her relationship.

However, I don't know if Veronica and company translated very well to the written page.  It felt like I was reading a script.  I could see it unfolding on the screen in my mind, and it worked beautifully there.  But I was hoping for more depth to the writing and more layers to the characters. It felt like the whole of the story was one long Veronica voice over.  Veronica's witty quips feel somewhat less snarky.  Mac and Wallace became more background than usual... and Weevil's sudden appearance felt like a cameo for the sake of a cameo.

Would non-fans of the show enjoy this as a stand alone novel?  I'm not so sure...  but then again, I don't know if it was really meant for anyone but the fans and for Rob Thomas himself.  I will be interested to see what Julie has to say because she is listening to this as an audio book with Kristen Bell narrating.  I have a feeling it might work better that way.  That being said, would I read another VM novel?  In a heart beat.  There should always be more Veronica Mars in the world.

Julie's Review: This book is purely for those who loved the show and the movie. It is the perfect thing to listen to when you are jonesing for a fix. Oh did I reference addiction, yes I did. That's the thing about Veronica Mars, she sucks you in and never lets you go. You can see why her and Logan never got over each other. Alas, this book doesn't focus on her relationship with Logan, but I would totally favor one that did, but on the disappearance of a college student while partying in Neptune. Who would have thought of Neptune as a spring break destination? Not me, but I guess they do have a beach. 

The mystery is reminiscence of the ones on the show and with a couple twists and turns towards the end, made it that much more enjoyable. I loved that Mac is working with Veronica and that Wallace is still her best friend, even if they aren't front and center in the book. They are there when it counts. It is Veronica's relationship with her dad that always gets me. He may not agree with her decisions but he does end up supporting her. They have a very unique relationship and understanding between each other.

I will admit that if it wasn't for Kristen Bell narrating this version, I would have passed. I couldn't imagine anyone else reading it because Bell is Veronica. One thing that didn't resonate well was that is was told in third person. The show and movie were in first person, why change the book? Having it told in third person took away some of the personal connection with Veronica. I felt like I was in her head, or like Jen said, in her voice overs and that wasn't what I expected. It did lessen my enjoyment a bit but definitely not enough for me to quit listening.  There are a few surprises along the way and I won't spoil them for you. There were even times when I laughed out loud.

Veronica Mars will always be something that I come back to. Her snark, her wit and yes her vulnerability is what makes people like her and identify with her. She's a hard shell but she's a marshmallow on the inside.
Will I read/listen to the next one? Heck yeah, did you read that I'm an addict! My suggestion to Rob Thomas is that the next one needs to be in first person.



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