In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say that I am an enormous fan of Veronica Mars. I’ve seen every episode of the tv show multiple times. I saw the movie in its opening weekend. I pre-ordered The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, and I had Mr. Kiss and Tell on my Christmas list (and would have pre-ordered it if I hadn’t received it). So when I saw the title available on Netgalley and I got the chance to read it a couple weeks early… well, I jumped at the chance.
Even more than The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Mr. Kiss and Tell reads like an episode of the show. And in this particular episode, Veronica delves into yet another rape case, this one involving an undocumented immigrant and the ritzy, glitzy Neptune Grand hotel. A young woman from Veronica’s past claims that she was raped, brutally beaten, and left for dead in a landfill by a man who has conveniently been deported to Mexico. Due to the extent of her injuries and the fact that the incident occurred months ago, her memory is foggy at best. Add to that the fact that she refuses to provide the name of the wealthy boyfriend she was meeting that night, and the police, and the hotel, think that she’s lying. Veronica is hired by the hotel to determine whether their employee was involved in any way, but in true Veronica Mars fashion, the case spirals into something much bigger.
Mr. Kiss and Tell is a very quick read. I read the majority of it over just a few hours on the day after Christmas. It really is just like an episode of the tv show – plot twists abound, and just when you think Veronica has found the culprit, something happens and she’s proven wrong. Another character turns out to be suspicious, or the DNA evidence doesn’t match up.
I was pleased to find that this book contains the witty banter of the show, which I felt was lacking in The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. The dialogue is much more true to the characters, particularly with Veronica and Mac, but also with Keith, Weevil, and Logan.
“Please. Endless stacks of evidence and unsorted information to sift through? You’re thrilled. This is Veronica Mars catnip.”
“Yeah, better get your spray bottle at the ready in case I start rolling on a pile of carpet-fiber spectrographs,” Veronica said with a mock scowl. “This is why you shouldn’t hire your friends. It’s all nice and professional until the insubordination starts.”
Speaking of the other characters, they all have their own stories to tell. Keith and Weevil pick up right where they left off in theVeronica Mars Movie, trying to uncover the corruption in Neptune that led to police planting evidence on Weevil at a crime scene. Logan is back from his military service and looking to settle down with Veronica. We find that Mac has been keeping close tabs on her birth parents. And Leo’s back, and ready as ever to help Veronica catch the bad guy.
Overall, Mr. Kiss and Tell is a great continuation of the Veronica Mars world. However, keep in mind that this is a book for devoted fans, not the casual mystery reader. If you haven’t watched the show, seen the movie, and read the previous book, you will have difficulty understanding what’s going on. Previous plots are referenced. Past characters are introduced, usually with little indication as to how they fit into the story. In this case, you do need that foundation to truly understand what’s happening.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy!
Final rating: ★★★★☆
[Mr. Kiss and Tell is the second in a series of books based on the Veronica Mars tv series and movie. See my review of the first book, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, here, or on Goodreads.]