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

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is extremely satisfying... y'know, for fanfic. It's less successful as a freestanding mystery, but I suspect author Jennifer Graham (who “co-wrote” the novel with series creator Rob Thomas) was encouraged to walk a very fine line between creative storytelling and shameless fanservice.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line kicks off shortly after the events of the recent Veronica Mars feature film. Veronica has returned to Neptune, her wealthy, crime-ridden hometown, and started working at her father's struggling private detective agency. When a teenage girl goes missing during a Spring Break party, Veronica is hired to investigate. The evidence seems to point to a pair of cousins with ties to organized crime—but there's another possibility, involving someone from Veronica's past.

When I first heard about The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, I was pretty excited. I was hoping the novel format would allow the show's creators to write the kind of slow-building, subtle mystery that would be nearly impossible to achieve on TV, what with near-constant worries about ratings, product placement, or stunt-casting Paris Hilton. Sadly, this a far cry from the mystery of my dreams. Graham does a great job of capturing Veronica's wry sarcasm, but there are too many implausibly-interconnected plot threads, and too many needless cameos from minor characters. I still intend to read the next installment, but if Graham and Thomas want to attract a larger audience than just pre-existing VM fans, they need to do a better job of creating a book 'verse that stands on its own.
Posted by: Julianka


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