The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

tdtanlineTen 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 not a 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.

Find the book on Goodreads.

Find the book on Audible.

Veronica Mars was one of those shows that I started watching right when it started airing on Australian commercial TV.  This was back in the days before digital TV boxes that made it easy to record and store shows to watch at a later date and soon enough, I had missed too many episodes to keep watching.  It was also crazy difficult and expensive to buy the boxed sets.  Fast forward a good ten years or so, and I have finally finished all three seasons.  I probably should have watched the film before starting this book – serious spoilers, guys, just putting that out there – but what can you do?

So you know I’m a fan of the show.  I wasn’t sure about a spin off book series, but I  liked the idea of the book being written by the guy who created the show, Rob Thomas, and read by Veronica herself.  But why wasn’t the book written in first person?  I mean, Kristen Bell’s performance was amazing.  I especially loved her Wallace, Mac, and Weevil impersonations but I do feel like they missed a trick by now writing from Veronica’s point of view.

As for the story?  I was really enjoying it up to about the half way mark, the drug cartel/wild parties thing kept me interested.  But then that part of the story fell away, never to return, which I thought was really odd.  The mystery itself was tight and had just as many twists and turns as you would expect from a VM story, but the direction it went felt a little off.   There was a lot of build up to one thing and it turned out to be somethng completely different.  Which, you know, fair enough but I don’t know.  It’s almost as if they changed their mind about what happened to the missing girls half way through.

I’ve been reading quite a few murder mysteries lately and unfortunately, this wasn’t one of the better ones.  Still a solid, enjoyable, read and especially so for fans of the TV show, but I’m not going to rush out to preorder next year’s sequel.

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