Mr. Kiss and Tell is the second Veronica Mars book to come out of the super successful Kickstarter project from two years ago. Last spring we had the movie and the first book, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, and this year we have book two. I was so excited to get it that I bought it for myself for my birthday.
And you may say to yourself, why were you so excited, you’ve only rated these two books at three stars? I know, but I love Veronica and the rest of the gang in Neptune that while they don’t quite make the 4 star category for me, they are certainly some of the most fun I’ve had reading in a long time. The strength of having the series creator Rob Thomas in on the action is that he knows these characters inside and out. He’s been working with and on them for over a decade. So, as I read the dialogue it came through in the voices of the actors who play these roles. I can hear Wallace, Weevil, Mac, and Logan as clearly as if they were coming from the television in the next room. And that is nothing short of delightful.
Book two picks up kind of where book one left off. In The Thousand Dollar Tan Line Veronica was on the hunt for a girl who vanished from the Neptune Grand during Spring Break. Mr. Kiss and Tell moves the story ahead to the months following the close of the mystery in the first book and Veronica dealing with her new normal. Our central mystery in this one is a rape and attempted murder that happened around the same time as the events of The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, and Veronica has been brought in to determine whether or not the Neptune Grand is liable. This being a Mars Investigations project it certainly doesn’t end there.
While the first book took place over a few short weeks, this book takes longer, nearly 4 months by my count, and shows the other side of private investigations when tips dry up and dead ends abound. We also get the story of Weevil’s court case following being set up and Sheriff Lamb’s run for reelection. All of this is good, and the continued world building these books deserve. But here’s the thing that kept me from bumping this 3.5 to a 4: it was at times a little too insular. While I enjoy seeing old characters again, we aren’t limited by production budget. We can have new locations and characters without budgetary concerns. That’s one of the joys of books versus television or movies. You don’t have to worry about how to pay for it. While I’m happy to see the main group of 8 or so characters (everyone listed above plus Keith, Cliff and Dick who was tragically absent from the page), I don’t need every character to be directly linked to the show or movie. So, as we’re digging into old Meg plots and Mac plots for characters and side plots it just seemed a little too small, a little to self-referential.
For those of you all about the LoVe connection: it’s here, and there is plenty to unpack in Logan’s new life and what that means for Veronica who is still in the process of getting to know him as he is now, and how he got there. It was good stuff, if perhaps a bit rushed.
I really liked this book, and if you aren’t already a Marshmallow, why the heck not?