When I first came to the world of detective novels, as a fresh-faced blond suburbanite whose thoughts did not match her surroundings, I worried that I would never find the hard-boiled equivalent of me. Horror fans had Buffy and Willow, the fantasy world had Xena and Gabrielle. Crime fiction, seemingly written exclusively from a male point-of-view, had only dames, hookers, and the occasional wife or girlfriend, but no female figures to identify with as reader. I had yet to learn of the long history of renowned female crime fiction novelists, many of whom are long out of print, and others recently returned to the shelf.
When a family friend lent me Veronica Mars, I instantly fell in love with the series and its tough-talking heroine. Veronica Mars passed the Bechdel Test with flying colors in her strong friendships with women and her refusal to accept stereotypical roles. When the TV show ended, I said my sad farewell to my favorite detective heroine, but I should have known, in the era of fandom and the internet, nothing that good ever goes away forever.
And so Veronica Mars and her helpful cohort of misfits returned; first in a film, and now in a book series.The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, the first Veronica Mars Investigation novel, came out last year and picked up right where the film left off. In true Veronica Mars fashion, Veronica’s private life and private investigations become quickly intertwined as the search to find a missing spring breaker turns into a jarring confrontation with Veronica’s mother, searching for her missing stepdaughter in a case that appears to be linked to the previous disappearance.
Rob Thomas’ latest continuation of the series, Mr. Kiss and Tell, released on January 20th, has Veronica once again disrupting the lives of Neptune’s high and mighty when she is hired by the staff at the Neptune Grande to investigate a rape allegation against one of their staff members. Little does the hotel know that Veronica Mars is always the victim’s advocate, no matter who hires her. Memories of her own sexual assault return as she doggedly pursues every lead to locate the assailant, but more than one hidden truth must come out before Veronica can find her way towards the perpetrator and an appropriate punishment to fit the deed.
Mr. Kiss and Tell is tightly plotted, with the same complex morality, witty dialogue, and diabolical sleuthing of the series. Rob Thomas enjoys his freedom from the strictures of the television world, and is using the books to incorporate a wider cast of characters and locales, as well as to explore his characters’ thoughts with the intimacy of third person omniscient narration. Mr. Thomas has taken Veronica Mars from a series, to a film, to a book series, and here’s to the Veronica-verse – may it be, like our own, ever-expanding.
Copies of Mr. Kiss and Tell: A Veronica Mars Investigation are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Rob Thomas comes to BookPeople Friday, January 30, at 7 pm on BookPeople’s second floor. The speaking portions of all BookPeople events are free and open to the public; you must purchase a book to enter the signing line. Can’t make it to the event? You can order a copy of the book to be signed on our website!
Want to discuss the book with your favorite mystery book club, the 7% Solution? We will meet Monday, February 2, at 7 pm on BookPeople’s third floor, to discuss this wonderful read.