Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

Title: Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell
Series: Veronica Mars
Author: Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
Read copy: Paperback
Published: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 080417072X
ISBN-13: 9780804170727

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?

My rating:

A couple of months ago a girl was raped, beaten, and left for dead by the side of the road. She has no idea how she got from being alive and well at the Neptune Grand to half-naked, beaten and raped in a ditch, but she does remember that a Grand's employee had done the deed.

This is where Veronica Mars comes in. The Grand's insurance company has hired her to (dis)prove the victim's story...Only when it comes to Neptune, and Veronica Mars, cases like this never turn out to be simple.

Although the story didn't have the same steady pace of its predecessor the case was still intriguing, and nicely-plotted. The secondary stories from both the movie and the first book came to a more-or-less satisfying end, and pretty much all of the characters and their individual "arcs" are developing nicely.

Pretty much, because of one glaring exception. The heroine herself. Because I have a feeling Veronica isn't developing but standing still ever since the first season of the TV series, and has even regressed a lot from the beginning of the movie. You see, I'm not into book only for the plots (be it romance or mystery), I'm in it for the characters. The characters are the driving force behind everything. And when a character is grinding to a halt, it bugs the hell out of me, and diminishes my appreciation of the story as a whole.

And I have a major problem with Ms. Mars' characterization. The girl has obvious abandonment issues and is, obviously, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. She's never satisfied with what she has, and is always looking for ways out. Even when she's not pushing people away, so they do abandon her, she does the abandoning herself.
I'm surprised that she, as a psych major or minor or whatever, hasn't figured this out and tried to seek help. For she needs it.

You see, at the beginning of the movie she was with Piz, whom she chose (even way back in college) because he was safe and he would never hurt her. But that didn't turn out how she wanted it to (because she doesn't know what exactly she wants), so she went back to Logan...And left a promising law career (which she also chose because it was different from the PI business) behind.
Okay, I'm a LoVe fan, so I can buy that. Logan has changed—we were shown and told in this book just how much and just what his career and his military life mean to him—and their love story was epic, so it seemed fitting (and romantic as hell) for them to end up together. At the beginning of this book they're even living together, but she's already having second thoughts...about his career, about her ability to live with that. But does she talk to him about it? Nope, she keeps it all bottled inside, yet resents him when he does try to talk it through. And then, when he goes back to his duty (protecting not only her but everybody, might I add), she's already ogling up a replacement for the poor guy. Someone more convenient, someone her friends and father like more than Logan. But the whole "liking Logan" thing isn't only on the guy's shoulders, it's on her father's and friends' as well. Because I never noticed them trying to make overly nice to the guy that's obviously grown and changed the most out of every single VM character.

Logan is actually a grown-up, while the rest of the merry bunch had stayed pretty much the same—in high-school, with the exception of Keith Mars, that is.

And on that bombshell (if I borrow from one of my favorite TV shows that has just lost one of it's stars), that has turned into a character study instead of a simple book review, it's time to end.


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