The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas (2014), narrated by Kristen Bell
It's spring break in Neptune, and the partiers have descended. But when a young woman disappears, it's bad PR for the town and Veronica is hired by the Chamber of Commerce to help find her. It's only complicated more when a second girl disappears. Veronica's investigation takes her to a mansion belonging to two very dangerous men, and also involves someone from her past.
This felt very much like watching an episode of the show, which makes sense since the same person writes it. It was so much fun to revisit Neptune and its inhabitants. Logan is away during this book and although he and Veronica Skype, their relationship isn't really in the foreground. What is, is her family because one of the missing girls is related to a family member she hasn't been in touch with and this brings up a lot of interesting developments.
I've got a couple of really minor criticisms. One is that I thought Veronica figured out way too many things near the end that didn't really have clues. She's smart - I get it - and often puts things together that I don't see, but it just seemed to happen far too much here, and with things that didn't always have real clues. The other tiny issue I had is that the title of the book is kind of a red herring and I don't know why it was chosen. But neither of these things really diminished my enjoyment of the story. I didn't have a ton of expectations, to be honest, because even though I know that Rob Thomas is a real writer who has written at least one book before, this is a book based on a TV show and somehow I just don't expect a lot from that kind of thing. (His young adult novel, Rats Saw God, was very good, by the way.)
Of course Kristen Bell is the perfect person to narrate since she's the voice of Veronica Mars herself. Since the book is written in third person it sounds like Veronica is talking about herself in third person, but that was only weird for a short time and I got over it. Hearing her voice added to the feeling I already had that I was immersed in another episode of the show. Because it's already a show I pictured everyone the way they appeared on screen and it just made it feel all the more real.
I've heard from a friend that the second book is better so I'm really looking forward to it. It's narrated by my favorite audiobook reader, Rebecca Lowman. The reviews on Audible aren't great, I think because her voice is so different from that of Kristen Bell. Hopefully that won't impact my experience.
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