Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Book Review)

Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Book Review)

I can’t get enough Veronica Mars.

Following the wildly entertaining three season long television show, fans have been lucky enough to see the continuation of the life of the edgy, vindictive, sleuthing Veronica in the Veronica Mars movie, and the fun follow-up novel, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line.

Well, for fans, things keep on rolling with the latest novel about the exploits of our favorite heroine, in Mr. Kiss and Tell.

vm2This time around, Veronica is put on a case where a girl was the victim of a brutal sexual assault at the Neptune Grand Hotel, the centerpiece of wealth in the seaside town of Neptune. She is hired to try and find out what really happened, since the girl can be seen entering the hotel on video, but never leaving it. From here, the mystery unfolds, and we are swept into a seedy world of abuse and prostitution.

As with the first VM novel, this one brings back the familiar cast of characters from the show, that we all know and love. There is the perfect amount of exposition, explaining the role that each person played in Veronica’s life, which makes the novel accessible for those who are new to Neptune and looking for a casual book read. Also, it is not too much for the hard-core fan, who of course remember the youngest Manning girl, or the importance of Leo in Veronica’s teen life. It was a good balance, to appease the old fans, and the new.

vm3As for Mr. Kiss and Tell itself, it is a similar beach read to The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. The mystery itself doesn’t offer as many twists and turns as the show, film, or first book offered, but the majority of the time was spent with Veronica knowing who did it, and trying to figure out a way to catch him. It provides a suitable amount of intrigue, even if it is not as good as the first book, overall.

Part of the charm of the first book was that Veronica’s voice was captured perfectly, and it was tough to read without hearing her voice in your head. The sharp-edged sarcasm always came through in the dialogue. That is lost a little bit in Mr. Kiss and Tell, and some of the dialogue comes across as quite un-Veronica. Maybe she is mellowing as she approaches 30?

There are the secondary story lines, as well, which push forward the general narrative of the lives of the people of Neptune. There is the romance between Logan and Veronica that is continued on in this book, and the developing story of the partnership between Keith and his daughter as they continue to grow Mars Investigations as a team. There is of course continued battles with Sheriff Lamb, and an upcoming election to decide his future. Some of the extra stories were a little underdeveloped and almost thrown in, but it doesn’t really take away from the overall enjoyment of this read.

Mr. Kiss and Tell is another fine addition to the growing universe of Veronica Mars. Fans can only hope that they will continue with the novel series, as it really does offer nice, light reads, that provide interesting mysteries, some laughs, and a group of people that we have known for a decade now.

And the best part, for those who are fans of the show and get it…Veronica gets a puppy. And names it Pony.

vm4Perfect.

Throwback TV: Veronica Mars Season 3

Throwback TV: Veronica Mars Season 3

The final installment of the beloved Veronica Mars TV series shifts our characters out of Neptune High, right into Hearst College, Neptune’s premier institution of higher learning.

All of the characters that we have learned to love over the first couple of seasons are back for the third go round. They have continued to develop from the events of season 2. For example, we have the lovable lout Dick Casablancas, who has been deeply affected by the criminal activity and death of his younger brother, Cassidy. In typical Dick fashion, his method of coping involved booze, partying, and women.

BELLNow that Veronica has moved along from high school, it doesn’t take long before she begins making enemies at her new school. Being smarter that the rest of the students in her criminology class doesn’t exactly endear her to her new classmates, or her new TA, the former prized student of her respected professor.

But, as we know, it won’t take long until people all over campus are asking her for favours, creating the small mysteries that move the series along. And of course, we have our large-scale mysteries that serve as the undercurrent for the year. An on-campus rapist, a mysterious suicide/murder, and Veronica’s tumultuous relationship with Logan Echolls, keep our heroine busy, all while trying to remain a successful student, work a part-time job, and continue helping out her father at Mars Investigations.

Veronica Mars remained nicely consistent throughout its three season run. The same things that worked in the first season continue to work in the third, and it is a formula that viewers have come to enjoy and love. Personally, I didn’t find the third season as engrossing as the first two, but that doesn’t mean that there is really an kind of drop in quality in the show. The last year is every bit as enjoyable as the first two, even if the mysteries aren’t quite as all encompassing or impactful on Veronica as they were the first couple of times around.

As always, the relationships are what make this show great. Logan and Veronica. The introduction of new roommate characters in Piz and Parker. The old standbys in Veronica and her father Keith, Mac, and Wallace. These relationships have been built up for three years, and we are not disappointed in the way that they have developed over the course of time.

Season 3 of Veronica Mars does not disappoint. The only sad thing is that there wasn’t more after the end of this season. On the DVD version, you can see the sneak peak of what would have been season 4, where Veronica would have been an intern at the FBI. Perhaps it was a good thing that the show ended after its three years. Veronica Mars was never destroyed by soap opera plots, or uninteresting side plots. It remains something that is always an entertaining viewing. This is one of those series that can be re-watched time and again, every few years. The wit and humour always remains, and the standout performance by Kristen Bell is never diminished over time.

If you have gone through the first couple of years of VM, you will not be disappointed by the third. Keep watching, marshmallows!

Throwback TV: Veronica Mars Season 1

Throwback TV: Veronica Mars Season 1

I’ve written a fair amount about Veronica Mars, because I just love it. I’ve written about the movie trailer, the film itself, and have even read the first novel in what is a possible VM book series, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line.

Going back to where it all began, season 1 of the cult TV show is simply an awesome watch. Over the course of the season, we see the development of the characters that would play roles throughout the series, and we would see Kristen Bell become Veronica, to the point where she is one of the best female TV characters of the last decade.

And seeing as how Veronica Mars has been a recent addition to the Netflix lineup, it seemed an appropriate time to write about it. While I have gone through the entire series three times prior, seeing it on Netflix drew me back in for another complete viewing.

veronica2After Laura Palmer, and well before Rosie Larson, we wanted to know who killed Lilly Kane.

The premise of the first season is to introduce the once popular, but now pariah character of Veronica Mars, daughter to the former sheriff of Neptune, California, where the social divide is great between the haves and the have nots. Veronica used to run with the popular group, date the son of a billionaire, and be well respected among her peers at school. But that all changed after her best friend, Lilly, was murdered. Her father, Keith Mars, tried to pin the murder on Jake Kane, Lilly’s father, which essentially ostracized both of them from the high end people of Neptune. Veronica stuck with her father, not believing that the murder was solved, as the new sheriff would have everyone believe. Sure, there was a man behind bars, but something never fit right with the Mars family. Now, no longer sheriff, Keith is a private detective in town, and Veronica helps him on some of his cases. Often of the more sordid variety, such as cheating husbands.

But Veronica wants to know who really killed her best friend. Not to get back in with the cool people at school, but for her peace, Lilly’s peace, and her father’s vindication.

The first season of Veronica Mars has the long, over-arching story line of who killed Lilly. But in between, there are smaller arcs, as well as episode one offs, all of which are fun and interesting little mysteries, filled with wit, humour, and the perfect amount of seriousness, all while exploring topics of class division, popularity, and the typical teen issues. Veronica deals with small cases, like mysterious dog disappearances, to bigger things, like drug smuggling, and her own drugging and rape at a school party.

Veronica has a chip on her shoulder, and she is determined to get revenge on people who have wronged her, and wronged the people that she cares about. While her behavior can be morally questionable at times, Veronica always has justice at heart, which makes her an intriguing character.

She has a veneer of sarcasm that is able to protect a hurt girl, who has many wrongs in her life. Aside from the fall from popular grace, she has had to deal with an alcoholic mother who eventually abandons her family, questions about her own paternity, the scorn of the people from her past, and the struggles to balance her unique job and her studies, where she is a top student without the money to go to an elite school. She needs to earn everything she gets, and she is faced with tough decisions all the way through the first season.

But she is tough, which is why we love her. There is nary a situation that doesn’t warrant a quip from her, and the writers of the show gave Bell some great material to work with. But it is Bell that really makes this character come alive, and she gives Veronica the edge and humour that make her so lovable, and an easy character to cheer for.

The first season is full of twists and turns, both within the small story lines, as well as the big one. There are plenty of laughs, and plenty of strong secondary characters that make the show go round. Particularly strong is the relationship between Keith and his daughter, as they are serious about their work, but also seem to have the perfect father-daughter relationship, in that they can confide in one another, and do so quite hilariously at times.

Regardless of your taste in TV, Veronica Mars should be considered as a must see series. It never got the viewers it should have during its time on TV, but warrants a watching now. It is non-stop entertainment, with clever writing full of allusions that will make the knowledgeable pop culture junkie happy. Even having gone through the series several times, I still find myself enjoying the show, the quips, and being more knowing and involved in the mystery.

New Trailer: Veronica Mars

I am unabashedly a huge fan of Veronica Mars. A great, fun, smart, and intriguing TV show when it was on, I have definitely poured through the three seasons of the show more than once. It was one of the shows that ended at the right time, before he storylines were too stretched out or the characters became caricatures of themselves.

Veronica_mars_introAnd Veronica herself, played incredibly by Kristen Bell, is one of the great female TV characters of all time. Sure, seems like high praise, but she is really that good. She is witty and tough, but held a deep vulnerability that made her irresistible as a character. Because of being Veronica Mars, I will watch pretty much anything that Kristen Bell is in, and am a huge fan of hers (she is currently excellent on House of Lies).

The big news for Veronica Mars nerds was the impressive Kickstarter project, where fans donated enough money to raise a budget to make a movie of the show they so dearly loved. This will be the first big-name project to be done in this way, which makes the movie a true labour of love. Fans wanted it so badly that they actually paid to have it made. That is an impressive following.

There has been significant buzz about the movie, obviously, and now there is an official trailer out. The movie will debut in March, and the trailer looks…awesome.

All of the characters are back. Veronica has left the life of being a PI, and is now a lawyer, but she is pulled back to Neptune when her old flame Logan is accused of murder. The events are centered on a reunion at Neptune High, which is an awesome way to get everybody back together and have Veronica hash it out with all the people (good and bad) from her past.

The trailer has everything you could expect and hope for. It looks dark, it looks funny, Kristen Bell appears to be in fine form. And despite not having the backing money of a huge studio, it looks like a very high end production. No cheesy look to this film.

I will confidently say that this movie looks like an absolute winner, and even though I rarely go to the theater to see movies any more, I will definitely make an exception for VM. I am excited.

Here is another link to the trailer.

http://theveronicamarsmovie.com/