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?
I think one of the things that most impress me about this book series is the way they absolutely nail Veronica’s voice, the way it was in the series. To be fair, Rob Thomas was the creator of the show and co-author of the book, so there is continuity there, but nevertheless, I enjoy how seamless the transition from show to book has been. It’s Veronica, but all grown up – a little less prickly, a little more jaded, but still as determined, feisty, smart and kickass as ever.
And this second instalment doesn’t disappoint. In Mr Kiss and Tell, Veronica is on the trail of a serial rapist and abuser, whose case was brought to her attention after a woman is assaulted in the glitzy Neptune Grand hotel, and left for dead in a trash field, with no memory of how she got there.
The book pulls no punches – it makes it very clear how the justice system only works for some, particularly in the cases of rape or sexual assault – if you’re in any way involved in the sex industry, then pssshaw, it’s not rape, it’s shoplifting, right? *fumes* Not to mention, do you have a history, what were you wearing, why were you meeting a strange man… It takes a critical look and makes some rather pointed comments, which make my liberal heart sing with glee.
This criticism of the justice system extends to the American system of policing as well – and couldn’t be more timely, considering all that’s going on in the states at the moment. (And always has been, who are we kidding?) On the heels of the case of Eli (Weevil)’s court case, with him being falsely charged due to planted evidence, we’re once again reminded how the system works for those with money and power in Neptune, while those less fortunate are either completely abandoned by the system, or become victims of it. This culminates in Keith and Cliff deciding that something has to give, and fighting back against Sheriff Lamb, the epitomy of police corruption.
Quite apart from her pressing case, running a business with her father and all the other goings-on in Neptune, Veronica is also juggling to spend time with Logan, back from shore leave. Now I will admit – I was never a Veronica/Logan shipper. *ducks for cover* Nevertheless, it’s great to see Logan a changed man, albeit one who still goes on bromance dates with Dick Casablancas.
Finally, I love how the books do service to the hardcore fans of the series by dropping in mentions of previous characters, cases and incidents from the show. And it serves as a recap for those who haven’t watched the series (WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!) but have started the books.
Mr Kiss and Tell was more about the journey than the destination – we find out who the perpetrator is around halfway through, but it’s getting him proven guilty that’s the problem. The case also wasn’t as front and centre as it was in the previous book, what with everything else going on, but I found I was so invested in all the betrayals, tensions and Neptune politics that it didn’t bother me.
All in all, another strong instalment in the Veronica Mars series. Live long and prosper, I say!
ARC received from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.