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Literature / Veronica Mars

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The ongoing follow-up novel series based on the television series Veronica Mars and its Big Damn Movie finale. The novels are co-written by Rob Thomas, the creator of the show, and follow Veronica and many other returning characters after the events of the concluding movie. Therefore, beware unmarked spoilers for both the series and the film.

So far, there have been two titles released in the series:

  • "The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line" by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham (March 2014)
  • "Mr Kiss and Tell" by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham (January 2015)


Tropes in the novels include:

  • Ascended Extra: Norris Clayton, a high school bully whom Veronica (and the FBI) once misidentified as a potential domestic terrorist, appeared in a grand total of one episode in the original TV run, and wasn't in the movie. However, in the books it's revealed that he cleaned up his act significantly, joined the local PD after graduation, and has a significant supporting role in both novels as Veronica's latest Friend on the Force.
  • The Beard: Two examples in The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line:
    • Implied with Tanner Scott and Lianne. Though it's not explicitly stated whether he married her for this purpose, having a wife and new son in tow surely made it much easier for Tanner and Aurora to pull off a con with a high media profile when the opportunity came their way, since it made them seem like more of a respectable nuclear family, and might have stopped any old creditors who knew them as a father-daughter team from recognising them.
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    • Zigzagged with Aurora and her gay male best friend: he's openly gay from the start of their friendship and so she never pretends to be his girlfriend, but it turns out that was the Beard: in fact they are a couple, and used his presumed homosexuality to con Aurora's parents into sanctioning "sleepovers" and weekends away that they'd never have approved of if they knew they two were sexually involved. Really, it's just a short step from this to faking Aurora's second abduction and screwing over Tanner for his ill-gotten ransom money.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Keith gets to reprise his role as this from the series at the end of The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line. Made all the more badass by the fact that he can't walk without a cane at the time.
  • Christmas Rushed: The first novel was released on the same day as the movie, with the second novel announced in an interview with Rob Thomas the same week.
    • Release Date Change: However, the second novel was eventually delayed from October 2014 to January 2015. Whether this was a direct result of the above trope, or whether some other factor came into play, is unknown.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In Mr. Kiss and Tell Veronica has caught the bad guy, but Grace has to drop out of school because she couldn't afford her tuition. She's also had to reveal herself as an escort to her friends and family. Lamb is ousted from office, but Keith is wary of the new sheriff. Weevil's friendship with the Mars family is shaken. While Veronica admits she's in love with Logan, she's uncertain how their relationship will last with him away and in danger with the Navy.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Some reviewers of The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line have pointed out that the second missing girl being revealed as Veronica's step-sister via her Missing Mom Lianne had no actual impact on the plot, and seemed to just be a way to re-introduce a character from Veronica's past into the books for added drama. However, it's pretty true to form for the franchise, and for noir mysteries in general come to that, for a case to end up having an unexpected personal significance to the detective; so it's not necessarily out of place.
  • Demoted to Extra: Logan only appears in three brief scenes, via Skype chat with Veronica.
    • In Mr. Kiss and Tell Wallace only appears twice. Dick is only ever mentioned.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The eponymous Mr. Kiss and Tell rapes and chokes escorts because they don't report rapes and if they do, their claims are dismissed. Sheriff Lamb even asks if Grace's rape should be considered shoplifting.
  • Expanded Universe: As with the Big Damn Movie, the books are this for the original TV show.
  • From Bad to Worse: Poor Grace Manning. After spending her childhood abused by her ultra-religious parents, they stopped holding back after Meg's death and Faith/Lilly's kidnapping. She runs away from home and becomes an escort in order to afford college. Then she's raped, tortured and left for dead in a junkyard.
  • False Rape Accusation: Grace accuses a Neptune Grand employee of raping her because she knew he had been deported and there was no way to test for his DNA. She wanted to sue the hotel for her tuition. Grace was however raped, just not by the man she initially accused.
  • Friend on the Force: Deputy Norris Clayton becomes Veronica's only ally within the Sheriff's Department.
  • Happy Ending Override: Following on from the generally positive tone at the end of the movie, there are a number of consequences for the characters that get picked up on:
    • The movie ends with Veronica choosing PI work and a relationship with Logan in Neptune over a stable law career and a life with Piz in New York. While Veronica doesn't necessarily regret any of this, it's clear that her relationship with Keith is under strain due to his disapproval of all of the above, particularly in the first book.
    • Keith himself is still recovering from his near-fatal injuries sustained in the movie. As of the first book, he's still in physiotherapy, unable to return to work, and walks with the aid of a cane.
    • Mac's decision to leave her job at Kane Software to work as Veronica's assistant and technician has some serious real-life repercussions: Mac struggles with the sudden hit to her previously cushy income, while Veronica feels guilty over being unable to pay her friend's wages on time.
    • Weevil giving up on his hard-won family man persona and rejoining his old gang gets a mention in the first book, and becomes a plot point in the second.
  • Hero of Another Story: In "The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line" Logan only appears via Skype because he is deployed in the Persian Gulf as a Naval Aviator. We hear that he is going on a mission (and that he did something to lose his internet access) but only in passing.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Grace Manning and the other escorts in Mr. Kiss and Tell work out of expensive hotels, book their clients through websites and even receive reviews on a Yelp-like service.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: In "The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line", the second missing girl, Aurora, who's also Veronica's step-sister, turns out to be a ruthless example of one: having been her Dad's accomplice for most of her childhood, she's got no compunctions about faking her own copycat abduction, even though it considerably slows down the search for the first victim, who really is missing.
  • Mandatory Line: Nearly every surviving recurring character from the TV show and films shows up for a scene in The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, even if it doesn't strictly advance the plot to have them there.
    • Averted in Mr. Kiss and Tell with Dick, who's only mentioned in passing at one point and never actually shows up in person. Played Straight with Wallace, who only makes two small appearances, and with Madison, who turns up very briefly at the end of one scene. Everyone else has a major role in the plot this time, though.
  • Missing Mom: Veronica's mother was last seen at the end of Season 1 of the TV series, some eleven years prior to the first novel. It's actually a kind of Inversion of this trope, since Veronica has actually moved on from her mother's absence; it's Lianne suddenly coming back unannounced that causes trouble for Veronica and Keith.
    • The second missing girl, Veronica's step-sister Aurora, was primarily raised by her father on his own, since her mother was also a substance abuser. Not that her father was much better, being both an alcoholic himself and a con man.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Played With. The disappearances of Hayley and Aurora turn into something of a media circus, and as white, blonde, American women in their late teens they certainly fit the victim stereotype in this trope to a "T". However, it's never explicitly stated that this is the cause of the media interest, and since no-one of a different profile actually goes missing it's hard to gauge what the reaction would have been.
    • Though this trope is most certainly Exploited by Aurora and her father, when they decide to copycat Hayley's abduction for their con, inspired by Aurora's resemblance to Hayley.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: In The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Veronica visits Cliff to get some information from him, even bringing him lunch. When he sees that, Cliff asks Veronica, "How cheap do you think I am?", before remembering who he's dealing with, immediately adds, "Don't answer that."
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Veronica and Leo allow Sweetpea to beat Bellamy to the point of hospitalization in order to get him to confess to rape/murder. They justify their actions by not watching it, allowing themselves deniability.
  • Too Much Information: In The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Keith jokingly asks Veronica if there are any MILF's in the market for a cripple, and Veronica implores him never to use the term MILF in front of her ever again.
  • We Do Not Know Each Other: Veronica and Lianne initially choose to hide their connection from the latter's husband and their six-year-old son, since the kid is already dealing with enough from having his other half-sister go missing, and they only get back in touch for professional purposes anyway.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: There is some... ambiguity, to say the least, about the timeline of Veronica Mars post-TV series that really starts to show up in the novels. Most obviously is the question of exactly when events are taking place: the original show ran from 2004 to 2007, with Veronica graduating from high school in 2006 (with a helpful "Class of '06" banner in the background). Though the film was released in 2014, it takes place at Veronica's ten-year high school reunion, which would seem to imply the film is set in 2016, and there's nothing in the movie that explicitly contradicts that. However, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line mentions the current year as 2014 several times.
    • Doubling as a Series Continuity Error: There's also the fact that the first novel is set during Spring Break, and is explicitly stated to take place about 6-8 weeks after the movie; which would furthermore put Veronica's finishing her law degree and attending her high school reunion at quite an odd time of year (around early February - an unusual time for a postgrad to be sitting final exams or for a large group of adults to be available to return home for extended visits).
    • Then there's the scene where Veronica attends Mass in Mr. Kiss and Tell and the greeting used is from the pre-2012 translation. Probably just ineptitude, as the authors get several other details wrong. (Did they not know anyone Roman Catholic?)
  • Xanatos Gambit: Aurora's plan in The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is to fake her own abduction twice: first holing up in a motel with the aid of her dad while he fakes her disappearance for the media, then again with the help of her secret boyfriend to make her dad think she's been kidnapped for real from her hiding place. Her reasoning being that no matter what the outcome, she'll get a cut of the ransom money, and quite possibly a higher percentage than her dad originally planned to give her. Unfortunately for her, she didn't quite factor in the combined detective skills and general badassery of Veronica and Keith Mars.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: In Mr. Kiss and Tell, when Logan offers Veronica bagels, Veronica responds, "Three years I lived in New York - three! I know from bagels, bubelah (sweetie, or friend). And now you want I should eat this Trader Joe's chazzerai (junk)?", to which Logan responds, "Sesame it is, extra schmear (spread)."