Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Veronica Mars And The Case Of The Missing Wallace

Okay, Wallace doesn’t really go missing in this book, but he’s not in it nearly enough for Meredith’s satisfaction. 

Veronica Mars And The Case Of The Missing Wallace

BOOK REPORT for Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars Book 2) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Read the review for The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars Book 1) here!

Cover Story: An Improvement
BFF Charm: Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Raymond Chandlerrific
Bonus Factors: Flashback City, PUPPY!, Deputy Marble-Mouth, Max Mac
Anti-Bonus Factor: Wallace, Where You At?
Relationship Status: Forever and Ever, Amen
Veronica Mars Drinking Game Rules: 48

Cover Story: An Improvement

The cover for The Thousand Dollar Tan Line was pretty chintzy-looking, but Mr. Kiss and Tell, while still not great, is better. It's got a bit of that noir/Hard Case Crime/cheap paperback feel to it, but I wish they'd really lean into that aesthetic and deliver some gritty, painterly scandalism, Robert McGinnis-style.

The Deal:

Like The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, the case at the crux of Mr. Kiss and Tell is related to the Neptune Grand. A beautiful young woman is brutally assaulted and raped in the stairwell of the Grand, and V's on the case. But it turns out this isn't just any young woman - it's Grace Manning, aka Meg's baby sister, aka the girl in the closet, now grown up and a freshman at Hearst College with a very uncertain memory of the attack. Veronica must battle her ancient feelings of guilt for leaving that little girl in the not-so-capable hands of Sheriff Lamb, and she's determined to find the man who did this to Grace.

Meanwhile, Wallace, Keith and Cliff are working together on a lawsuit to overturn the current Sheriff Lamb, even more unscrupulous than his brother and predecessor, but the corrupt Sheriff's Office of Neptune will go to any lengths to shut them up.

BFF Charm: Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes

This is still the Veronica we know and love: feisty, loyal, sardonic and brilliant. But she's also gaining some wisdom in her late 20s, balancing out her impetuous passion with - dare I say it?! - a little patience. She's better than ever, is what I'm saying.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Logan's on shore leave and living with V in her cool new Dog Beach apartment, and they're getting it on at every opportunity! But LoVe isn't the only twosome making our hearts race - Veronica and Deputy Leo have quite a flirtation going on here, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't into it.

Talky Talk: Raymond Chandlerrific

I used this description for the first book, and it remains applicable: in addition to Veronica's perfect voice, Graham and Thomas have that old-school detective novel narration down pat. Check out the opening paragraph:

It was raining in Neptune. That was rare, even for early March; the little SoCal city usually boasted blue skies year-round. But the clouds had rolled in off the ocean, and now raindrops pattered across the houses of rich and poor alike, the one great equalizer in a town without a middle class.

Bonus Factor: Flashback City

There are so many flashbacks to the series in this book, subtle and overt and everywhere, and the result is that Neptune really feels like a palpable universe, a place that keeps growing and moving and existing even when we're not there to observe it. For instance, the theatre building at Hearst is named Eloise Gant Theatre Building, presumably after Casey's rich grandma. Some old-timey names that pop up here: Chardo, Norris, Cassidy, the Fitzpatricks, Danny Boyd and more.

Bonus Factor: PUPPY!!!

Yes, Veronica gets a puppy and names the little cutie Pony, because we know Veronica's always wanted a pony.

Bonus Factor: Deputy Marble-Mouth

There is so much Deputy Leo in this book, and I can hear his every line in that sheepish little mumble Max Greenfield gives the character. <3

Bonus Factor: Max Mac

Mac is THE COOLEST, and she's all over these books as V's Q. She cracks me up by continuing to refer to Logan as "Not-Piz," and when Veronica claims that she will drink the fancy victory Scotch at the Mars Investigation offices, instead of the usual rotgut swill Cliff and Keith like, Mac chimes in:

'For the record,' Mac said, 'I also drink Scotch. But I'm not picky. I'll take the victory Scotch, or the Scotch of defeat. Or the rotgut swill.' 

I love you, Mac!

Anti-Bonus Factor: Wallace, Where You At?

Wallace is my favorite character of the Veronica Mars universe, and he is not in this book nearly enough. However, when he does show up, he makes it count. When Mac calls Wallace on Veronica's behalf:

Wallace's voice was instantly wary. 'Funny. This sounds like Mac, but that's the patented Veronica Mars I-need-a-favor tone. Let me guess. You two belles are looking for a strapping black man to do something boring, strenuous or illegal for you?'

And when Veronica tempts him with "a nice warm batch of chocolate chip cookies," Wallace replies, "No chocolate chip. Snickerdoodles. Nonnegotiable."

More of this, please!

Casting Call: 

Plenty of new characters, never before seen in the series or the movie, show up, starting with grown-up Grace Manning, who's gorgeous and tough as hell.

Eliza Taylor as Grace Manning

Her long blonde hair was twisted up at the nape of her neck. She wore a tight blue dress that showed off a double take-worthy figure...Opal blue eyes, heart-shaped face, bee-stung lips - insert 1930s Variety prose here.

And oh yeah, hi there, MAC'S BIO DAD:

Peter Gallagher as Charles Sinclair

Charles Sinclair was tall and lean, with dark hair receding from a craggily handsome face. He wore a suit jacket and a button-down shirt, no tie, and he leaned against the doorway with confident ease. The very picture of middle-aged richfuck entitlement, Veronica thought.

Weevil's attorney:

Hettienne Park as Lisa Choi

The lawyer's name was Lisa Choi, a rising star who projected the riveting charisma and no-bullshit focus of Helen Mirren on Prime Suspect. Veronica had been shocked to learn that the nationally lauded prosecutor with the Hillary pantsuit and black-framed glasses was just thirty-two years old.

The tough broad from Keith's past who's returned to Neptune to run against Lamb in the next sheriff's election (she played the sheriff on Smallville and was tough as can be):

Camille Mitchell as Marcia Langdon

It couldn't possibly be the same Marcia Langdon. But the accompanying photo was unmistakable. She was thirty-plus years older, in military uniform, but he recognized her raptor nose, her heavy jaw. More than anything he recognized her eyes - sharp and hard as a flint spearhead.

And Veronica's little half-brother, who showed up in the first book but I neglected to cast him:

Noah Wiseman as Hunter Scott

In the entryway stood a small boy with sandy blond hair. He was about six years old, in a Batman T-shirt and short pants…She looked into the boy’s eyes. They were light brown, big in his small, serious face.

And finally, Pony! Let's go with this guy:

This guy as Pony

From the other side, a tiny black puppy stared up at them, her head cocked inquisitively to one side.

Relationship Status: Forever And Ever, Amen

I'm not going anywhere. As long as Veronica Mars is around, I'll be there too. 

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my review copy with my own funds. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Mr. Kiss and Tell is available now.

Meredith Borders's photo About the Author: Meredith Borders is a brewpub owner and freelance writer/editor living in Houston. Her dog's middle name is Hermione, and she makes purse decisions based almost entirely on their capacity to hold books.