About the Book

Title: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2)
Published: 2015
Series: Veronica Mars
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: An Improvement
BFF Charm: Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes
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

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

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

A machine that says "flashbacks"

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!!!

Golden retriever looking at camera while being hugged by a man

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

Leo sitting at his police desk.

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 folding her arms and looking superior

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?

A no symbol over a picture of Wallace

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.”

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 is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.