Whip-smart teen detective Veronica Mars does some off-the-books gumshoeing for a friend in Green’s debut mystery, inspired by the cult mid-2000s TV series.
Veronica may be the least popular student at California’s Neptune High. This is largely due to her unwavering support of her dad, Keith, who accused local billionaire Jake Kane of “holding back” in the murder investigation of Jake’s daughter (and Veronica’s best friend), Lilly. This resulted in Keith’s forced exit from the sheriff’s office and his daughter’s new status as a pariah among her peers. Veronica now works part-time for her PI father and has only one friend, Wallace Fennel. She comes to Wallace’s aid after two masked assailants rob the Sac-n-Pack convenience store where he works. The stolen items include his wallet, which contained basketball-game tickets, which he received courtesy of LeBron James, a teammate at Wallace’s former school. Despite the robbers’ warning to Wallace not to mess with PCH, a local biker gang, Veronica suspects that the culprits may be fellow high schoolers. Soon, she’s interrogating schoolmates to find out who among them doesn’t have a sturdy alibi. There’s potential danger when she later confronts the actual PCH, and also a ticking clock, as the basketball game is a mere week away, and LeBron had promised to introduce Wallace to Cleveland Cavaliers coaches. Green’s novella caters both to fans of the TV show and newcomers. The plot is set early in the series’ first season, and it features numerous secondary characters from the show. The author adequately re-creates Veronica’s endearing snarkiness and affinity for pop-culture references, which many readers will appreciate. Moreover, Green skillfully incorporates the show’s ongoing subplots, most notably Veronica’s harassment at school and her drugging and rape from the previous year, which is still part of an as-yet-unsolved mystery. It’s a solid link to the episodes that also provides added complications for the heroine. Her quest to unmask the robbers is a fairly run-of-the-mill mystery, but the appealing Veronica will make readers come back for future installments.
An admirable tie-in that gives its protagonist all the qualities that made her indelible on TV more than a decade ago.