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? – Goodreads
If you read my review of the first novel in this series, you know that I absolutely adore Veronica Mars, the series and the character herself. I also liked the first novel a lot and I was coming down from the high of having the movie in my hands. Again, Rob Thomas has helped write this one, and it keeps the voices of the characters on point. Some of the pop culture references Veronica makes feel a little overdone, like when she mentions Yeezy’s second-string bitches to Keith in the beginning, but it still has that Veronica Mars feel. And because this is noir, I spend most of my time wondering in what way Thomas will break my little shipper heart, how he’ll break Veronica and Logan up this time.
Logan. Let’s talk about Logan. Reformed bad boy, military man, learning Arabic and jogging and generally being an adult! This is the stuff fanfic dreams are made of. Logan has become a real person, no longer dominated and overwhelmed by the pain of his past and his name, finally in control and happy and real. It is such a good sight to see.
So the mystery starts off with Veronica’s services being chosen over Keith’s, but that’s okay, because Keith is on his own mission trying to find anyone willing to come forward about a certain deputy with a propensity for planting evidence. Veronica, meanwhile, is saddled with a rape case, the victim of which is an old acquaintance all grown up. We get to see a lot of familiar places, the diner from season one, the church from season two, Mars Investigations, and the Neptune Grand. We see familiar faces too, some briefly, some not, some friendly, some not. You never know who your friends are in Neptune, I guess.
So there’s a lot of focus on the mystery, which is a little different from the last novel, because Keith is no longer recovering from his car accident, Logan is no longer deployed, and the authors no longer have to remind everyone of the awesome partnership that is Mac and Mars. Veronica has her ever-present floating doubts about Logan, but she is so much more grown up now. She does still say things about never wanting to be anyone’s savior, which is very classic Veronica, but she’s moved into a higher level of understanding herself. Which is so nice to see. There’s not much I can give away about the mystery except to say that there are the usual red herrings, dead-ends, and implausible imaging fixes that shows like CSI use. (Enhance. Enhance. Enhance.) There are some good, surprising twists and turns though that really make the story engaging. I liked it, but that’s as far as I can go with it, really. It wasn’t quite as riveting as the first novel, though that may just be because the fervor for a returned Veronica Mars has worn off.
So, in the end, this is a great example of Rob Thomas’s writing, Veronica’s wit and insecurities, and a good old-fashioned Neptune mystery. I enjoyed it for what it was: a bit of fan service.