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Veronica Mars (2): An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas: Mr. Kiss and Tell
     

Veronica Mars (2): An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas: Mr. Kiss and Tell

4.6 29
by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
 

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In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

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

Overview

In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

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?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804170727
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/20/2015
Edition description:
Media Tie
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
191,735
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE
 
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.
 
A grimy white van trolled slowly through the east edge of town, where Zen landscaping gave way to weed-strewn lots. There were no millionaires’ homes here—no boutiques, no surf shops, no post-op resorts for wealthy nip/tuck patients. Out here were prefab houses propped on cinderblocks, biker bars, chop shops. The buildings were all sun-bleached and dingy, the roads speckled with potholes that sent the van bucking on its worn-out shocks.
 
Frank Kozlowski was a junk dealer, just like his old man had been. His late wife always liked to say he was in “antiques,” but ninety percent of what he found was well and truly junk—broken appliances he stripped for parts, scrap metal he recycled at a buck a pound. But every so often he found something really good. In a town like Neptune, where the wealthy always had more than they knew what to do with, a guy with wheels and initiative could make out like a bandit. High-end furniture that just needed reupholstery or refinishing; designer clothes with minor stains and tears. Paint-by-numbers art, antique road signs, and metal lunch boxes with ’70s-era cartoon characters on the front. He salvaged the best of it and resold it from his garage, mostly to young, Tyrolean-hatted guys and buzz-cut girls in resale mom jeans who used words like “naive” and “authentic” to describe his wares. Kozlowski didn’t mind—or in most cases even notice—the affectation. These kids kept the mortgage paid and the fridge stocked with beer.
 
He drove slowly through the rain, alert for any kind of glimmer from the underbrush. A rosary swayed back and forth from his rearview mirror, almost in time with the wipers. In the passenger seat, his little wire-haired mutt, Gus, sat at attention, ears pricked forward. It was just after seven a.m. and he’d already been out here for two hours. So far all he’d found was a stack of warped two-by-fours, a brass drawer pull, and a molded plastic chair pocked with cigarette-burn stigmata.
 
But the business was like that. Some mornings were a bust. Other mornings, the junk fairy lit a path at your feet and led you to something special. That’s what really got him out of bed at four in the dark, cold-ass morning. Not so much the promise of cash as that into-the-red spike of adrenaline, the thrill of the next big find. The way a single magic discovery could vindicate a hundred shitty, wasted trips. He’d never been able to explain that to Nell. She always groaned when he came back with rusted, filthy roadside dross. “Jesus, Frank, why can’t you just hit up estate sales like everyone else? Flea markets. Thrift shops. This stuff is worthless.”
 
Worthless. The word—the very idea—left him dumb-struck. Nothing was worthless. Not if you knew who needed it. Not if you knew how to salvage it. She’d never really appreciated that.
 
Still, that road went both ways. He’d been startled by the silence in the house in the year since she’d died (emphysema; she’d never been able to give up the fucking cigarettes), startled by how hard it was to sleep without her cold feet on his calves all night. They’d never had any kids. Now it was just him and Gus and a restless, edgy energy that sent him pacing from room to room and woke him in the pre-dawn chill, hounding him out of the house and into the junkyards and abandoned buildings fringing Neptune. He never thought to call the feeling grief.
 
Now, cruising along the empty road, his mind drifted. He thought about the donuts he always picked up on the way home, and the hot shower he’d take after unloading the shit from his van. Gus would need a bath too, after the rain and mud. He’d just about decided to throw in the towel and head home when he saw it.
 
There.
 
He eased his van onto the shoulder and killed the engine. The road banked sharply downward toward a lot fringed with buckwheat and sumac, a scraggly patch of land with a faded for sale sign nailed to a post. The sign had been there at least a decade. This wasn’t exactly prime real estate, situated on the edge of town in the empty miles between a ramshackle trailer park and the Balboa County Youth Correctional Compound. Half of Neptune seemed to use it as a cost-effective dumping ground, making it a regular stop on Kozlowski’s circuit. He’d found some good stuff in that lot over the years. A box of dog-eared Playboys. A six-foot fiberglass cheeseburger from a long-defunct drive-through. The front half of a ’68 Buick Skylark that he’d sold to a restora-tion company. And now he’d caught a glimpse of something through the gloom—something that might just be worth stumbling down that bank for.

Gus jumped lightly out of the van and took off running, his tail flailing right and left. He loved the hunt as much as Kozlowski, sensing his master’s excitement and feeding off it. Kozlowski stepped out after the dog, slamming the door behind him. Icy needles of rain stung his cheeks and neck. He hunched his shoulders against the cold, his boots sinking down in the mud. For a moment he couldn’t see anything, and he wondered if he’d imagined it. But then he found it again—a dirty pink shape, half hidden in the sedge. A dress form, perhaps a mannequin? His heart gave the familiar little stutter that almost always meant a good score.
 
The man knelt alongside Gus and patted the dog’s trembling rump. “What do you think? Worth getting wet for?”
 
Gus whipped around in a tight, fast little circle. That was good enough for Kozlowski.
 
The incline was steep and slippery. He edged his way down, leaning back to keep from going ass-over-teakettle. Gus scampered ahead of him and then paused at the base of the hill, shaking water from his coat. Kozlowski’s eyes locked in on the thing in the field. Definitely a mannequin—he could see the arms and legs splayed out in the mud. Cleaned up and restored it might get him a C-note from a vintage shop or a tailor. And there was the outside chance it was worth real money. He’d heard of antique mannequins going for seven, eight hundred a pop, sometimes more if it was a rare model in good condition.
 
But even from fifty feet away, this one was looking pretty rough. Its wig was so tangled and dirty he couldn’t guess what the original color might have been. The left arm crooked out at a strange angle to the rest of the body, probably busted. Dark streaks of mud wreathed the pale figure. Gus darted ahead across the field toward the thing, running in wild circles around it for a moment as Kozlowski approached.
 
He was a few yards away when the hair on the back of his neck suddenly shot up. Something felt wrong about the whole scene. The mannequin’s skintight dress was hiked up around its waist, its sculpted buttocks bare to the sky. Another time he might have thought it was funny, trying to imagine why the hell the manufacturers had designed a dress-store dummy with a realistic ass. But here in the rain, splayed out in the mud, it looked so sad—so sick—he felt a creeping unease that crowded out the dollar signs he’d imagined.
 
Gus was pawing at the thing’s torso, a thin whine coming up from his throat. Through the sound of the rain, Kozlowski could hear the distant croak of a raven from the tree line around the lot. He stepped closer, barely noticing the dull throb in his knee or the cold weight of his soaked denim jacket, kneeling down next to the shattered form in the gorse.
 
Two things happened at once.
 
The first was that Kozlowski’s eyes confirmed what some part of his gut already suspected: that the pale peach color was not fiberglass but flesh. That the dress was torn almost to shreds. That the black grime caking the skin was laced with streaks of dark red.
 
The second was that the woman’s left hand—jutting at a grotesque angle from the rest of her body—slowly clenched, fingers curling down into the dirt.
 
She was still alive.

Meet the Author

Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas is the creator of the television series Veronica Mars and the co-creator of the television series Party Down. He lives in Austin with his wife and two children. He hasn’t fully recovered from Ray Allen’s three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

Jennifer Graham

Jennifer Graham graduated from Reed College and received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Her short stories have appeared in The Seattle Review and Zahir. She currently lives in Austin with her husband.

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Veronica Mars: An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas (2): Mr. Kiss and Tell 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Disquietus More than 1 year ago
There are no words for how much I love Veronica Mars. It is my second most favorite TV show of all time, and the characters are beyond beloved. So naturally, when I found out the series would be continued in novel form I was thrilled. Nervous, but thrilled. Now, my only experience with novels for favorite TV shows are the Charmed and BtVS books, both of which while having entertaining plots never seemed to quite get the voices of the characters right-ergo my nervousness. Thankfully the Veronica Mars novels escaped this issue (probably because Rob Thomas co-writes them). I loved loved loved the first one, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line and while Mr. Kiss and Tell wasn't quite as good it still did an excellent job of staying true to the show. The voices of the characters are very true to how they've always been portrayed. Veronica and Keith especially maintain their delightful snark and my favorite father/daughter relationship of all time.  LoVe gave me all the appropriate feels, from delightful squealing to overwhelming angsty feels (you get some backstory of how Logan ended up in the military and okay DYING FEELS PAIN) to concern and joy. There was a scene in the end chapter that had me ready to murder somebody but thankfully that wasn't necessary because Veronica has grown so much and MY BABIES OKAY. So basically the Logan/Veronica in this book was perfect, A+, all the gold stars. The plot was fantastic and it was fun to see familiar faces pop up. Really I only had a few quibbles that kept me from fully enjoying the book. I really was not a fan of Weevil's story line and how the lawsuit played out. Maybe it was just me but it seemed very out of character of Weevil to do. Of course book Weevil is not ten years older and people change so maybe it's totally in character for him. EITHER WAY I DIDN'T LIKE IT.  I also thought there were some scenes/jokes (particularly one involving Logan and Weevil) that just played off as weird and awkward in book form, where they would have been hilarious onscreen. ALSO NEED MORE WALLACE AND DICK OKAY. Basically if you like Veronica Mars or things similar, you will like these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Mr. Kiss and Tell" takes place six months after "The Thousand Dollar Tan Line", Veronica is still in Neptune and more settled than she was when we last left her. While her Dad and Weevil work to take down Sheriff Lamb and his corrupt department Veronica finds herself in the middle of a case she just can't seem to get any leads on.  The Neptune Grand has hired Veronica to prove or (hopefully) disprove a young woman's claim that she was beaten, raped and strangled in their hotel by one of their employees. The only thing is the assault happened months ago, the victim has a fuzzy memory at best and the accused assailant was deported back to Mexico right before the victim identified him. On top of all that the victim won't reveal the name of her long time boyfriend who she was suppose to meet that night.  It's complicated enough without adding in the fact that Veronica has a history with the victim.   Reading "Mr. Kiss and Tell" was like binge watching 8 episodes of Veronica Mars. Rob Thomas know's no bounds when it comes to Veronica and the characters that surround her.  He never leaves a stone unturned or a loose end. All the details are immaculate and with each page it gets better and better.  As I read I could see each character, their mannerisms the way they walk, talk, eat. All down to the tiniest details of how they raise their eyebrows or smirk when no one's watching.  I love how it's never just a random victim, a nameless, faceless nobody who wanders in off the street. There is always a connection, the past colliding head on with the present and future at unstoppable speeds.  And then, of course, there's Logan.  LoVe.  Epic.  Logan Echolls.  Don't get me wrong, I love all the other characters, Mac, Wallace, Weevil, Leo. But if you're a marshmallow, like me, you're heart longs for those Logan and Veronica scenes. This book will not disappoint you on that front.  Hell who am I kidding? It won't disappoint you at all. It's classic Veronica and everyone knows you don't fix what isn't broken.  From her witty comments to her puppy dog eyes and her fiery temper, Veronica Mars is so much more than a character. Whether on the big screen or in print you're instantly sucked into her world and when the credits roll or the last sentence is read you find yourself begging for more.  That is exactly what I find myself doing right now, it's weeks before the release date of "Mr. Kiss and Tell" and I'm already trying to find out when I can get my hands on the third installment.  It's crazy I know, "Then again, you ever hear the one about the junkie who was satisfied with just one more taste of the good stuff? Neither have I."  Until next time,  Ginger In compliance with FTC guidelines I am disclosing that this book was given to me for free to review.  My review is my honest opinion.
Gabmore More than 1 year ago
Starting off, I’m a pretty big fan of Veronica Mars so I don’t think the books could disappoint me at all. I started this book at what I didn’t know was the beginning of a month long slump so it did take me a while. However, I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first. There was less action, but for a while the suspense was killing me! When we finally found out exactly who Mr. Kiss and Tell was, I was mildly surprised. Most of my attention was on how we were going to nail him. I love when the people finally go down. Is it like that for everyone or just me? I did love that there was more Logan. I’ve been team Logan all the way through the whole series. I think my favorite thing ever was Pony. How could you not love a cute little puppy and naming it Pony?! After all the years Veronica has said she wanted a pony. I almost died. The last chapter though…. VERONICA, why? No. This book as a whole was very satisfying for me and I cannot wait for the next one. I need more of the gang. I was a little sad that there was less Dick. Please, Please, Please, Rob Thomas, at least one really good Dick scene in the future. I miss that goofball. All in all, if you love Veronica Mars and have already read book one then, I strongly suggest picking up book two and giving it a go. I have a feeling you will not be disappointed.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
Mr.Kiss and Tell was another great addition to the world of Veronica Mars. I am a huge fan and have been since the show was airing back in the mid 2000s. Seeing the Veronica Mars world told in books brings me so much joy and I really enjoyed this second installment. The mystery aspect was a plus and I enjoyed guessing and trying to figure out (and always failing!) who the perpetrator is.  In Mr.Kiss and Tell, we get to meet many of the old Veronica Mars crew and actually spend time with them. This includes Weevil, as well as Wallace and Mac. I really love the two (V, Wallace, and Mac) and their scenes together were hilarious, as usual. Having Rob Thomas be a part of the book is so important for keeping the authenticity of the characters and their voice. We also see more of Logan, hallelujah! I have been waiting so long for this and was slightly disappointed when all we got were Skype sessions on The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. Logan and Veronica just give me all the good feels. They are one of my favorite tv couples ever and I love them together. So bonus to Mr.Kiss and Tell for finally giving us marshmallows more scenes with those two. This book is a a mystery, and it was definitely an interesting one. It is interesting how even the mysteries (whether victims, accused, or witnesses) always tie in to people we already have seen or caught a glimpse of in the show.  The mystery in Mr.Kiss and Tell definitely made my blood boil. Because it is basically about someone who raped and then physically abused a girl and dumped her like a piece of garbage on the side of a road. I wanted the rapist and abuser to be caught so badly and the book definitely taunted us with those feelings. I like that even with the mystery, multiple stories are still continuing including the problem with the corrupt sheriff's department, as well as Logan's impeding deployment. I definitely enjoyed Mr. Kiss and Tell and I can't wait for more books in this series. 
kimmythegreat More than 1 year ago
ATTENTION FELLOW MARSHMELLOWS!! Veronica Mars is back with a vengeance!! I have been anxiously waiting another book to come out to continue my addiction to Veronica and Logan, and ooh baby!! This book, Mr. Kiss and Tell, picks up where The Thousand-dollar Tan Line left off with Eli "Weevil" Navarro facing serious charges for the shooting of Celeste Kain, Keith Mars investigating the attempted murder on his person, and Veronica and Logan living happily ever after...sigh. Veronica is back in Neptune for good and working as a partner with her dad Keith in the private eye biz, with The Mac Attack as their hacker/researcher/receptionist/all around kick ass go-to person! While the whole gang is gathered in the Mars Investigation office, Veronica is visited by an insurance adjuster representing the Grand Neptune Hotel about a job. Petra Landrose, the owner of the Grand Neptune, recommended Veronica for the case she helped with, and I loosely use the term "help" just a few months ago. As Veronica meets with Joe Hickman, Keith and the others eavesdrop shamelessly. Keith struggles with how he feels about being passed over for his daughter on this job. The case is simple, a woman was attacked at the Grand Hotel and left for dead at another location, but the surveillance misses her leaving, so Joe needs Veronica to find out how she got out of the hotel unseen and with whom...done. Veronica is on board, no biggie...wrong. Once Veronica gets involved in this new case, she learns things, bad things, that happened to the young 19-year old victim that bring back a horrible memory from her own past, and make her more determined than ever to crucify the sick bastard that did this to her. This story brings back some oldies but goodies to the table, that made me feel at home. I miss the television series so much, and reading about the old gang was so wonderful and kept my full attention through the whole sordid deal. Eli aka Weevil goes along with Keith and his attorney Cliff McCormack on a law suit against the Balboa County Sheriff's Department. Keith and Cliff have this evil plan devised in hopes to push what happened to Keith along, while helping Eli out from all that he has lost because of the charges and trial. Veronica tries to keep her karma in check by remaining a law abiding citizen when it comes to dealing with scum, while Logan pulls a number on Veronica that she didn't see coming. I had the pleasure of seeing Wallace, Mac, and Leo again! Mac of course cause she is working for Veronica and Keith, Wallace comes into play for undercover purposes, as usual, and Leo because the case takes Veronica into his territory San Diego. I tell ya, I'm so torn between Leo and Logan as the love interest for Veronica, cause I always liked Leo and thought it really sucked when things ended between them, but Logan, he is no second prize let me tell you! He definitely deserves the winners circle!! Then there was Lianne, and Hunter. Lianne is Veronica's "mother", and Hunter is her half-brother. You can't blame Hunter for who his mom is but geez, I hate that woman! I'm happy to see Veronica is keeping in touch with Hunter, and staying a part of his life. That little boy deserves a big sister like Veronica! Although this case isn't high profile for Veronica, she takes it deadly seriously because of the nature of the crime. Veronica has her scary as hell moments, tear jerking moments, and triumphant moments. Like I said this book does not disappoint! So if you haven't watched the television show Veronica Mars, or watched the movie, or read the books then this is your chance now to start because I tell ya if you love mystery/detective stories, hot guys, super smart and snarky women, than you will love this series! Narrator review: Rebecca Lowman was a first for me on narration. I was disappointed that Kristen Bell did not narrate this book like she had The Thousand-dollar Tan Line, but I was totally open to giving someone else a chance. Rebecca was "ok". She read the book just fine, but didn't act it out, or do the other character voices very well. She had attempted at times to make a unique voice for someone, or express and emotion with emphasis, but fell flat for me. She would have fared better if she was consistent and just read the book all the way through. Like I said, I was ok with her just reading the book, her voice is pleasant, I liked it, but she "tried" to switch it up in spots and "act", bad move. Stick with one method Rebecca and you will get better ratings. I give you 3 Stars, I think 2 Stars is too harsh because it's not like the sound of your voice annoyed me, just your inconsistency.
Clare84 More than 1 year ago
Veronica Mars is back for another case and it's a doozy. Mr. Kiss and Tell was a highly enjoyable and quick read. The subject matter is extremely dark and authors Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham handle the case with an appropriate sensitivity. As in the first book, there's strength in her interactions with her father and friends. Her interactions with both Logan and Weevil are given time to shine and shine they do. Specifically, Veronica's relationship with Logan is one of maturity, love, and yes, a lingering sadness but it definitely works in all its (in their way) traditionally heartbreaking glory. Weevil's entire plot is both heartbreaking and complicated and one I hope to see continue or at least spotlighted in future books. Veronica herself is wonderful in MKAT. She maintains her signature fire and wit with an adult edge. She is still the moody, driven, complicated character we all grew to love in the show and film and she's just a glorious heroine. Thomas and Graham do an excellent job of keeping her human and real. My only real complaint is that sometimes the book felt rushed- characters didn't get enough material or came and went very quickly. The book definitely sets up future installments and I genuinely can't wait for more if they choose to continue the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Veronica Mars since the pilot episode of the show. I can't put into words how happy I am that thanks to the movie and these last two books, the life of Veronica continues. I think the book is extremely well written and easy to read. The story lines are well thought out and fit perfectly within the series. I can't wait for more books to come out, so that the life of Ms. Mars and hopefully one day Mrs. Echolls continues.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't help it. I devour the book and am left begging for more. I love Veronica and be it in tv, movie, or book form I'm always eager to learn of the next chapter in her life!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As much as I loved it I wish there were more chapters. I need more with Veronica and Logan. I love that they are together!
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It is not a TV series any more. Rob Thomas is becoming an author of fun mystery books. Not serious literature but come on how much of that can a voracious reader read before needing fun? Thanks for your contribution to my mystery addiction.
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Liz_Brooke More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book. Fun to read and kept me interested until the end. Recommended that you've been following the series.
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mysterybook_nerd98 More than 1 year ago
* I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. An interesting mystery with likeable characters and snappy dialogue. I wish the tv show was still on but the books are almost as good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just cant get enough of VM.....please keep writing these fun and engaging books! Solid storyline, humorous writing and amazing, familiar characters all make for a very happy Mars fan.
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