Audiobook Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan LineThe Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas
Narrator: Kristen Bell
Length: 8 hrs, 42 mins
Series: Veronica Mars #1
Published by Random House Audio on March 25, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

The first book in an original mystery series featuring twenty-eight-year-old Veronica Mars, back in action after the events of Veronica Mars: The Movie. With the help of old friends—Logan Echolls, Mac Mackenzie, Wallace Fennel, and even Dick Casablancas—Veronica is ready to take on Neptune’s darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts.

The option to review this bad boy came to my inbox on the same day that I learned when my free download of the Veronica Mars movie (because I supported the Kickstarter) would arrive. Basically, it was like Christmas in March. I had NO idea they were doing Veronica Mars books, and obviously I was thrilled. Now, I want to rate The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line all of the stars, because I’m so glad to have more, in any form. However, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, while good enough for me to have really enjoyed it, wasn’t Veronica Mars at its best for a couple of reasons. That said, I stick by my desire for more of these books.

Don’t get me wrong. The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is definitely fun, and, if you’re a fan, you’re not going to leave the book unhappy. I’m not. I may whine a bit here, but ultimately the important thing is that I will read every one of these they put out, and I will like it. Partly, a book is doomed to be disappointing, because we don’t have the actors we’ve come to love. Not much of a visual reader, the experience of reading about the characters of Veronica Mars is quite distinct from watching them. That may not be the case for some of you, but I miss getting to look at their faces (particularly Logan’s face).

Speaking of Logan, there was not enough Logan in this book. More Logan. Add more Logan and this would have been a four star read for me for sure. He’s present so minimally, as are a number of the main cast members. While it’s nice to see them, the roles of Eli Navarro, Dick Casablancas and Logan are so minimal as to be pretty much pointless. It felt like they wanted to get everyone in there, so they made cameos for them, but having an important character show up to not do anything is a bit frustrating as a reader.

These qualms aside, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line fulfilled my needs. First off, the audio is narrated by Kristen Bell, who’s obviously the perfect choice. She does pretty good imitations of the intonations of particular characters, but doesn’t do any voices per se. Since the show had Veronica’s voice-over narration, the third person narration by Bell doesn’t seem as odd a change as it might have.

The new book series and Veronica are both trying to find their footing, as Thomas and Graham put forth what Veronica’s adult life as a PI will be like. The book does its best work in establishing her changing relationships. She and Keith are perhaps their most at odds ever, because he never wanted this life for her. Meanwhile, Mac quit her high-paying job to work with Veronica, but there’s not enough business to pay the bills, let alone pay Mac what she deserves. Plus, Logan’s at sea, and Veronica’s lonely. Being back in Neptune is an awkward adjustment.

The mystery itself is mostly pretty good and of the same high drama, high stakes sort that the show thrived on, despite their unlikeliness most of the time. But, come on, if you’re reading this, you’re a fan and you know what’s coming. The biggest letdown from a plot perspective is that Veronica gets the villain to monologue when the villain should instead be getting out of Dodge, which is such a hackneyed writing technique.

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line isn’t up to the standards of the first two seasons, but it’s solidly within season three territory, only with the correct ship asail. Fans who want to pretend away season three AND the movie won’t like it. If you’ll take Veronica Mars anyway you can get it, then you must have this.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Veronica Mars rocking out

9 responses to “Audiobook Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line”

  1. I agree with a lot of your thoughts. I also listened to the audiobook which I think was an excellent choice. I completely agree about missing Logan, Dick, and Weevil. In particular those last two because they seem like people who would be connected with this particular mystery and their parts were so minimal. While I loved the book I was a little disappointed by the mystery because it felt convoluted. There was so much that was not at all connected to the big reveal. Great review! I posted mine yesterday.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish WishlistMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, I feel like they could have done something pertinent to the mystery plot, but they really weren’t involved. And Weevil just happened to see her. I mean, better than nothing, but not the well-integrated plot I was expecting. The mystery was definitely a little convoluted, but I think VMars just does that sometimes.

  2. Okay, I still want to read this, even though it wasn’t as amazing as you were hoping for. And I definitely want to listen to the audiobook because YAY Kristen Bell!
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren’t Books) That I’d Like To OwnMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Ha, well, I was hoping for everything ever. It’s still totally fun and I encourage fans to read it. :-p

  3. I read this book and could definitely hear Kristen Bell’s voice “narrating” as I read. I did miss Weevil and Logan in this one, though I understood Logan’s absence because of the timeline. And yay for Mac! I guess I just wanted more all the way around but it was a fun addition to the VM collection.
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Waiting On…Ann Aguirre’s Awesome August OfferingsMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, I get why Logan was absent, but even when she called him he barely got to say anything and it made my shippy heart sad.

      Mac, however, was fully present and awesome.

  4. Meg says:

    WHY NO LOGAN? WHY NO WEEVIL? WHY NO DICK? Still want to read though because VMars, but seriously.
    Meg recently posted…Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Profile

  5. I will read it no matter what because VERONICA MARS. That is all.
    I really need to purchase this asap. I liked your honesty for sure, and I may feel the same way, but I’m still pretty sure that I’ll still like it.
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