I've always been a Veronica Mars fan. The TV channels I had access to didn't air the show so I followed it on DVD boxed sets, caught up in the performances and the alien world of Neptune High and a female lead that I believed in. Later, watched the movie and was relieved that they'd let Veronica grow up and that they hadn't made a mess of it. When I heard that the series reboots this year, I decided to give the novels a try.
I've never read of novel-of-the-show before. I was surprised at how well it worked. Of course, that might be because I'm filling in all the blanks in the text with memories of the show but mostly I think it's because the writing is smooth and fast and carried me along.
The most surprising thing was the impact of Veronica being all grown up. In this story, she's investigating the disappearance of a young girl spending Spring Break at Neptune. The start of the story is high-grade neo-noir. Then it gets personal.
Veronica goes to the party house the girl's disappeared at and it's very clear she's a generation older than them and sees the party differently. I didn't understand this kind of partying even when I was the right age for it and it's a mystery to me now. Veronica understands it, makes no judgement on it, but stands outside of it the way she stands outside most things.
The main difference with grown-up Veronica (and perhaps with the novel format) is how clearly Veronica sees the girl who has gone missing and the effect of her disappearance on others. It snapped me out of slick, witty, neo-noir and into something much more human. at this rate, I'll be moving on to the second book in the series.