Not Your Average Detective Story

Tragedy blows through your life like a tornado, uprooting everything, creating chaos. You wait for the dust to settle, and then you choose. You can live in the wreckage and pretend it’s still the mansion you remember. Or you can crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild. Because after disaster strikes, the important thing is that you move on. But if you’re like me, you just keep chasing the storm. 

I was and guess will forever remain a die-hard Veronica Mars fan. That angst ridden teenager on the quest for solving unsolvable cases everywhere held fast to my ever growing need to get the bad guys. If you like a little quirkiness with your mystery, here are a few books and a movie in our collection that although will never replace Veronica Mars, they can sure get you through the withdrawals.

whatwaslostIn What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn, we meet feisty yet withdrawn 10-year-old Kate Meaney who spends her time doing surveillance work at the Green Oaks shopping mall with her sock monkey side kick Mickey. Eager to find a case to solve, she looks for and documents any unusual happenings, but she may have found more than she bargained for. Now it’s 20 years after Kate Meaney has gone missing with no trace as to where, and one possible suspect on the run. Stranger still when Lisa, a manager at Your Music, finds Kate’s monkey behind pipes in a hallway and Kurt, a mall security guard, begins to see glimpses of a little girl on the mall security cameras. These seemingly strangers, the living lost of Green Oaks, soon become connected by this mystery.

theboydetectAs small children, Billy Argo hunted down clues to frontyard mysteries and solved neighborhood cases with his beloved sister, Caroline. But after Billy heads off to college, his sister, a disconnected goth,  meets a tragic end by suicide. Billy is unable to believe his sister capable of such an act and as a result spends the next 10 years of his life in St. Vitus’ Hospital for the Mentally Ill. At the age of 30, Billy must now head out into the real world after the system has paid for enough electroshock therapy and counseling sessions. In The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno, Billy will venture forth on a quest to discover the truth about his sister’s death and the purpose of his own life.

kiss-kiss-bang-bangBased, in part, on the novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them by Brett Halliday, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a hilarious film mystery that had me laughing till the very end … literally. With Val Kilmer playing gay detective Perry, Robert Downey Jr. playing Harry Lockhart (a thief mistaken for an actor), and Michelle Monaghan as the girl next door with a past turned future starlet, these three will have the biggest adventure of all: solving a murder mystery where they all play their roles. And just when you think the case is solved…it’s not because the bodies keep piling up!

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, which is slated to become a movie in 2011. is actually the first of spellmanfilesthree and potentially a fourth book in the Spellman family series. Meet Izzy who had the fortune, or misfortune, to grow up in a private detective family that finds nothing wrong with using their private eye skills on one another. Hired to find out if a woman’s ex-boyfriend is gay, Izzy meets the handsome and charming dentist Daniel Castillo. Sleuthing out the fact that Daniel is in fact not gay, Izzy soon hopes for him to become Ex-Boyfriend #9, but she must maintain this relationship in secret. Of course secrets never stop the Spellman folks and pretty soon Albert and Olivia Spellman hire their 14-year- old daughter Rae to do surveillence on Izzy because nothing rumples up Mrs. Spellman more than a dentist. Add Izzy’s perfect brother, her crazy Uncle Ray, candy binges, blackmail, and missing persons — this is one family that you might be thankful you don’t have!

One thought on “Not Your Average Detective Story”

  1. I am rewatching season 1 of Veronica Mars and this time around, since I know how it all plays out, I am marveling at the masterful plotting and pacing (one season-long storyline strengthened by separate episodic storylines). I know that’s a standard scriptwriting approach, but it doesn’t always work as well– or hang together as well–as it did in VM. Too bad she had to graduate from high school. I lost interest in season 3.

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