Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Mr. Monk on the Couch by Lee Goldberg (Monk #12)


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: A new story with old friends
Cons: None for me
Bottom Line:
Monk still on the case
Using the strangest of clues
To solve the murders




Mr. Monk and the Strange Clue

Monk may have ended its successful run on the USA Network, but the characters live on in the tie in novels written by Lee Goldberg.  Mr. Monk on the Couch is the twelfth novel he's written with these characters and it's the second set after the series ended.  And for fans like me who still miss the show, it's a great fix.

The show was a light mystery that followed Adrian Monk.  He used to work for the San Francisco police as a homicide detective until his obsessive compulsive disorder grew to be too much.  Now, he consults with the police with the help of his assistant Natalie.

When Monk and Natalie are called to the scene of a death by natural causes, Monk isn't at all interested.  After all, there's no mystery to solve.  However, Natalie is intrigued by the picture he is holding and even more so when his ID turns out to be a fake.  Determined to solve the mystery of who the name was on her own, Natalie takes the few clues she has and begins digging.

Meanwhile, a series of brutal murders are happening not too far from Natalie's house.  Each one is obviously related but there is no evidence connecting them.  Then Monk makes a startling connection.  Is he correct?  Will that help them catch the killer?

In reality there are two different cases going on here, the one that Monk solves and one that Natalie is interested in solving.  It was interesting to see Natalie step up and take an active role in a case.  She's trying to prove something to herself, and it's a logical step for the character.  Both of these stories weave in and out of each other.  Neither takes over the book for very long, and I was intrigued to see how both of them would end.  The climaxes were satisfying.  I figured pits and pieces of the story out for myself, as I often do with these books, but there were still pieces I needed the characters to fill in for me.

But what I found most interesting here are the characters.  Monk is still Monk, and I doubt he will ever change that much.  But there are some changes to supporting characters that I found interesting and intriguing.  I have a feeling this will be played out in future books, and I can't wait to see where it goes.  I also enjoyed the new character of Lieutenant Devlin.  She was introduced in the last book as Randy Disher's replacement.  She doesn't appreciate Monk the way the other characters in the books do.  It adds an interesting dynamic that is quite fun.

As always, these books are very fast reads.  I breezed through it in a couple of days, and it left me anxious for the next one.

Mr. Monk on the Couch is the next best thing to a new season of Monk.  It's the characters we know in a new adventure that uses them well.

Interested in reading more?  Since this is Monk, you'll have to read the Monk Novels in order.

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