Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Review: Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii by Lee Goldberg (Monk #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great Insight into the TV characters
Cons: Plot gets a little sidetracked occasionally
Bottom Line:
If Monk is around
No vacation from murder
But that's fun for us

Mr. Monk and the Killer Coconut

Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii is the second tie-in novel based on Monk, a TV show on the USA Network. Just like in the show, Adrian Monk is brilliant detective forced to deal with obsessive compulsive disorder as well as many different phobias. To help him function in his day to day life, he has an assistant, Natalie Teeger.

Natalie is ready for a vacation. Fortunately, her best friend is getting married in Hawaii and is giving Natalie a paid week in Hawaii if she'll come to be maid of honor. The biggest problem is telling her boss.

When Natalie actually leaves for her trip, she is shocked to find her boss on the plane with her. Yep, he can't take the thought of a week without an assistant and is crashing her vacation.

Even worse, after the wedding, Monk stumbles on a crime scene. Helen Gruber, a fellow guest at the resort, was killed when a coconut fell from a palm tree onto her head. The police are ready to rule it an accident until Monk points out some flaws with the crime scene. Before Natalie knows it, her vacation is over as Monk assists the local police in their search for a killer.

After loving the first Monk novel, I was looking forward to this one. It didn't disappoint in the least. I found myself chuckling, grinning, and laughing the entire way through the book. Once again, author Lee Goldberg has expertly captured the spirit of the TV show.

Since the bulk of the book takes place in Hawaii, series characters Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher are only in a couple scenes. This allows the book to focus more on Natalie and Monk's relationship. Even though Monk is Natalie's employer, she has grown to really care for him. There are several touching scenes that showcase how great their relationship truly is. Additionally, the story gives us a chance to get to know Natalie better with some time spent focused on her back story. Anyone who still hasn't warm up to the character on the TV show will have a different view of her after reading this book.

Having previously set one of his Diagnosis: Murder novels in Hawaii, Lee Goldberg decided to reuse some things. Specifically, Detective Kealoha and the resort that is the focus of the action previously had to deal with Dr. Mark Sloan. This is fun trivia, but you don't need to have already read The Death Merchant to understand anything here.

Mr. Goldberg always creates a great mystery for his characters to solve, and this book is no exception. There are more distractions in the way of other, smaller cases then I would normally like, but this is a minor complaint since it rarely slows the main story down for long. Beside, the asides are just as entertaining as the main story. The ending caught me by surprise, always a plus in my book.

If you enjoy the TV show at all, don't pass Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii up. You'll thank me later.

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

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