Monday, January 12, 2009

Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants

As I've said before (here and here), I've never seen an episode of Monk. Yet I have a great time reading Lee Goldberg's novels based on the series (and I'm not even reading them in the order of their publication).

I don't think a book in this series will ever get an Edgar nomination. Why? Maybe it's greatest drawback is that it's a tie-in. Tie-ins don't get a lot of respect. Too bad, because people who don't read them often miss a real treat. Also, there's not a lot of heavy-duty angst. There's some, for sure. Monk's backstory, and Natalie's too, for that matter, are full of it, but Goldberg doesn't dwell on it. Which is just fine. Some would say the book's not serious enough. Not true. There's social commentary aplenty. It's just not harped on, and it's not the main point.

This book's about the return of Sharona, Monk's first assistant. Natalie's upset and jealous, and when she finds out Sharona's husband is accused of murder, she's not sure she wants Monk to investigate. He does, however, and, as usual, he solves a couple of other cases along the way. Then he runs into another big-time case, and the story seems to take off in a different direction. {SPOILER ALERT} If you've ever read more than a couple of mystery novels, you know already that the cases are connected. {END OF SPOILER ALERT} In the end, Goldberg gives us two different solutions to several crimes, with each solution using all the clues to point to entirely different culprits. And then there's (sort of) a third just for good measure.

A great touch in this one is the in-joke use of (sort-of) real-life author Ian Ludlow. This is metafiction of a high order. Not that it's the funniest thing in the book, which is plenty funny all the way through. Check it out.

12 comments:

Rie Sheridan Rose said...

Aw, you should at least take advantage of one of the innumerable marathons to see one or two episodes. They are really quite fun.

Scott Parker said...

(squinting eyes to make sure I don't ruin the story with the spoiler) Now this is a book I'd like to read. I really liked Sharona and Natalie, too. I loved the show at the beginning but gradually trailed off. Ditto for Dead Zone, too.

Dave Zeltserman said...

"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" also does a good job of detailing every hardboiled mystery trope, including the two threads that end up connected,

Bill, I'd recommend also watching Monk --but skipping ahead to the Natalie episodes. They're really a lot of fun, and some of the episodes have some very nice mystery plotting.

Anonymous said...

MONK is in its final season in 2009 so I wonder if we'll keep seeing more MONK books being published.

--George Kelley

Bill Crider said...

I think I saw on Lee's blog that he has contracts for at least three or four more.

Janet Rudolph said...

I love the Monk books, but I also love the TV series. I've seen all the episodes, and except that they're not filmed her in San Francisco where the series is set, I've enjoyed them. Lee Goldberg is Toastmaster at Left Coast Crime in Hawaii, March 7-12, 2009, and I'll be interviewing him. Actually I'll just be letting him talk. He's a great raconteur.

Lee Goldberg said...

Bill,

Thank you so much for all the nice things you said about TWO ASSISTANTS. I've tackled the issue you raised about tie-ins and Edgars on a post on my blog today.

As for future MONK books...MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP comes out in July, MR. MONK IN TROUBLE (which I am writing now) comes out in December, and there will be at least two more books after that, one in July 2010 and December 2010.

The July 2010 book comes out during the final batch of MONK episodes. The December book will be the first one to arrive after the conclusion of the series.

Lee Goldberg said...

Dave,

Were you the "Dave" who supplied the title "MR. MONK IS CLEANED OUT" on my blog? If so, I've chosen that as the title for the July 2010 book.

Lee

Bill Crider said...

Obviously the books have a lot of fans, and I expect them to continue for a long time after the series is gone.

Devid said...

Monk is my all time favorite tv show.The Show is quite interesting and Funny.Monk is Playing very good Role in this show.I missed some of the episodes of the show So i was Looking to download monk episodes.I got a wonderful Source to watch the show.

deron said...

I just love to Watch Monk Episodes online. Its one of the best show and I like it very much.

rookie said...

Monk is an American police procedural comedy-drama mystery television series created by Andy Breckman and starring Tony Shalhoub as the title character, Adrian Monk. It originally ran from 2002 to 2009 and is primarily a mystery series, although it has dark and comic touches. I love this show and always catch Monk Episodes Online.