As I keep saying (here, here, and here), I get a big kick out of the Lee Goldberg's series of Monk tie-in novels, in spite of the fact that I still haven't ever seen the TV show. I know many of you have recommended in the comments that I watch it. Maybe I will, one of these days. But right now, I want to talk about another book.
In Mr. Monk Goes to Germany, Monk has a crisis. His shrink, Dr. Kroger, is going to Germany for a conference. This means that Monk will have to miss his weekly meetings. Monk pretty much falls apart at the prospect, so much so that Captain Stottlemeyer fires him. Monk determines that his only way out is to go to Germany for his regular meeting with Dr. Kroger. To face the 12-hour flight, he takes the experimental drug Dioxynl, which eliminates his symptoms and turns him into the life of the party, which is what the flight becomes. Monk in lederhosen? You betcha.
Naturally Monk drags Natalie Teeger, his assistant and the narrator of the books along, and naturally there's a murder for him to solve when they get there. It's connected to a man with six fingers that Monk spots in the town of Lohr, where the conference is held. It was a six-fingered man who planted the bomb that killed Monk's wife, Trudy, and caused him to become the person he is.
If that sounds like a lot of plot, it is, but the book reads smoothly and quickly, with plenty of laughs and a smile on every page. Which is quite an achievement, considering that Monk is in reality a sad case, a slave to his phobias and compulsions. Even Natalie loses control in this one, but to good effect. And at the end, well, she pulls quite a stunt. I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that the next book in the series is set in France. Sitting in hospital waiting rooms is no fun at all, but Mr. Monk Goes to Germany brightened my time in them this week, and it might brighten your day, too. Check it out.