The new book is exactly what the title says it is, a road novel. When Adrian Monk decides that he wants to get his brother, Ambrose, out of the house (no easy task, as Ambrose has nearly as many hang-ups as Adrian and never leaves the house), Adrian's assistant, Natalie, reluctantly goes along with the scheme. Soon Natalie and the Monk brothers are on the road in a big motor home with Natalie at the wheel. Pure comedy gold, sure, but there are also some touching moments, such as Adrian's step outside the motor home. And we find out that Natalie has a phobia of her own, one that she's reluctant to reveal.
Along the way, this oddball crew sees a lot of sights (the Grand Canyon and Bubblegum Wall, among others; imagine Monk's horror at the latter). They meet a lot of interesting characters, too, and as the journey continues, you might even forget for a moment that you're reading a mystery novel. Sure, there are murders. Wherever Monk goes, there are murders. But Natalie drags him away from them before he can get involved. It's not easy, but she does it.
And there are adventures, one of which leads them to meet a Sheriff's deputy named Ford. We're not told what his first name is, but I have a feeling he might be related to a Texas lawman with the same last name.
The jokes are funny. The human relationships are serious and treated with dignity and respect, and the mystery aspect is . . . solidly there. I can say no more. Okay, that's a lie. I can say that this is another fine entry in a spin-off series that's taken on a life of its own. In fact, this book is the first one that picks up after the end of the TV series. I'm looking forward to keeping up with the adventures of Monk and Natalie for a long time to come. While the TV show is in endless reruns, those two characters will be living out their lives in ways that are bound to be well worth reading about.