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Book Review: Mr. Monk Is a Mess by Lee Goldberg

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Fans of USA Network’s Monk series will recognize the fastidious Mr. Monk in Lee Goldberg’s book Mr. Monk is a Mess. The Obsessive-Compulsive detective solves mysteries by recognizing patterns and disruptions. His flair for fear often puts him in grave danger. While he’s not afraid of accusing dangerous psychopaths of murder, Adrian Monk is terrified of germs, cracks in sidewalks, poop, and tilted paintings.

Before the series finale in 2009, Goldberg began working on a series of books featuring the TV characters. Producers adapted the first book, published in 2006, into a series episode. Mr. Monk is a Mess is the 14th book in the mystery series.

At the beginning of this saga, Mr. Monk and his assistant, Natalie Teeger, are police officers in Summit, New Jersey. Their good friend and former San Francisco cop, Randy Disher, has invited them to join the force on a temporary basis. They are happy to oblige. After all, it allows them more time to spend with Sharona, Monk’s former assistant and Randy’s live-in girlfriend. Randy invites them to join the New Jersey force permanently. Natalie and Monk fly back to San Francisco to pack their bags.

But when Natalie finds a dead woman in her bathtub, their plans suddenly go awry. Money from an FBI operation also turns up in Natalie’s apartment. Then the girlfriend of Monk’s brother, Ambrose, disappears. When you think these things couldn’t possibly be connected, think again.

There are plenty of funny lines and plots twists, similar to the TV series. But this book offers plenty more than the hour-long program. As a result, the book is a light but satisfying romp through the world of Adrian Monk.

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