Mr. Monk Is a Mess by Lee Goldberg(4 out of 5)
Lee Goldberg’s continued to write the Monk novels, years after the USA Network show ended. I’m always glad to read one, because it was a series I enjoyed and was sad to see leave the airwaves. I’m sure part of that was it was just time to call it a day. From the direction the novels are now taking, I feel as if Goldberg is leading up to ending the series soon.
Perhaps the most telling thing is that this novel sees Monk and Natalie, his long-suffering personal assistant and friend, moonlighting as police officers in Summit, New Jersey, with Sharon and Disher, who moved there several books back. Moonlighting perhaps is too light of a word, because it becomes apparent quickly that Natalie wants to accept the full time job. She heads back to San Francisco to make her decision known to all and finalize everything, and finds out that not only was someone borrowing her house, but they’ve been murdered in her bathtub. Throw in Monk’s agoraphobic brother Ambrose, his hacker girlfriend Yuki, several appearances by Natalie’s college-age daughter, and a strange postal service worker named Irwin, and you have quite the cast of supporting characters. Monk still doesn’t approve of Yuki’s relationship with Ambrose, but when she disappears without explanation, he’s forced to help Natalie figure out what happened to her, for his brother’s sake.
Does Monk get his man? Is Yuki found? Does Natalie take the job and move to New Jersey? Does Monk? You have to read to find out. The books just get better and better. The ending on this one really leaves you wondering where it’s going next. I hope it’s not going away- for a long, long while.