Once again, Goldberg expertly sails along the fine line of character quirks that make Monk so infuriating, and yet so endearing. His obsessions with order and cleanliness are on full display here. As usual, they are enough to make you want to give up on him completely and leave him to his scrubbing and reorganizing (as the long-suffering Natalie has often done). But, again as usual, Goldberg balances these irritations with enough reassuring humor and sheer crime-solving fun that you find yourself cheering for Monk by the conclusion.
But, wait — there’s more! The author includes several excerpts from Guthrie’s recollections of Artemis Monk and the crimes he solved in the old days of Trouble. These serve as full-fledged short stories within the novel — a sort of “Monk in the Old West” bonus, every bit as entertaining and fun as the present-day story itself.