Goldberg realizes the obligations he must fulfill in writing tie-ins, and successfully recreates the rhythms and nuances of the television characters on the printed page. But he never cheats his readers. The scenes are well-researched, and the plot is as inventive and vivid as any original story. Additionally, the author adds just enough interior emotion to give the story depth without sacrificing the energetic pace.
His biggest challenge, as always, is Monk himself. For those with only scant knowledge of the TV series or the characteristics of OCD, Monk might seem like an insufferable asshole. But while staying true to these traits, Goldberg manages to bring our sympathies to Monk, first with the humorous observation of his ever- patient assistant and finally when we see Monk fully involved and secure in what he does best: solving murders.
Goldberg also manages to have some fun with a few traditional mystery techniques. Monk’s sharp-eyed observations and detached explanations are positively Holmesian. And one scene recreates a classic “locked room” murder right out of John Dickson Carr.
But like most tie-ins, the bottom-line mission is to entertain. And Goldberg expertly succeeds here as well. Series fans will find much to enjoy and celebrate. And for everyone else there is a neat, surprisingly literate and well-written mystery starring a most unlikely crime solver.