Mr. Monk and the Two Nice Reviews

There are two more nice reviews for MR. MONK AND THE TWO ASSISTANTS out this week in the blogosphere. Barry Ergang of Futures Magazine said, in part:

This is the fourth of Lee Goldberg’s Monk novels that I’ve read. I’ve
enjoyed all of them, but this one is the best to date, in no small
measure because of its fairly-clued solution. The clue, I might point
out, is kept in front of the reader throughout the book, but is
nevertheless elusive—a sign of excellent authorial misdirection. Recommended without reservations.

Debra Hamel at SpikeBooks and at BookBlog says, in part:

I love this series. Sure, Monk is an unrealistic character, and some of
his feats prove a little harder to swallow than others. But they’re
good light mysteries, and more intricate than you’d expect. (This one,
in fact, was so intricate that it became a little confusing at the
end.) What makes the books shine, however, is Monk’s dialogue, which is
spot on and often hilarious.

Thanks Barry and Debra!

3 thoughts on “Mr. Monk and the Two Nice Reviews”

  1. Could there be a spin-off from a spin-off? If it’s good, why not?
    Have finished reading, “Mr. Monk and the Blue Flue” and “Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants” twice and liked the second book much better. “Blue Flu” is a novel that gets better and better as it goes along so that Act 5 is much better than Act 1, but the plot is somewhat composed of episodes and lets the dramatic tension release both in chapter 1 and chapter 2.
    That said, the book redeems itself in chapter 19 and in Act 5. In 19, there is a splendid first-person character analysis done by Natalie on herself (p. 224-226). This reveals the aimlessness of her life and of her inability to find direction or self-knowledge. It isn’t played for laughs and it humanizes her wonderfully. I wanted to put my arm around her and encourage her to take a business course, or even an MBA. The Toronto newspaper, The Globe and Mail, reported in the Business Section yesterday that the average starting salary in the U.S. for MBA grads is $85,000 thousand dollars a year. But what this in-depth character analysis really showed was the book was less about the comedy than about human beings struggling with courage and resourcefulness against their own disabilities and with those of others and with an imperfect world. And by making Natalie the most human of the characters, and by allowing her to make comments on all the others, this keeps the story focussed on the characters and it maintains a central seriousness of intention, making the story important as well as entertaining.
    But what about a spin-off? At the end, all the characters come together as a family, cheering one another, appreciating one another – it’s a very feel-good ending. Three of the detectives are going to start their own detective agency – so is this a new series? It might have a freshness that most detective stories lack in that the main detective character is always a genius who, basically, is never wrong. I have read the first half of “Blue Flu” four times, just to make sure I was seeing it as episodic, and it is. But the second half, where the focus narrows, and the characters deepen, is quite good – and I’ll read this novel again.
    “Two Assistants” goes beyond “Blue Flue” by providing a central focus that is maintained throughout – that is, will Natalie be replaced at the end by Sharona? So Natalie suffers all through the story, again making her the most human character and a real friend to the reader. The writing is also more confident, with story beat after story beat, nicely delivered, which maintains a nice story pace. And the mystery puzzle is a good one. For me, the question is, “Where is Natalie going?” She’s somebody we care about, which is what a good book does for its readers.

  2. Should have said that in the spin-off the three detectives have disabilities and make lots of mistakes — so this would be the freshness factor.


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