My Final Monk

Lee Goldberg and Traylor Howard-2Mr. Monk Gets Even
, my 15th MONK novel, was published today. The series of books will continue, with my friend Hy Conrad picking up where I left off, but this is the end for me and my long, wonderful, association
with Adrian Monk.

It began when “Monk”
creator Andy Breckman hired me and my then-TV writing partner William Rabkin to
write an episode of the TV series entitled “Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico,” which
would end up being the first of three episodes we wrote for the show.

At the time, Bill
and I were about to begin writing & producing the Lifetime TV series
“Missing” and I was deep into writing the “Diagnosis Murder” novels, based on
the TV series of the same name that we’d also written & produced. When Andy
was approached about writing “Monk” novels, he passed on the opportunity and
recommended me for it instead.

I took the job,
which was an insane thing to do, since it would mean writing a new book every
ninety days, alternating between “Monk” and “Diagnosis Murder,” at night while
also running a TV series during the day. That’s how much I loved Monk. I kept
up that brutal pace for two years before ending the “Diagnosis Murder” book

Andy liked my first
“Monk” novel, Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse, so much, that he hired Bill and
I to adapt it into an episode of the TV show. The episode, “Mr. Monk Can’t See
A Thing
,” may be the first time in American TV history that a tie-in novel of a
TV show has been adapted into an episode of the series….and by the author of
the book, no less (if it’s been done before, we haven’t found it. And if it
has, it’s obviously a rare occurrence!)

If it wasn’t for
Andy’s enthusiasm and support, I doubt I would have written so many “Monk”
novels or had so much fun doing them. He gave me his trust and the creative freedom
to make the book series my own, and for that I will always be grateful. 
Lee at mystery bookstore booth

I want to thank
Kerry Donovan, who has been my editor on this series from the very beginning,
my agent Gina Maccoby who put together the deal, and my go-to medical and
forensic expert, Dr D.P. Lyle.  I also
regularly leaned on my “cop buddies” Paul Bishop, Lee Lofland, and Robin
Burcell for their expertise on police matters and I hope I didn’t embarrass
them too much with the great liberties I took with the information they gave me.

It’s not easy
writing two books a year, particularly if you’re doing it part-time while
making your living in television. I can trace my life in these books, like Mr.
Monk in Outer Space
and Mr. Monk Goes to Germany, both of which I wrote
while writing, producing and shooting a movie in Berlin and Cologne. They kept
me sane, and out of trouble, while I was far away from home.  

For the most part,
though, the time I spent on these books was time I didn’t spend with my family,
particularly on this last one, which required more than a few all-nighters. So,
with deep appreciation, I want to thank my wife Valerie and my daughter Madison
for the sacrifices they made during the last seven years while I pretended to
be a woman assisting an obsessive-compulsive detective on his investigations.

And finally, I want
to thank all of you for being such devoted readers, and for the many emails,
letters, and kind words you’ve shared with over the years about these books. It
meant a lot to me.  

9 thoughts on “My Final Monk”

  1. I’m looking forward to reading “Mr. Monk Gets Even,” though it’ll be bittersweet, and I haven’t yet decided whether or not to continue with the new author. The Monk books were always wonderful “comfort reads” for me, and I tended to save them for stressful times. Thanks for all the fun times with Natalie and Mr. Monk!

  2. Lee,
    Congarts on your 15th. I’m starting work on my 2nd and hope I can live up to the legacy and the expectations of all your dedicated fans. As Andy used to say, it’s all about the ride. Here’s looking forward to more of a great ride.

  3. Lee,
    I understand the reasons why you and Adrian are going your separate ways. It still inspires a harrumph when I think about it. But it’s not like you are abandoning your most special role in my reading life. I am so very much looking forward to your collaboration with Janet Evanovich. In fact, I just finished Notorious Nineteen and thought it was her best book in the Stephanie Plum series in seven years. I described it to a friend as if “the collaboration had already started. It had few of the flaws I’ve seen in Evanovich’s writing this past while. And you know, it had a lot of heart in it. I wonder if Goldberg was already influencing her when she wrote this book.”
    True or not, the fact is that I now associate you with ‘heart’ in your novels (and apparently ones you don’t write [G]). I’ve been impressed with your ability to humanize and make Mr. Monk endearing, even beyond the work of the TV writing staff. I like LIKING the flawed characters I read about. And that unique ability to give background characters starring roles doesn’t hurt either.
    The New Year brings a certain amount of sadness in the departure of a guaranteed good read in the Monk novels. But I certainly will give Hy Conrad a chance. Half of the equation still remains. Plus, Heist is on the way, with a sequel already gleefully in formation. So, Happy New Year to you, and to me.
    Thanks for the ride. GM

  4. Look forward to the new book. You’ve given me, and others, marvelous reading for many years. I think I have all your fiction anyway(yes, even the .357 Magnum books), and look forward to many more years of great stuff.

  5. And Lee, thank YOU for writing the Monk books. They’ve been an absolute delight to read. I’ve enjoyed the twists and turns…and the laughs!
    I’m glad you saved “Mr. Monk Gets Even” for your last title. I’ve gotta say, it’s my favorite title of the whole series. LOL
    Seriously, THANKS!

  6. Came across your blog today. No offence, but I faintly remember reading a Lee Goldberg novel or too – but not sure about which one.
    Couple of months back a friend offered to loan me Monk novel or two, but I shrugged him off. Reading the comments makes me want to get hold of them.
    Even if I don’t (get hold of him/books), looking forward to read THE HEIST.
    Good Luck.

  7. It would be great if you wrote a memoir, Lee, “The Monk Years, 2006-2013” in which you go into detail about the tie-in writing experience, how it affected your personal life, how you got all the other projects up and going, how you evolved from working for a franchise to authoring one with THE DEAD MAN–all the business strategies and details you learned along the way, how you changed as a person.
    Anyway, I really liked MR MONK ON THE ROAD, where one brother tries to help another, where the characters are consciously confronting their limitations and consciously trying to change a little, to allow their current feelings to guide their opinions rather than old and debilitating habits. It’s uplifting to see characters change.

  8. I just finished reading Mr. Monk Gets Even. I got it from Amazon the day it was released but deliberately read it slowly because I didn’t want to get to the ending too quickly. I have been reading the series since shortly after it started (I think I picked it up around the time the third book was out) and have truly enjoyed every single one. I love what you did with the ending. It truly felt like everything was balanced and even…because I, as a fan, felt a bit off-balance during the first half because things didn’t seem “right” until Natalie arrived on the plane.
    Anyway, I finished it and thank you for the wonderful reading memories! I avoided any site related to Monk like the plague this past month so I had no idea that a new author had agreed to pick up the series. I am thrilled and relieved to hear that the story will continue and can’t wait to begin the new adventure in June. 🙂


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