Based on a character by Andy Breckman, Shalhoub plays Monk perfectly.
But there’s a little something missing in an hour-long show devoted to
both an intricate mystery and the character’s oddness. There usually
isn’t enough time to explore Monk and why he’s doing what he’s doing.
So enter Lee Goldberg and another excellent TV tie-in book, the first in the series, entitled .
A book-length exploration of Monk is just so much more satisfying
because we get to see more of the detective’s odd little world.
Monk’s house is being fumigated so he must temporarily move in with
his long-suffering assistant, Natalie Teeger. The book is written from
her point of view, a clever shift that allows us to be a voyeur on
Monk’s behavior without the constraints that would come from having
Monk explain his own obsessions. Teeger has an adolescent child and
surprisingly, Monk and the child get along well, even though he notes
to the mother that children are “walking cesspools” of disease. The
child is upset because a local firehouse dog has been killed by some
ax-wielding maniac. Monk takes the case.
And from there, the
case gets progressively weirder, as do Monk’s habits. First, another
body is found, then Teeger becomes romantically involved with one of
the firemen, and all the while, Monk is slowly driving his assistant
crazy with incessant demands and whacked-out behavior. But there is
always a method to Monk’s peculiar madness, and the way he solves
crimes and deduces facts throughout the plot is thoroughly
entertaining. He sees more than we do, because he sees things that are
out of place. We might see a mess, but Monk sees a catastrophe, and
because of that vision, he is able to know when things are not only not
right, but downright sinister.
There’s nothing quite like a strong Bookgasm to start your day.