Monday, August 31, 2009

Finished: "Mr Monk Goes to Germany" by Lee Goldberg

Finished: Mr Monk Goes to Germany by Lee Goldberg, 2008, 9780451220998.

The second darn good novel in a row for me.

I have always had a negative opinion of novels that are tie-ins to movies or television. I've always figured they were commissioned hack jobs aimed at reluctant readers and imbeciles. But, after Bill Crider recommended several Monk novels I decided to give one a try. Crider does not appear to be an imbecile and the book sure was good.

Monk is going through his usual, daily difficulties. Monk loses a sock and is convinced his new neighbor stole it. The new neighbor has only one leg and Monk is greatly upset about the lack of symmetry. When Monk hears that the neighbor had his leg caught in a hiking trip and had to cut the leg off, and then eat it, Monk goes more bonkers than usual; he is convinced the neighbor is a cannibal. But, Monk's psychiatrist is at a conference in Germany and unable to see Monk for his twice weekly appointments. Monk does the only logical Monk thing and flies to Germany.

Natalie accompanies Monk, of course. Natalie is, in fact, the first person narrator throughout the story and she is a very good character. I got a lot of Natalie's of personality and more background on Monk and herself that really filled out the story. There is no need to be acquainted with the tv series itself (something Crider mentioned before).

Natalie and Monk fly to Germany and drive to Lohr. Monk is upset about the uneven houses and cobblestones. Natalie tries to enjoy the trip. Monk sees a six-fingered man like the one who was supposed to have killed Monk's wife. Natalie and Monk hassle the shrink. Monk hassles the cop about six-fingered man. Monk is asked by local cops for assistance in suicide investigation. Monk sees a murder scene. No one but Natalie believes Monk that a murder occurred. Monk proves six-fingered man is the killer in local murder case.

A fun novel with a lot of laughs. I saw Monk and Natalie differently than on the tv show. Goldberg has the space to show what Monk and Natalie's relationship is like and how difficult Monk can be. Heck, Goldberg shows how crazy Monk is. During the 44 minutes of each tv episode you laugh at the kooky Monk but do not get the everyday, all day insanity of the man.

EDIT: Boy, that reads like a rough insult of Crider. Not intended.
ANOTHER EDIT: I've found any recommendation by Crider to be worth a try.


Lee Goldberg said...

Thanks for the great review of my book, I am glad that you enjoyed it. But I must take issue with your opening line...

"I have always had a negative opinion of novels that are tie-ins to movies or television. I've always figured they were commissioned hack jobs aimed at reluctant readers and imbeciles."

I don't know how you came to that assumption. There are so many terrific tie-ins out there, written by some of the best novelists in the business have written tie-ins and novelizations, including Theodore Sturgeon, John Jakes, Kingsley Amis, Stuart Kaminsky, Martin Cruz Smith, Kevin J. Anderson, John Harvey, Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Rhys Bowen, John Gardner, Jim Thompson, Orson Scott Card, Leslie Charteris, Arthur C. Clarke, Peter David, Ian Fleming, Alan Dean Foster, John Gardner, Elizabeth Hand, Stuart Kaminsky, David Morrell, Robert B. Parker, and Robert Silverberg to name just a few. Of course there are some bad tie-ins...but there are also a lot of bad original novels, too.


Gerard Saylor said...

Correct. My thoughts are likely leftover from the lousy, uninspired paperback tie-ins I would find on the shelves in middle-school.

Your author list includes some of my favorites and readily proves your point. (Not to mention Christa Faust.) I suppose I would list your brother there but I have not read any Burn Notice novels yet.