Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mr. Monk in Outer Space-Lee Goldberg

Mr. Monk in Outer Space
Lee Goldberg
Obsidian, Nov 2007, $19.95
ISBN: 9780451220981

As she ponders her dating pool, which consists of killers, grieving relatives, frustrated cops and men named Scooter whose mouths that taste like overdosed with mouthwash, personal assistant Natalie Teeger enters the apartment of her boss, Mr. Adrian Monk. Natalie is a realist as she raises her twelve years old Julie by herself and helps her paranoid employer cope with life. However, this time the crisis is beyond her immediate assistance; Monk, known for evacuating city blocks based on finding a cobweb in some obscure corner of his pad, studies a small coffee stain that he cannot remove from the carpet. Monk wants to move in with Natalie for a few days, but she is saved from that anguish when SFPD Lieutenant Disher calls her; without saying hello she asks where the corpse is?

After he solves the not homicide in spite of the triangle bullets case for Disher and captain Stottlemeyer, he becomes involved in another investigation. At the Beyond Earth cult TV show convention, a starship uniformed person kills the producer Conrad Stipes in a public shooting. Asked to investigate while suffering from rug burns, Monk moves into the home of his brother Ambrose, an expert on the show, while Natalie takes care of the more critical carpet problem.

Monk is at his humorous neurotic best as he solves cases in his crazy way. Readers will be laughing out loud at the side commentaries such as his measuring parallel parked cars or visiting a Burgerville restaurant or marveling at the value of three decade old Beyond Earth cereal that tasted like sugared cardboard when it was fresh. The whodunit is fun as the compulsive Monk invades the cult TV world, which he realizes is filled with those as obsessively insane as he is. Lee Goldberg provides a wonderful entry on one of the better novelizations series of a TV show.

Harriet Klausner

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