Goldberg, Lee: Mr. Monk on Patrol
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Mr. Monk on Patrol is the 13th book in Lee Goldberg's series of TV tie-ins featuring obsessive compulsive detective Adrian Monk. Unlike its predecessors, this installment is not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's heavy in character development. Monk and his assistant Natalie travel to Summit, New Jersey, to help out Randy Disher, former San Francisco homicide detective turned small-town chief of police. Monk is also reunited with his first assistant, Sharona, since she and Randy are now married (a plot development I still have trouble wrapping my mind around). Monk and Natalie help Randy deal with a crime spree in Summit and find themselves paired as partners on the beat, a dramatic change from their usual employer-employee relationship. Even bigger changes are in store for the pair, but I won't give anything away here. Sadly, Goldberg has decided to stop writing Monk novels. The next book in the series, Mr. Monk is a Mess (due out in July, 2012), will be the last (or perhaps penultimate? Goldberg mentions Mess as leading to a finale: http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/2012/01/behind-the-music-mr-monk-on-patrol.html). Mr. Monk on Patrol does a good job of moving the series toward a conclusion that, judging from the look of things, promises to be fitting. (I'm hoping there aren't any 19-years-later-on-Platform-9-3/4-type scenes--not that there was anything wrong with that particular epilog, really, but big time leaps are, I think, inherently depressing.) I'll be eager to see how Goldberg ties everything off, but I'm not happy at all to see the series end.