Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad

Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conradauthor
Publisher: Penguin USA (June 4, 2013)
Category: Cozy Mystery
Available in: Print & eBook,  286 Pages

This is a delightful fix for all of us Monk addicts.  Captain Stottlemeyer, Adrian Monk and his assistant Natalie Teager are all here in all their comedic eccentricities.  Along with the city of San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, practically a character in its own right throughout the series.

My favorite thing about Hy Conrad's presentation of our beloved defective detective mysteries is the development of the Natalie character who is also the narrator.  She is no longer in a position of subservience she is about to become Monk's full partner in the consulting firm of Monk and Teager and stepping up into her life as a strong woman with a mind of her own and a belief in her right to use it.

Monk himself, the guy who can't abide change, is also being set on a path that will offer him the choice to choose more of life's happiness.  But will he?  There is even a romantic interest for him, beset though it is by the impact his many quirks can have on the sensitivities of a woman in a relationship.  It helps that Ellen, a close friend of Natalie's, struggles with her own OCD issues.  This gives her insight, empathy and patience.  But only to a point.

The only problem I have with this story is that there won't be a new one next week.  And another one the week after that...

Please don't make us wait too long Mr Conrad.  We might have to fight our withdrawal by counting our peas and carrots before adding them to the casserole and washing all the light bulbs in the house and using babywipes after every handshake.


From the Publishers:

Mr. Monk Helps Himself is an all-new mystery, written by Hy Conrad, the Edgar Award-nominated screenwriter and co-executive producer of Monk and starring the characters from the wildly successful television series.

Now that Monk and Natalie are both in San Francisco again, life is almost back to normal, with one exception:  Natalie is studying for her PI license, the last step to becoming Monk's full partner.

Before taking the plunge, Natalie sneaks off to Half Moon Bay for a retreat run by Miranda Bigley, charismatic leader of the "Best Possible Me" self-help program, whose philosophy has helped Natalie deal with her recent life changes.  Her plans for a relaxing weekend are disrupted when Monk tracks her down, determined to rescue her from the "cult."  Their argument is cut short when Miranda, in full view of everyone, calmly walks to the edge of a cliff and jumps off.

Even though Miranda's death looks like suicide-especially when it's discovered that she was on the brink of financial disaster-Natalie is sure it is murder.  But Monk brushes her off to help the SFPD solve the murder of a clown, despite his fear of clowns-number ninety-nine on his list of one hundred phobias.

Natalie and Monk begin their separate investigations and are quickly caught up in situations neither one of them can handle.  If they want to solve both crimes - and survive - they first need to learn how to be full partners.  Can Monk handle the change?

What they are saying:

"An entertaining and ruefully funny diversion that stars one of television's best-loved characters."- Honolulu Star Bulletin

"[A] lighthearted, enjoyable whodunit."-San Francisco Book Review
"Hilariously funny and devilishly clever...an impossible-crime lover's delight."-Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

"Even though Mr. Conrad is replacing Lee Goldberg, the writing remains great. Monk and all other characters are well developed. Can't wait for next one."- Tyffani Monford,Amazon.com Reviewer

"Great Book! I' m a huge Monk fan - rewatch episodes all the time and have read all the books. It is my favorite series of all time. I was worred that this book might not be as good because of the new author... but I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed it. Worth buying!"- Andria, Amazon.com Reviewer


Hy Conrad was one of the original writers on the USA Network television series Monk and stayed with the series for all eight seasons, acting as co-executive producer for the last two seasons and garnering three Edgar® Award nominations. In addition, Hy was head writer of the webisode series Little Monk and served as consulting producer and writer on the USA series White Collar.

He is the author of hundreds of short stories, dozens of interactive mysteries, and ten books of solvable whodunits, sold around the world in fourteen languages. His first mystery novel series, Abel Adventures, premiered in 2012, with the publication of Rally 'Round the Corpse.  On a more humorous note, Hy is also the author of Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You to Know.

Author Website: http://www.hyconrad.com/

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