Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mr. Monk Goes To The Firehouse by Lee Goldberg

Admittedly, writing about a book based on a television detective won't do much for my literary credibility but, I said I was going to write about all of the books I read this year and this was the second one I read. I think you'll find as the year goes by, assuming that I keep this up, that I read a lot of different types of books and that there is nothing that is either too lo or too high brow for my attention.

I'm assuming that anyone reading this is probably at least a little familiar with the USA network TV series, "Monk," which is about the exploits of a San Francisco private detective who just happens to be obsessive/compulsive. The show is quirky, hilarious and well crafted as is this book, which appears to be the first in a series.

I don't know whether Lee Goldberg wrote this book before he began writing for the series or vice versa but he has captured the tone of the show beautifully. It is written from the perspective of Natalie Teager, Monk's long suffering assistant and de facto baby sitter, and he writes in her voice perfectly. The story if full of neurotic asides that give the reader an insight into Natalie's thinking in an endearing way. Her character is likable from the first page of the book, which is crucial because Monk, in all of his mentally damaged glory, isn't always the most likable character.

Books that are based on characters from a television show are generally light fair and this book is no exception. However, Goldberg's firm grasp on the personalities and intricacies of those characters make this a quite pleasant if not exactly thought provoking read. There is, after all, artistry in simplicity.


Lee Goldberg said...

Thank you for your kind words! I wrote the book after I began writing for the MONK TV series. You might be interested to know that this book was adapted into the episode MR. MONK CAN'T SEE A THING, which I also wrote.

I am now in the midst of writing my seventh MONK book...MR. MONK IS MISERABLE.


D.T. Holt said...

It's not every day that the author of a book I read comments on my blog!! Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. I'm looking forward to reading more of the Monk book. Keep up the good work!