Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse (Mr. Monk Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Monk's house is being fumigated, and he has nowhere to go. Fortunately, his assistant Natalie and her daughter are kind enough to welcome him into their home. Unfortunately, their home is not quite up to Monk's standards of cleanliness and order.


But while Monk attempts to arrange his surroundings just so, something else needs to be put straight. The death of a dog at the local firehouse-on the same night as a fatal house fire-has led Monk into a puzzling mystery. And much to ...

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Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse (Mr. Monk Series #1)

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Overview

Monk's house is being fumigated, and he has nowhere to go. Fortunately, his assistant Natalie and her daughter are kind enough to welcome him into their home. Unfortunately, their home is not quite up to Monk's standards of cleanliness and order.


But while Monk attempts to arrange his surroundings just so, something else needs to be put straight. The death of a dog at the local firehouse-on the same night as a fatal house fire-has led Monk into a puzzling mystery. And much to his horror, he's going to have to dig through a lot of dirt to find the answer.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101143742
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/3/2006
  • Series: Mr. Monk Series , #1
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 89,432
  • File size: 330 KB

Meet the Author

Lee Goldberg

Lee Goldberg has written episodes for the Monk television series, as well as many other programs. He is a two-time Edgar Award nominee and the author of the acclaimed Diagnosis Murder novels, based on the TV series for which he was a writer and executive producer.


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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
Mr. Monk and the Termites

My name is Natalie Teeger. You’ve never heard of me, and that’s okay, because the fact is I’m nobody special. By that I mean I’m not famous. I haven’t done anything or accomplished something that you’d recognize me for.  I’m just another anonymous shopper pushing her cart down the aisle at Wal-Mart.

Of course, I had bigger things planned for myself. When I was nine I dreamed of being one of Charlie’s Angels. It wasn’t because I wanted to fight crime or run around braless—I was looking forward to the day I’d fill out enough to wear one. Sadly, I’m still waiting. I admired the Angels because they were strong, independent, and had a sassy attitude. Most of all, I liked how those women took care of themselves.

In that way, I guess my dream came true, though not quite the way I expected. I’ve made a profession out of taking care of myself, my twelve-year-old daughter, Julie, and one other person: Adrian Monk.

You haven’t heard of me, but if you live in San Francisco and you watch the news or read the paper, you’ve probably heard of Monk, because he is famous. He’s a brilliant detective who solves murders that have baffled the police, which amazes me, since he is utterly incapable of handling the simplest aspects of day-to-day life. If that’s the price of genius, them I’m glad I’m not one.

Usually taking care of Monk is just a day job, but that changed the week termites were found in his apartment building. By Monk, of course. He spotted a pinprick-sized hole in a piece of siding and knew it was fresh. He knew because he keeps track of all the irregularities in the siding.

When I asked him why he does that, he looked at me quizzically and said, “Doesn’t everybody?”

That’s Monk for you.  

Since Monk’s building was going to be tented and fumigated, his landlord told him he’d have to stay with friends or go to a hotel for a couple of days. That was a problem, because the only friends Monk has are Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer and Lt. Randy Disher of the San Francisco Police Department and me. But I’m not really his friend so much as I am his employee, and, considering how little he pays me to drive him around and run his errands, I’m barely that.

I went to Stottlemeyer first, since he used to be Monk’s partner on the force, and asked if he’d take him in. But Stottlemeyer said his wife would leave him if he brought Monk home. Stottlemeyer said he’d leave, too, if Monk showed up. I went to Disher next, but he lives in a one-bedroom apartment, so there wasn’t room for another person, though I have a feeling he would have found some room if it were me who needed a place to stay. Or any other woman under the age of thirty with a pulse.

So Monk and I started to look for a hotel. That wouldn’t be a big deal for most people, but Adrian Monk isn’t like most people. Look at how he dresses. 

He wears his shirts buttoned up to the neck. They have to be 100 percent cotton, off-white, with exactly eight buttons, a size-sixteen neck and a thirty-two sleeve. All even numbers. Make a note of that; it’s important.

His pants are pleated and cuffed, with eight belt loops (most pants have seven, so his have to be specially tailored), a thirty-four waist, and thirty-four length, but after the pantlegs are cuffed, the inseam is thirty-two. His shoes, all twelve identical pairs, are brown and a size ten. More even numbers. It’s no accident or coincidence. This stuff really matters to him.

He’s obviously got an obsessive-compulsive disorder of some kind.  I don’t know exactly what kind because I’m not a nurse, like his previous assistant, Sharona, who left him abruptly to remarry her ex-husband (who, I hear, wasn’t such a great guy, but after working with Monk for a short time, I understand why that wouldn’t really matter. If I had an ex-husband I could return to, I would).

I have no professional qualifications whatsoever. My last job before this one was bartending, but I’ve also worked as a waitress, yoga instructor, housesitter, and blackjack dealer, among other things. But I know from talking to Stottlemeyer that Monk wasn’t always so bad. Monk’s condition became a lot worse after his wife was murdered a few years ago.

I can truly sympathize with that. My husband, Mitch, a fighter pilot, was killed in Kosovo, and I went kind of nuts for a long time myself. Not Monk nuts, of course—normal nuts.

Maybe that’s why Monk and I get along better than anybody (particularly me) ever thought we would. Sure, he irritates me, but I know a lot of his peculiarities come from a deep and unrelenting heartbreak that nobody, and I mean nobody, should ever have to go through.

So I cut him a lot of slack, but even I have my limits.

Which brings me back to finding a hotel room for Monk. To begin with, we could look only at four-star hotels, because four is an even number, and a place with only two stars couldn’t possibly meet Monk’s standard of cleanliness. He wouldn’t put his dog in a two-star hotel—if he had a dog, which he doesn’t, and never would, because dogs are animals who lick themselves and drink out of toilets. 
The first place we went to on that rainy Friday was the Belmont in Union Square, one of the finest hotels in San Francisco.

Monk insisted on visiting every vacant room the grand old Belmont had before deciding which one to occupy. He looked only at even-numbered rooms on even-numbered floors, of course. Although the rooms were identically furnished and laid out the same way on every floor, he found something wrong with each one. For instance, one room didn’t feel symmetrical enough. Another room was too symmetrical. One had no symmetry at all.

All the bathrooms were decorated with some expensive floral wallpaper from Italy. But if the strips of wallpaper didn’t line up just right, if the flowers and their stems didn’t match up exactly on either side of the cut, Monk declared the room uninhabitable.

By the tenth room, the hotel manager was guzzling little bottles of vodka from the minibar, and I was tempted to join him. Monk was on his knees, examining the wallpaper under the bathroom counter, wallpaper that nobody would ever see unless they were on their knees under the bathroom counter, and pointing out “a critical mismatch,” and that’s when I cracked. I couldn’t take it anymore and I did something I never would have done if I hadn’t been under extreme emotional and mental duress.

I told Monk he could stay with us.

I said it just to end my immediate suffering, not realizing in that instant of profound weakness the full, horrific ramifications of my actions. But before I could take it back, Monk immediately accepted my invitation, and the hotel manager nearly kissed me in gratitude.

“But I don’t want to hear any complaints about how my house is arranged or how dirty you think it is or how many  ‘critical mismatches’ there are,” I said to Monk as we started down the stairs to the lobby.

“I’m sure it’s perfect,” Monk said.

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Mr. Monk. You’re starting already.”

He looked at me blankly. “All I said was that I’m sure it’s perfect. Most people would take that as the sincere compliment it was meant to be.”

“But most people don’t mean ‘perfect’ when they say ‘perfect.’” 

“Of course they do,” Monk said.

“No, they mean pleasant, or nice, or comfortable. They don’t actually mean perfect in the sense that everything will be, well, perfect. You do.”

“Give me some credit.” Monk shook his head.

I gaped at him in disbelief. 

“You wouldn’t stay in that hotel room we just saw because the floral pattern of the wallpaper didn’t match under the sink.”

“That’s different,” he said. “That was a safety issue.”

“How could that possibly be a safety issue?” I said.

“It reveals shoddy craftsmanship. If they were that haphazard with wallpaper, imagine what the rest of the construction work was like,” Monk said. “I bet a mild earthquake is all it would take to bring this entire building down.”

“The building is going to fall because the wallpaper doesn’t match up?”

“This place should be condemned.”

We reached the lobby and Monk stood still.

“What?” I said.

“We should warn the others,” Monk said.

“What others?” I asked.

“The hotel guests,” Monk said. “They should be informed of the situation.”

“That the wallpaper doesn’t match,” I said.

“It’s a safety issue,” he said. “I’ll call them later.”

I didn’t bother arguing with him. Frankly I was just relieved to get out of the hotel without stumbling over a dead body. I know that sounds ridiculous, but when you’re with Adrian Monk, corpses have a way of turning up all over the place. But, as I would soon find out, it was only a temporary reprieve.

*
• *
• * *

Monk lived in a Deco-style apartment building on Pine, a twilight zone of affordability that straddled the northernmost edge of the Western District, with its upper-middle-class families, and the southwest corner of Pacific Heights, with its old money, elaborately ornate Victorians and lush gardens high above the city.

On this sunny Saturday morning, Monk was waiting for me on the rain-slicked sidewalk, watching the uniformed nannies from Pacific Heights and Juicy Coutured housewives from the Western District pushing babies in Peg Perego strollers up and down the hill to Alta Plaza park and its views of the marina, the bay, and the Golden Gate.

Monk stood with two large, identical suitcases, one on either side of him, a forlorn expression on his face. He wore his brown, four-button overcoat, his hands stuffed deep into the pockets, which made him seem smaller somehow.

There was something touching about the way he looked, like a sad, lonely kid going off to camp for the first time. I wanted to hug him, but fortunately for both of us, the feeling passed quickly. 

Parking is impossible on a weekend in that neighborhood, so I double-parked in front of his building, which was so streamlined that it looked more aerodynamic than my car.
I got out and gestured toward his two suitcases. “You’re only staying for a few days, Mr. Monk.” 

“I know,” he said. “That’s why I packed light.”

I opened the back of my Cherokee and then reached for one of his suitcases. I nearly dislocated my shoulder. “What do you have in here, gold bricks?”

“Eight pairs of shoes,” he said.

“You brought enough shoes to wear one pair a day for over a week.”

“I’m roughing it,” Monk said. 

“That can’t be all you have in here.” I wrestled his suitcase into the back of my car. “It’s too heavy.”

“I’ve also packed fourteen pairs of socks, fourteen shirts, fourteen pairs of pants, fourteen—“

“Fourteen?” I asked. “Why fourteen?”

“I know it’s playing close to the edge, but that’s who I am. A man who lives on the edge. It’s exciting,” Monk said. “Do you think I packed enough clothes?”

“You have plenty,” I said.

“Maybe I should get more.”

“You’re fine,” I said.

“Maybe just two more pairs.”

“Of what?”

“Everything,” he said.

“I thought you were a man who lives on the edge,” I said.

“What if the edge moves?”

“It won’t,” I said.

“If you say so,” Monk said. “But if it does, we’ll rue this day.”

I was ruing it already. And I wasn’t even sure what “ruing” meant.

Monk stood there, his other suitcase beside him. I motioned to it.

“Aren’t you going to stick that in the car, Mr. Monk, or were you planning to leave it here?”

“You’re saying you want me to put the suitcase in your car?”

“You thought I was going to do it for you?”

“It’s your car,” he said.

“So?”

He shrugged. “I thought you had a system.”

“My system is that you put your own stuff in my car.”

“But you took one of my suitcases and loaded it in the car,” he said.

“I was being polite,” I said. “I wasn’t indicating a preference for loading the car myself.”

“That’s good to know.” Monk picked up his suitcase and slid it in beside the other one. “I was respecting your space.”

I think he was just being lazy, but you never know for sure with Monk. Even if he were, I wouldn’t call him on it, because he’s my boss and I want to keep my job. Besides, it gave me the opening I was waiting for to address a touchy subject.

“Of course you were, Mr. Monk, and that’s really great. I appreciate that, because Julie and I have our own way of doing things that’s not exactly the same as yours.”

“Like what?”

Oh, my God, I thought. Where to begin? “Well, for one thing, we don’t boil our toothbrushes each day after we use them.”

His eyes went wide. “That’s so wrong.”

“We don’t use a fresh towel every time we dry our hands.”

“Didn’t anyone teach you personal hygiene?”

“The point is, Mr. Monk, I hope that while you stay with us you’ll be able to respect our differences and accept us for who we are.”

“Hippies,” he said.

There was a word I hadn’t heard in decades and that certainly never applied to me. I let it pass.

“All I want is for the three of us to get along,” I said.

“You don’t smoke pot, do you?”

“No, of course not. What kind of person do you think I am? Wait—don’t answer that. What I’m trying to say, Mr. Monk, is that in my house, I’m the boss.”

“As long as I don’t have to smoke any weed.”

“You don’t,” I said.

“Groovy.”

And with that, he got into my car and buckled his seat belt.
 
 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

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3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2011

    preview is useless

    9 pages of preview and none of the story is included? lame....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2007

    great book

    love tv show and book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2014

    Recommended - A Very Good Read

    If you liked the TV show, you'll love this book. If you never saw the TV show, this is an interesting, yet off-beat,detective story. This is the first in a series of Monk books that follow the character through his escapades. It is written 'first person' by his assistant Natalie. This is a good book to start the series. Monk is at home in San Francisco and has a murder, or two, to solve. Mr. Monk has the same quirks and OCD traits as in the TV show; however, he always solves the case. This book and the others in the series are very quick reads which you can finish in a couple of days. Very entertaining and easy to read. Like the TV show these are rated PG-13.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Mr. Monk is on fire! Great read!

    Monk

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    THE BEST

    I watched this episode befor. It was great.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2011

    Classic Monk

    If you love Monk, you will love this book. It is told from the perspective of his assistant, Natalie Teeger. Wipe!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2010

    A bit sexist . . .

    Let me just say upfront: I wanted to like this book. Really. After Monk's final season closed down, I wanted a way to keep finding new stories and I was thrilled that they had done a novel continuation. But I could not find that this was even worth a three-star "pass".

    I have mentioned this on another reviewer's post, stating that Natalie's obsession with breast-size is completely surreal to the character that we were presented with in the series. If the author wanted to avoid the problem of writing as a woman, he should have opted for a third-person perspective and saved us all "eeww" factor and having to wonder what happened to our bright, confident Natalie. There's a difference between expressing her sexuality and being crude about it. Natalie is never presented as crude.

    Sharona, on the other hand, could be believably crude, but even these observations didn't have her touch. They all seemed decidedly male and not in a good way.

    Also, the final paragraph ends with a comment made in Natalie's head about female irrationality being a legitimate defense for murder. Seriously? I get that this is supposed to be funny, but it's actually pretty sexist (as are the sexual innuendos heretofore). Even more ridiculous is that the character, a sidekick heroine who is in many ways more capable than the hero, should ever joke about such a thing.

    What was saving this for me was the accuracy of speaking roles. I could see the conversational dialogues being spoken by the characters. Natalie's internal monologues as stated before were unrecognizable. The story was okay; the solution a bit trite -- but that too happened in the TV series. I'll give a couple more in the series a try, but if this keeps up, I won't be reading much longer.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

    Once You Get Into Monk...You Can't Put Out the Fire!

    I was very impressed by this debut in this series that effectively captures the essence of Monk from the screen version. Both True Monkophiles and the newcomer to Monk are likely to enjoy this book. Lee Goldberg keeps the details authentic to the tv series, but at the same time, adds character depth, sarcasm, and complexity not found on TV. I really loved the colorful, yet honest details of San Francisco. The book is quite an addictive read. It's very well-written and at times almost philosophical, but it's accessible for the casual reader. I really felt I got to know Natalie a lot more after reading this book. On the show, she's all smiles (99% of the time), and is always standing by to assist Monk. But in this book, you really get to understand how Monk's anxieties cause some of her own. We get a glimpse of her lovelife with handsome and heroic Joe the Firefighter, as well as her relationship with her daughter, Julie. Natalie's narration is very heartfelt, but at the same time, we gain an appreciation of her wit. Goldberg also gives us a deeper look at the relationship between Monk and Stottlemeyer. It's a really well-rounded book with many moods, and much excitement. The quality of this book is continued in the rest of the series. If you find yourself enjoying this book, then at monk.usanetwork.com, you can actually chat with the author, Lee Goldberg, under the forum topic: "Monk is Miserable."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2008

    A Disappointing, Inaccurate Read

    The ability to take Monk, the brilliant, obsessive-compulsive detective, with you wherever you go seems almost too good to be true. Sadly, a lack of impressive writing skills¿as well as a lack of attention toward details¿have rendered such an idea an unfortunate reality. It can be stated correctly that no one is really capable of embodying the Monk spirit, other than the actual actor, Tony Shaloub, himself. Books told from the viewpoint of Monk's assistant, Natalie, simply don't convey the soul of the television show we've come to love. And they're not accurate at all, for that matter. For example, it is reiterated throughout many episodes of the show, that one of Monk's greatest phobias is milk. Why, then, do we read that Monk `eats his wheat chex and milk¿ in the morning, in one of the books? Another flaw is that in the three books of this series that I¿ve read, the cases that Monk must solve are compiled from elements in cases we¿ve watched Monk solve on television. An idea as ingenious as a Monk book series deserves to be treated properly, and cultivated into a successful group of treasured literary masterpieces. Unfortunately, due to the author¿s indolent refusal to check his facts, and inability to present a convincing, engaging read, this series has simply gone up in smoke. In this reader¿s opinion, this is one occasion where you¿re better off turning the channel to Monk, rather than turning the page.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2006

    Monk is great

    I think that this was great. The tv series is a must watch and this is a must read. If somebody thought that nobody could bring a great show to a book, monk has proved them wrong!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2006

    If you like the show, you'll love the book!

    I enjoy all sorts of mysteries but my favorite are the fast paced, well written ones. My Monk Goes to the Fire House falls under that category. I love the show on USA and was happy to find the book at my local Barnes & Noble. Told in the voice of Natalie, this book really captures Mr. Monk's OCD issues while still carrying on with the mystery and plenty of humour and physical comedy. Natalie tells the story well because she finds Mr. Monk strange but still treats him with respect. Read this book for a light and enjoyable read! Great for a vacation book, too!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2006

    Mr. Monk Goes to the Fire House

    When it comes to tie-ins I'm a total geek I will admit that. There are plenty that I like, but more often enough I always say the character wouldn't do that. But with the Monk novel I had faith since it was written by Lee Goldberg who has also written for the show. I knew good book or bad book it will stay true to the characters. I must say this novel was excellent. It rates just as good as any of the episodes. The book is through Natalie's POV and that helps keep the flow of the book moving at a great pace. The book is hysterical at times! If you have never seen the show you can still enjoy the book, everything is explained, and for fans it's written in a way where it won't bore us since we know the story. To be honest this is one of my personal favorite novels I have ever read. Everything about it was great. This is one of the few books I read where there is never once a slow moment. The novel from the very first page to the last is exciting as ever.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fine adaptation

    In San Francisco Natalie Teeger is used to taking care of her boss private investigator Adrian Monk so when the sleuth informs her that his house is being fumigated she suggests the world renowned Belmont Hotel. That place proves not good enough so she kindly offers to take him into her home, rationalizing how bad it will be to have Monk and her twelve years old daughter Julie under the same roof. Of course, Monk has to modify her abode to fit his acceptable level, the white glove cleanliness test. --- Julie informs Monk that someone murdered the beloved fire dog Sparky. Monk offers to investigate in exchange for Julie to pick up her discarded tissues and place them in a plastic container before the EPA arrives. He begins his investigation into the canine homicide by visiting Sparky¿s Fire Chief, Captain Mantooth, who informs Monk that they were working a fatal nearby fire when someone killed the Dalmatian. Soon Monk links the canine murder to the ¿accidental¿ human fiery death, but has no suspect let alone a motive still the case has just begun. --- No way could anyone bring an anal lunatic like Monk from the TV series to a novel because his idiosyncrasies would become boring, but this reviewer failed to account for the talent of Lee Goldberg to adapt the sleuth to the written word. Enhancing Monk¿s eccentricities without slowing the plot, Mr. Goldberg spins a terrific who-done-it that will excite fans of the show and bring the quirky sleuth to a new audience. The investigation is fun to follow as the detective thinks so differently than anyone else as Monk is simply Monk in his first novel. --- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2011

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    Posted April 16, 2010

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    Posted May 12, 2011

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    Posted April 24, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2009

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    Posted January 30, 2011

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    Posted May 31, 2009

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