I am a complete Monk newbie. I had vaguely heard of him before, but have never seen an episode of the TV series or even knew any details about him. So when I had the chance to read Mr. Monk Helps Himself it was a first encounter. The synopsis sounded good, especially as I am, well, not a self help junkie, but I do enjoy reading the occasional self help book.
Now, after finishing this book, I will put Monk on my Lovefilm (the European equivalent of Netflix) queue and wait for the next book in a hopefully long series.
Hy Conrad introduces the reader to Monk in a way that it is not too tedious for Monk fans and at the same time a good introduction for novices. The story is told in the first person by Natalie Teeger, Monk’s assistant, a woman I immediately liked. She is down to earth, sensible and straightforward, has Monk and his idiosyncrasies somewhat under control (if you can call it that), and has none of those typical heroine attitudes that make me instantly dislike most of them.
The story focuses on mainly two cases, which are totally different from each other. The one is an obvious murder case which leads to an even bigger, unsolved case from years ago. The other starts out as no case at all and only Natalie’s determination turns it into one. I liked how they both developed and how they displayed Monk’s many and manifold phobias. Throw a little bit of romance in – even though romance might be too extreme a word here – and the story is sold to me.
As for the solution of the second case I am not 100% sure I was convinced that it would work that way. I don’t want to give away anything, but somehow I found the solution slightly forced, but then again, who knows, maybe it is all a matter of crowd control.
This was a great read that kept me interested from page one. Whether you have known Monk for a long time or have never heard of him before, you will enjoy this.