Friday, February 27, 2009

BOOKS: Review- Mr. Monk in Outer Space

Back with yet another Mr. Monk review in the series authored by Lee Goldberg. It's the fifth book and it's right about this time in other series that a sort of ennui sets in. Same old characters, frequently just variations on the same old plots. Happy to say, Goldberg continues to stay ahead of the same old, same old problem and produces a good book. It's called Mr. Monk in Outer Space.

I have to admit, ever since Adrian Monk solved a murder COMMITTED by an astronaut, I was wondering if it were possible Monk might end up in outer space. Ahh, but Goldberg only plays with this reader's hopes. The outer space of this book refers to a fictional TV series called, "Beyond Earth," which is being feted in a local science fiction convention in San Francisco. During the convention, a costumed killer does in the creator of the show. Enter Monk. Times two.

The true pleasure in this book is that you get two Monks for the price of one. Adrian's agoraphobic brother Ambrose leaves the safety (everything's relative) of his home to join in with Adrian and our intrepid tale-teller, the assistant Natalie, to bring sanity to the some-time chaotic world of fandom. Especially fandom of a science fictional kind.

Goldberg has lots of fun at the expense of the typical SF convention-goer, but there seems be a respect deep down. His invention of the unluckily deadly taxi is fun and at the heart of the solution. But it's really almost an Ambrose book. It's Ambrose who provides the needed insight into the TV series, since he's an expert on the show. It's little insights into Ambrose that makes this something different rather than the same old, same old.

That's why this book gets a thumbs up. Goldberg continues to expand the tight little world that is Adrian Monk. As we head to the eighth and final TV season, it's going to get harder and harder to find new sides to the mystery that is Monk. But for the time being, Goldberg continues to deliver solid entertainment in new and surprising ways.

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