Monday, February 27, 2006


I don't read many TV or movie tie-in novels, preferring to stick to source material. Give me the 70s Star Wars trilogy and the Star Trek TV and movie series over the endless tangents that have sprouted from them.

There are exceptions. I would read books based on Firefly or Vengeance Unlimited, in part because I miss the characters from those short-lived series. Another exception is Lee Goldberg's book based on USA's Monk.

The dramatization of Adrian Monk's personality and problem-solving habits is some of the freshest television I've seen. When Goldberg (who's written some episodes of the show) announced he'd been tapped to write original Monk novels, I knew the characters were in good hands.

In Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse, Julie Teeger, 12-year-old daughter of Monk's assistant Natalie, asks him to investigate the murder of firehouse dog Sparky. As often happens on the show, a seemingly unimportant event covers more insidious schemes.

Goldberg writes in first-person from Natalie's perspective. She's the practical partner doing her best to explain her eccentric genius friend, ala Archie Goodwin to Nero Wolfe or Chip Harrison to Leo Haig. She sheds some light on Monk's need for order while the inner workings of Monk's mind remain unknown until his trademark summation.

If Monk's hiatuses drive you crazy, Lee Goldberg's books are here to help.

A follow-up to Firehouse, Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii, is coming in June '06.

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