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By Lee Goldberg

NAL, July 2008 ($21.95)
ISBN-10: 0451220994 ISBN-13: 978-0451220998

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

I wanted to like this book...

I've watched quite a few of the episodes from the television series MONK that the book's characters are based on and although there were some episodes that were less satisfying than others, over all, I enjoyed the television show, especially the early seasons. I also enjoyed ealier books in this series which I reviewed. In MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY I had a problem with the book almost from page one. I just couldn't get into the story. I read the first chapter three times before I could force myself to continue and finally finish the book.

The basic premise is that Monk is doing fairly well in his therapy when Dr. Kroger, his therapist, announces that he will be attending a conference in Germany. Quickly Monk deteriorates, to the point where he believes he can no longer remember how to breathe. Next thing you know Monk is on his way to Germany, to track down Dr. Kroger for their weekly therapy session. Meanwhile, Monk notices a man with six fingers and becomes convinced the man is the person responsible for the death of his wife, Trudy.

There were several hilarious incidents, including when Monk discovered a cannibal had moved into his apartment building. But overall, the pacing was too slow in the early chapters, for my liking. I found Natalie's character to be both annoying and tiring. In the later chapters, the elements were there but just didn't hold my interest...

Lest you think I'm just too picky, I also passed the book to a friend who is a die-hard Monk fan. She returned the book and said, "No, thanks. I didn't like it."

Maybe the next book in the series will recapture more of the fun and quirkiness of Monk. I hope so.

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