Table of Contents
“Can books be better than television? You bet they can— when Lee Goldberg’s writing them.” —Lee Child
Praise for the Monk Mysteries
Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants
Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants
is the best Monk novel yet.” —Ed Gorman
Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu
“A must-read if you enjoy Monk’s mysteries on the tube.”
Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii
“An entertaining and ruefully funny diversion that stars one of television’s best-loved characters.”
Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse
“The first in a new series is always an occasion to celebrate, but Lee Goldberg’s TV adaptations double your pleasure. . . .
Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse
brings everyone’s favorite OCD detective to print. Hooray!” —
“It is laugh-out-loud funny from the get-go. For
fans, this is a must. Totally enjoyable. Lee Goldberg has expertly captured the nuances of what makes Monk, well, Monk.”
“Lee has found the perfect voice for Natalie’s first-person narration—sweet, exhausted, frustrated, exasperated, and sweet again. None of these feelings has to do with the mystery. They’re all reactions to Monk’s standard behavior as he wars with all the ways nature is trying to kill him. Lee Goldberg has managed to concoct a novel that’s as good as . . . any of the
episodes I’ve seen on the tube.” —Ed Gorman
Copyright © 2007 Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. Monk © USA Cable
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To Valerie and Madison,
the brightest stars in the galaxy
This book was written in Los Angeles, New York, London, Hay-on-Wye, Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Lohr, and the skies in between. At times I felt like I was the one in outer space. I would like to thank my friend Andy Breckman for sharing Adrian Monk with me, and Kristen Weber, Kerry Donovan, and Gina Maccoby for their unwavering enthusiasm, understanding, and support.
Mr. Monk and the Gnarled Hands of Fate
I almost killed someone the other day. It was a guy I’d been dating casually for a few weeks. During that time, we never went further than a passionate lip-lock, thank God, and that wasn’t so great anyway. It was like sticking my tongue into a bottle of Listerine. (Note to men: Too much breath freshener is almost as bad as none at all.)
His name was Scooter, which should have been my first hint that this relationship wasn’t going to work out. I thought the nickname was cute at first, that it was a reflection of his boyish charm. I didn’t realize it was a reflection of his short attention span on matters that didn’t center on him.
But that wasn’t why I wanted to wring Scooter’s neck. It had to do with the demise of our relationship. He dumped me because, and I quote, “You’re too needy.”
Me? Needy? It was ridiculous.
I always considered myself a strong, fiercely independent woman. I spent ninety percent of my time taking care of others. By “others” I mean my daughter, Julie, and my employer, Adrian Monk, the famous detective.
Julie, like any twelve-year-old, is a real handful, but she’s nothing compared to Monk, who has such a strong obsessive-compulsive disorder that it generates a whole other universe parallel to our own.
For instance, Monk once found a cobweb in his apartment and ordered me to immediately evacuate everyone from the building and establish a quarantine until an emergency-response team from the Centers for Disease Control could arrive.
I’m not kidding. It’s a true story.
That was a typical day for me, except that there were no murders involved. I’m not talking about my own homicidal urges, but
murders. Monk is a special consultant to the San Francisco Police Department and I help him with that, too, which is definitely above and beyond typical assistant work.
So how can Scooter call
I’m not needy. I’m the one needy people rely on for their needs.
I’m the rock.
But I have to tell you, being everybody’s rock is hard work. And it’s not like I don’t have fears and unfulfilled dreams and problems of my own.
Ever since my husband, Mitch, was shot down over Kosovo, there has been no one to take care of me. I don’t have a Natalie of my own. I’m not allowed to fall apart—there’s nobody there to help me put myself back together again.
But I do stumble sometimes anyway and usually I hate myself for it.
Just a couple of days ago, in fact, I was hit out of nowhere by this awful crying jag. It happened in Monk’s apartment, right in front of him. I was reading an article in the
San Francisco Chronicle
about the restoration of a Craftsman-style house in Mill Valley, the kind Mitch and I had dreamt of having, and I just lost it.
God, it was embarrassing.
Monk started spraying Lysol all around me. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to help me or protect himself from whatever I was afflicted with.
I almost told him that Lysol couldn’t shield him from what I suffered from. But I realized the truth was that Monk already knew that better than anybody. His wife, Trudy, was killed in a murder he’d been unable to solve. I think that’s why he tries so hard to impose absolute order on the world. He does it to compensate for the order he can’t impose on his own pain, loss, and longing.
Well, that’s my guess anyway.
I didn’t want Monk or my daughter to ever see me lose control of myself, to give in to my sadnesses and fears, because I had to be strong for them. I had to be their support, and if they couldn’t count on me, I was afraid of what might happen to them.
So what could I do? Where could I go?
If I couldn’t unload on somebody once in a while, especially after a glass or two of wine, then I was going to crack and—
Oh my God.
That’s when it dawned on me, right there in my car on the way to Monk’s place: All those dates with Scooter, what did I talk about?