Natalie Teeger finally gets her P.I. license. She and Detective Adrian Monk now have their own detective agency, although Natalie is technically Monk’s boss. He’s not thrilled with this turn of events but he’s even less thrilled when Natalie decides to go to a business seminar on a cruise ship. Monk can’t think of anything worse than spending a week on a ship but he’s not about to let Natalie go without him.
Monk’s idiosyncrasies drive everyone crazy on the ship, although Natalie is more than used to Monk’s strange ways. Luckily for them, the cruise director Mariah Linkletter is experienced in dealing with all types of people and manages to handle Monk as well. When Mariah goes overboard and her dead body is dragged from the water, Monk is on the job. Her death is declared an accident by the ship's doctor, but Monk knows better. Together, Natalie and Monk are on the case and vow to find out what really happened to the one person on board that had been nice to them.
I didn’t watch the Monk TV series when it originally aired, but this is the second Monk book I read – both by Hy Conrad - and I absolutely loved both. I guess I’m proof that you don’t have to be a fan of the show to enjoy these books. It wasn't so much a "whodunnit" mystery as a "how did they do it" mystery. It was enjoyable to watch Monk and Natalie try to unravel this one.
There are so many eccentric characters (besides Monk) and the humor is weaved through each page of the book. The author paints each scene so vividly that I could see it play out in my head as I was reading. There’s a hint of romance, but mainly it focuses on the unique relationship and friendship between Monk and Natalie. I do hope this series continues and someday I hope to read the backlist of books including the ones by Lee Goldberg. I, also, do plan to watch the series. I think I’d really enjoy it.
For reading challenges:
2014 ARC Reading Challenge
FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review for the blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Hy Conrad Guest Post
HOW TO CRUISE WITH MONK
Adrian Monk on a cruise ship! There are so many things wrong with those six words. And of course that’s what makes the idea so delightful.
Under normal circumstances, our obsessive-compulsive detective would never step foot on a boat. So my first challenge was to give him on board. The old cliché would be to have him to be there in order to say bon voyage and then get stuck as the ship pulled away. But it’s been decades since any cruise line would allow an unticketed person to board a ship, so that ploy was out.
My solution was to play to Monk’s vanity, an emotion even stronger than his dozens of phobias. If Monk didn’t get on the ship, he thought that Natalie was going to take over his detective agency. It wasn’t true, of course. But the fear of it got him over the gangplank.
Once on board, the masses of people would naturally drive him crazy. So would the buffet. Claustrophobia and the fear of being trapped on water would also play a role. And don’t even think about the lifeboat drill. You could practically write an episode: Mr. Monk and the Dirty Lifeboat. There was a surfeit of OCD riches. And that was the problem. How could I manage to have fun with Monk’s shipboard phobias and still have time to tell a story and solve a mystery?
For me the answer came with trying to avoid the obvious. It’s similar to the challenge we faced when we sent Monk to Mexico during season two of the TV show. We tried not to focus on the language and the culture and the dirt – too obvious and potentially debilitating for a whole episode. Instead, we spent our comedy moments on small things, like Monk refusing to hydrate himself because he couldn’t find his favorite brand of bottled water.
In this case, I started with the assumption that Monk doesn’t get seasick. That was a huge relief – to Natalie and to me. Also, Monk has progressed enough in his self-control to not freak out too much when dry land disappears over the horizon. The hordes of dirty, drunken vacationers do disturb him, yes, but not in a way that takes up valuable chapters. In addition, Monk deals fairly well with the buffets, as long as he can find food that’s pre-packaged and untouched.
That leaves the lifeboat drill, of course. On the first day at sea, when the drill occurs, Monk is already dealing with a lot of baggage, including a lot of actual baggage he’s brought on board. I discovered that the most efficient way of getting him through the drill was to use a trick we used several times on the show, to send Monk into a kind of mental fugue, an almost catatonic state of denial. The fugue saved me a lot of time and distraction
The end result was that I’d given Monk time to deal with other, less stereotypical problems; like lining up lounge chairs in a perfect row while people are still lounging, or tracking down an individually wrapped oatmeal cookie, even when it means going to an AA meeting to find one. Or, my favorite, Monk refusing to pay the single supplement and having to deal with an obnoxious cabin-mate.
During the life of the show, whenever we put Monk in a great situation – a prison perhaps, or a circus or a garbage strike – our first approach was to imagine what the audience might expect in the way of OCD. And then we’d give them something a little different – to surprise them and yet still fulfill their expectations. So that’s what I tried here.
Hey, it was worth a shot!
Now you can win your own copy of Mr. Monk Gets On Board by Hy Conrad. Thanks to Obsidian, I have one paperback to giveaway to one lucky winner.
Just a few simple rules...
1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form below.
2) Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
3) US Residents Only
4) For one extra entry: Tweet about this giveaway.
5) For one extra entry: Leave a comment for the author.
6) For one extra entry: Follow this blog...old followers, too! Just let us know how you follow and under what name.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.
The giveaway begins on May 6th (midnight est) and ends on May 13th (midnight est).
The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner here on my blog.
a Rafflecopter giveaway