Friday, May 29, 2015

FFB Review: "MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP" (2009) by Lee Goldberg

Barry has been shouldering the majority of the load each Friday recently and does so again this week as he reviews MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP by Lee Goldberg. For the complete list of all the suggestions this week make sure you head over to Patti Abbott’s blog.

MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP (2009) by Lee Goldberg

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Obsessive-compulsive and phobic since childhood, Adrian Monk was a San Francisco Police Department homicide detective with an enviable arrest record until he had a complete breakdown after his wife was murdered. After his recovery, which took several years, his obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias intensified by his loss, he applied for reinstatement into the SFPD but was turned down. His good friend Captain Leland Stottlemeyer put him on his department’s budget as a consultant and has used him ever since whenever a particularly difficult murder case presents itself.
In the novel under consideration, substantial budget cuts have compelled Stottlemeyer reluctantly to eliminate Monk’s consultancy, so that he and, by extension, his assistant (and the story’s narrator) Natalie Teeger, are out of work.

Somewhat more episodic than most of its predecessors in the series, the novel has Monk casually solving a multitude of murders throughout because he simply can’t help not doing so and, eventually, because he and Natalie are hired by Intertect, an elite private investigative agency run by former cop Nicholas Slade. One of the meatiest cases he’s assigned concerns the murders of several judges. The client is one Salvatore Lucarelli, a big-time mobster currently in jail and awaiting trial. The novel’s other major case, which Monk looks into independent of the agency, to Slade’s great exasperation, concerns the killing of Paul Braddock, former SFPD detective now working in the desert town of Banning, who is an old colleague/enemy of Captain Stottlemeyer’s. Braddock is the titular dirty cop who has recently had both verbal and physical altercations with Stottlemeyer. The evidence in his death points overwhelmingly to the captain, but Monk knows Stottlemeyer is no murderer. Out of loyalty to the man who has always been unswervingly loyal to him, he sets out to prove it by tracking down Braddock’s actual slayer.

Author Lee Goldberg has conveyed in this outing Monk’s idiosyncrasies to great effect, as usual, inducing a lot of smiles and occasional out-loud laughter. (Monk’s embrace of a device called the Diaper Genie* that he sees as one of mankind’s salvations is in itself worth the price of admission.) A predominant aspect of this particular entry in the series is Natalie’s identity crisis. It’s well handled without becoming cloying, marks a rite of passage for Monk’s oft-harried assistant, and adds depth to her character. 

Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop is easy to recommend.

*I had no idea if this item was real or fictional, so I looked it up on-line. It’s real.

© 2015 Barry Ergang

Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. Some of it is available at Amazon and at Smashwords. His website is


jhegenbe said...

Good pick, but not yet forgotten. Thanks!

Barry Ergang said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Actually, I can think of any number of FFB titles that aren't really forgotten. E.g., today there are a couple of Agatha Christie titles on the list at Patti's blog.

R.K. Robinson said...

On the cover, he looks like he's trying to cast a magic spell or hypnotize someone. Ha! I have seen a few episodes but not tried any of the tie-in books.