Monday, September 30, 2013

Mr. Monk Helps Himself: Review and Giveaway

Have you met Monk yet?  This was my first meeting with detective Adrian Monk, "a brilliant San Francisco detective whose obsessive compulsive disorder just happens to get in the way". Published in the summer of 2013, Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad is a cozy mystery, the first novel in the series to be written by this author, who spent eight years writing for the Monk television series.  The book is set in San Francisco (one of my favorite cities), and is narrated by Monk's assistant, Natalie Teeger, who's studying for her PI license.







"Monk himself isn't a licensed PI.  For one thing, he's horrible at tests.  Not because of the questions, but because he has to sharpen and resharpen the pencil and then fill in every circle so that it's completely black and within the borders. So it's up to me to get the license and incorporate and make our business legit.  Monk and Tegger, Consulting Detectives."
~ Mr. Monk Helps Himself, Hy Conrad    

Natalie is at a Best Possible Me retreat when the leader, Miranda Bigley, suddenly jumps off a cliff.   Her death looks like suicide, but Natalie supects it's murder.  Adrian Monk is also at the self-help retreat at Half Moon Bay, to rescue Natalie from this apparent cult.  But Detective Monk, who suffers from OCD and has numerous issues with cleanliness, aardvarks, and other things, is mostly concerned about helping the SFPD solve the case of a murder of a clown, even though he suffers from intense coulrophobia, the fear of clowns.


My first impression of the Monk series is quite a favorable one.  The title of this book is perfect, Hy Conrad's writing seems effortless, and the book is funny and riveting.  I loved the humor that runs through the book, which brings us Monk's obsession with cleaning light bulbs, and a shop named Poop on Union Street, although the book has an affecting, underlying sadness as well, because Monk's wife, Trudy, was killed by a car bomb, which remains a devastating, unsolved murder.  We have empathy for Monk, who was fired from the SFPD when his fears grew disabling, and hired back four years later as a consulting detective because of his keen ability to solve perplexing cases.

Although I like to figure things out myself whenever I read a mystery, perhaps most importantly, I've rediscovered something else--cozy mysteries are fun and entertaining!  At least, good ones are.  Additionally, Mr. Monk Helps Himself sparked my interest in watching the TV series, which I'd heard of but have never seen.  (Naturally, I turned to Wikipedia for help in this area.)  Monk (2002 - 2009; eight seasons) is an American detective television series created by Andy Breckman, starring Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk.  Having read this one book, I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy watching the TV series as well, largely because the characters, especially Natalie, Monk, Ellen, and Devlin, are great.  By this I mean that they're quirky and caring and likable; I'm eager to see these mysteries enacted (and I love another TV mystery series, The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series).  I truly enjoyed reading this comedic yet heatrending mystery novel.  More Monk, please!

Wonderful news!  Author Hy Conrad is generously offering a copy of Mr. Monk Helps Himself as a giveaway to one randomly chosen reader.  This giveaway is international (U.S./Canada, choice of print or ebook; ebook elsewhere)!

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment. 
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. 
  • Have you read other Monk books, or watched the TV show?  If so, leave a comment about this for an additional entry.

Enter by 5 PM PDT on Thursday, October 10.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Friday, October 11.  Good luck!



Thanks to Teddy from Premier Virtual Author Book Tours for sending me a complimentary copy of this mystery novel.  I am the last stop on this book tour.  For more reviews and giveaways, please visit the other stops on the Mr. Monk Helps Himself book tour.

24 comments:

  1. Yes I have watched the TV show. I'm surprised you never had. The book sounds exciting. I, too, like the No. 1 Ladies' Detective books and TV shows.

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    1. Gigi Ann, I'm definitely going to watch Monk now, on Netflix. I can't wait!

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  2. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it too. It was my first experience with Monk and I'm going to try and watch the show.

    No need to enter me in the giveaway since I already read it.

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  3. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed Mr. Monk Helps Himself so much!

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    1. Teddy, thank you for including me on this tour! I am going to watch the show a.s.a.p., starting from the first episode. :)

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  4. I enjoyed the show and would enjoy the book. Thanks for this giveaway. I am an e-mail subscriber. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. My husband just loves Mr. Monk and is looking forward to Tony's new TV show.

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  6. I've watched some of the shows myself and I've read Hy Conrad's books before, which I enjoyed. This sounds like a fun series! I like cozies.

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  7. My review partner, Sandra, read two Mr. Monk books and thought they were really funny.

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  8. I had no idea Mr. Monk had been published in book form. I used to watch the series in the early 2000s and it was pretty good. The cases were interesting and Mr. Monk is quite a character, very funny, highly intelligent and he has a terrible case of OCD! If you have a chance, I recommend watching a few episodes. I'm interested to see how they compare to the book.

    Thanks for hosting a giveaway, too, Suko!

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  9. I've never heard of these but this one sounds good. I enjoy cozy mysteries when I find some time to read them. No need to enter me though. I can't keep up with reading what I already have. Lol.

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  10. I've also seen a few of the shows, never realizing that it was based on actual books, I just presumed it was purely a script. My wife loved the show I guess she'll love this. thanks

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  11. I've watched every Monk show and now I'm watching the repeats. I was sorry to see it end! I haven't yet read any of the books. I would love to start with this one!

    https://twitter.com/CarolAnnM/status/386542987276075009

    I follow by GFC and email.


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    1. Carol, thank you for stopping by. I have just started watching the show, and am already a huge fan! :)

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    2. Suko,
      Thanks so much for your great review. It's always gratifying when the Monk books can draw in new fans. It makes me feel as if we're not just living off the glory of the show, but actually building a character that can go on for years.
      Your site is great by the way. Easy to navigate and with a lot of terrific books I've never heard of.
      Hy Conrad

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    3. Hy, thanks very much for stopping by, and for your kind words. Your book led me to the series, which is my new favorite TV show! :)

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  12. I don't know this Monk but an other one : an English detective in Oxford. It's a wonderful series too...

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  13. I loved Monk as a TV show. Tony Shalhoub is perfectly cast, and his depictions of Monk's OCD foibles are priceless! Great fun to watch. Great review of the book.I'm glad Hy Conrad wrote it from Natalie's perspective; she's a very interesting character, too, and the perfect foil for Monk.

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  14. Thanks for your review. I've seen the Mr. Monk advertisements for the TV show. I will try to watch it now that I know more about it.

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    1. Pat, the series is excellent and we plan on watching as many of the shows as we possibly can. Thank you for stopping by!

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  15. No need to enter me. Just wanted to say I enjoyed your review, and I've never seen the TV series either! I know my mother loved it, though.

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    1. Anna, thank you! The book and the show are terrific! We're hooked on Monk here! And I've finally realized that mystery is a favorite genre of mine.

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  16. Looks like it's a funny book that I will enjoy reading.

    China,
    Books We Read.

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  17. You should definitely check out the other books and the TV show-they're all good!

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