Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mr. Monk Helps Himself: Blog Tour Review

Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad, June 4, 2013. 304 pages. Published by NAL Hardcover. Source: Book tour.
Now that Monk and Natalie are both in San Francisco again, life is almost back to normal for the duo, with one exception: Natalie is studying for her PI license, the last step to becoming Monk’s full partner.

Before taking the plunge, Natalie sneaks off to Half Moon Bay for a retreat run by Miranda Bigley, charismatic leader of the Best Possible Me self-help program, whose philosophy has helped Natalie deal with her recent life changes. But her plans for a relaxing weekend away are disrupted when Monk tracks her down, determined to rescue her from the "cult.” Their argument is cut short when Miranda, in full view of everyone, calmly walks to the edge of a cliff and jumps off.

Even though Miranda’s death looks like suicide—especially when it’s discovered that she was on the brink of financial disaster—Natalie is sure it is murder. But Monk brushes her off to help the SFPD solve the murder of a clown, despite his coulrophobia, or fear of clowns—number ninety-nine on his list of one hundred phobias.

As Natalie and Monk begin their separate investigations, they are quickly caught up in many precarious situations, but if they want to figure out whodunit, they will have to find a way to become true partners….
First Sentence:
My boss has gotten easier to handle since I realized he’s a magpie. 

Going in to Mr. Monk Helps Himself I was unsure if I was going to like it since I never watched more than five minutes of the show. While I had some rough points, it was a generally interesting lark.
Even though the mystery aspect of the story was quite easy for me to solve, I enjoyed the humor and wit the most of the characters brought to the table in Mr. Monk Helps Himself. The fact that this book was humorous was shocking since I expected a bunch of overly serious characters (as you can see I never watched the show).

While I may have been annoyed with Natalie, I enjoyed that her character was able to take charge of the growth she would need to be taken seriously as a P.I. and that as the book progressed she stuck with the line she drew. I admit that I enjoy reading about a character who sticks with the demands she makes, as, well as one who keeps trying to improve her skills.

Oddly enough, what I enjoyed the most about Hy Conrad’s book would have to be Monk himself. He was definitely one oddball with his obsessive neatness and germ phobia, but what made him interesting was seeing how under that craziness was seeing how he would try and step up out of his comfort zone to help his friends. I actually did not expect to like Monk’s character because of his eccentricities and because sometimes eccentric characters are just a little too out there (or overly done).

While an interesting read, there are two things that kept me from fully loving this one. One, the narrator, Natalie, kind of annoyed me. The reason I did not much care for Natalie’s narration of the events in Mr. 
Monk Helps Himself is because her character came across as flat and like she was trying too hard to be bigger than her character actually was. Two, the mysteries behind the two different crimes that Monk and Natalie worked on were a little too transparent for my taste. It might just be that I read entirely too many books and thus can unravel a plot in about fifty pages…I’ll leave the decision of this being a well spun mystery to you.

Final Verdict: Mr. Monk Helps Himself- an entertaining mystery with a dash of humor.

Mr. Monks Helps Himself earns 3.75 out of 5 pineapples.


  1. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed Mr. Monk Helps Himself.

  2. I read a lot of mysteries too, and don't like it when they are too transparent, as you say. However, I think it would be fun to re-visit Monk--we watched the show off and on over the years.

  3. Thanks for reading and reviewing my new book -- I'm glad you enjoyed although disappointed that you figured it out. I'll just have to try harder next time!


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