MR. MONK IN OUTER SPACE by Lee Goldberg

Recently out in paperback, Goldberg's fifth Monk tie-in novel has the obsessive-compulsive detective investigating the murder of Conrad Stipe, creator of the '70s science fiction series Beyond Earth, committed by someone dressed as Mr. Snork, security chief aboard the starship Discovery.

This backdrop allows Goldberg ample opportunity to riff and nod to science fiction fandom and show business in the same raucously enjoyable way Galaxy Quest does (also starring Tony Shalhoub). Helping Monk and Natalie on the case is Adrian's agoraphobic brother Ambrose, expert on Beyond Earth lore.

What may be the purest fun Monk novel may also be the most harrowing, thanks to the looming presence of a hitman. It's to Goldberg's credit the two extremes work together for another great read.

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