I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.
Mr. Monk is a Mess is Lee Goldberg's penultimate "Monk" novel (his last, Mr. Monk Gets Even, is slated for release in January of 2013). Mr. Monk is a Mess picks up where Mr. Monk on Patrol leaves off, immediately resolving the cliffhanger (only to halfway unresolve it for most of the narrative).
Natalie returns to an unpleasant surprise in her San Francisco home: a dead woman in her bathtub. To make matters worse, $5000 in marked bills is in an envelope under Natalie's mattress. Another $5000 from the same FBI-marked batch is in the dead woman's purse. The FBI is building a theory that Monk and Natalie are in cahoots with mob boss Lucarelli, who has benefited from Monk's detecting skills in the past.
As if that weren't enough, Ambrose is frantic because Yuki, his live-in girlfriend, has disappeared. He is counting on Monk and Natalie to find her, and Natalie must convince Monk that her disappearance is NOT for the best.
Much of this novel is about Natalie coming into her own as an investigator, using the confidence she gained as an acting police officer in Summit. For Monk, there are lessons to be learned about accepting change and realizing that he has been adapting to changes all along.
The book did not end entirely as I'd anticipated, and although I have some mixed feelings about the way it did end, I also found the closing to be satisfying. I'll be curious to see what direction Goldberg takes in his final "Monk" novel, since he establishes a major change.
Goldberg has written that the series might continue with a different author. If it does, I hope the writer in question does not hit a big "reset" button and undo what Goldberg has accomplished in his last few novels in this series.