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Literature / Mr. Monk Gets Even

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With Natalie employed in Summit as a cop, Ambrose tying the knot, and Ellen Morse having set up shop in San Francisco, Monk's unchanging life has undergone some ripples, but none of this prepares the detective for the disturbance about to ensue. His nemesis Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck receives a temporary release from prison for a weight-loss surgery, putting Monk and Stottlemeyer on edge. Their suspicions prove all too accurate when Dale disappears during an emergency at the hospital, and Stottlemeyer gets the blame. Monk, reeling from Dale's escape and from other recent failures, begins to worry that he's lost his edge.

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This book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Blackmail: Stottlemeyer threatens Deputy Chief Fellows into giving Monk and the police detectives commendations, striking the charges against him from the record, and resigning with the information that he doesn't have a degree in criminology as he boasted and his career is based on deception.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Downplayed. Stottlemeyer claims he didn't help Dale get out and the apparent payoff was a set-up. Monk and company naturally believe him, but the deputy chief doesn't. Monk eventually proves him innocent.
    • Jenna Dobbs insists she didn't kill her husband, despite the blood on her blouse and her fingerprints on the knife. Monk eventually figures out he framed her.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Monk getting irked by Dobbs having a tattoo that reads "CaringForever" (without a space) and Ellen's musings that everyone has to live with their mistakes leads to him realizing who the serial killer he's looking for is.
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    • Julie storms about how in the world someone as stupid as Deputy Chief Fellows could have a degree in criminology after Stottlemeyer is accused and suspended. She eventually finds out that the university he attended didn't even offer that degree until after his graduation.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Julie indulges in Oreo ice cream after her boyfriend dumps her.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The reason the police couldn't find Dale anywhere in the city was that he had been posing as another surgery patient. The doctor assigned to him hadn't done the surgery and didn't know the difference.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The murders of Carin Branham, David Zuzelo, and Bruce Grossman are all dressed up to look like unfortunate accidents.
  • Monster Fangirl: Stella Chaze, a local woman who had become Dale's girlfriend during incarceration, plays a part in the story. She creates a massive traffic accident to help him escape, injuring dozens of people, and ultimately blows up her house in an attempt to kill Stottlemeyer and Monk (or keep them from getting any information regarding where her boyfriend is) when they come to question her. Lampshaded by the following exchange between Stottlemeyer, Monk and Julie Teeger:
    Monk: What could any woman possibly see in him?
    Julie: Why are you asking me? I think he's repulsive.
    Stottlemeyer: Some women find revulsion and fear incredibly exciting. Haven't you noticed that convicted serial killers always have women lining up to marry them? In this case, it probably doesn't hurt that he's also obscenely rich.
    Julie: He's obscene all around.
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  • Never Suicide: Played with. The plot involves a set of three murders disguised as accidents. Monk pins them on a Steve Jobs-esque computer company founder named Cleve Dobbs (the name is even phonetically pronounced similarly), but the evidence is somewhat shaky. Then Dobbs is apparently stabbed to death by his wife, meaning Monk is wrong about Dobbs. Until Monk realizes that Dobbs was dying from Lou Gehrig's disease and knew he only had a year left to live. He killed three people he believed wronged him, then killed himself in a very ingenious way that would cast suspicion on his wife.
  • Squick: In-universe, Stottlemeyer stays in the operating room during Dale's surgery to keep an eye on him.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Cleve Dobbs cuts himself, getting blood on his wife's blouse, then stabs himself multiple times and throws himself off the balcony of his house. He knew he had Lou Gehrig's disease and would die anyway in a matter of years, and he wanted to get even with his wife for cheating on him.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Monk is baffled when Stottlemeyer mentions that Dale had a girlfriend while he was in prison (and that said girlfriend tried to sue for conjugal visits). Julie, disgusted, tells him she can't explain it either. Stottlemeyer suggests it's because of his air of danger and his obscene amount of riches.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Cleve Dobbs kills three people who wronged him and stages them to look like accidents, and then kills himself in a way that it looks like his wife killed him, after learning he's dying from Lou Gehrig's disease.
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