Mr. Monk Gets Even is the 15th book in the Mr. Monk book series. It was released on December 31, 2012 by NAL.
An all-new original mystery starring Adrian Monk, the brilliant investigator who always knows when something's out of place...
It may be a foggy San Francisco summer, but for Adrian Monk the future is looking bright. Natalie is off working as a cop in Summit, his brother Ambrose and Yuki are a week away from their wedding, Monk has a new assistant—Natalie's daughter Julie—and even a girlfriend, Ellen Morse.
All this change doesn't keep Monk from work, though. He's investigating a string of accidental deaths and suicides that he quickly determines are actually murders. But when the man Monk pegs for the murder is killed, Monk is forced to face the fact that, for the first time, he might actually be wrong. Have stability, domesticity, and happiness robbed Monk of his special skills? Has Monk lost his mojo?
Meanwhile, Monk's imprisoned arch nemesis, the morbidly obese criminal mastermind Dale the Whale, is being transferred from prison to San Francisco General Hospital for an operation. But when Dale escapes and all signs point to Captain Stottlemeyer as his accomplice, Monk will have to reboot his detective skills to clear the captain's name—and prove that he's still the one and only Monk.
Natalie is working as a police officer in Summit, New Jersey, under Chief Disher, while her daughter Julie takes her place as Adrian Monk's temporary assistant. Adrian's brother Ambrose is getting married to his girlfriend and assistant Yuki Nakamara. After solving his latest case, Monk's nemesis Dale "the Whale" escapes from prison and Leland Stottlemeyer is framed for assisting his escape.
In Summit, Natalie is staking out a grocery store, looking for a shoplifter who has been stealing laundry detergent in bulk. Natalie finds and arrests the man, and he gives up the location of an "underground" grocery store, where stolen goods are being sold to low-income families at cut-rate prices. She busts the "store"'s owners and calls for backup. Although Chief Disher congratulates her on her success, Natalie can't help but feel that solving murders with Monk was more rewarding. Disher says he understands, but reminds her that Monk's cases are the exception, not the rule, and most law enforcement is regular, street-level work like what Natalie did - it may not be "sexy", but it's important all the same. Natalie also can't help but feel guilty since the "store" was providing goods to poor people who can't otherwise afford to buy them. Disher reminds her that the thefts hurt the legitimate stores, who then transfer the cost to their consumers, and also that places like the underground store become magnets for drug dealers and other criminal activity if they aren't shut down quickly. Natalie is comforted, but a small part of her still wishes she was back in San Francisco, with Monk.
In San Francisco, Julie has stepped into her mother's shoes as Monk's assistant - an easy transition for her, since Monk knows and trusts her, and she already has a good relationship with Captain Stottlemeyer and his new right hand, Lt. Devlin. Their latest "client" is a gentleman named David Zuzelo, who apparently jumped to his death from his apartment window. Because the apartment occupies the 17th floor (a high floor, and an uneven number), Monk refuses to come up to see for himself. Julie's quick thinking prompts her to link her iPhone's video chat with Devlin's, allowing Monk to guide her on a "tour" around. Monk quickly realizes that it was murder: someone Zuzelo knew came into his apartment, ambushed him by hitting him in the face with a book, then pitched him out the window. The proof: (1) there are small fragments of glass from Zuzelo's reading glasses between the pages of the book he was reading (which the killer used to hit him) and the killer pitched the glasses out the window, to try and conceal the damage done by the book; (2) there is a hole in the seat of a wicker chair, that someone used to change a smashed light bulb in the living room; it can't have been Zuzelo, who would not have been too heavy for a chair in his own home, and was too short to reach the light bulb even with the chair. Stottlemeyer concedes that Monk is right, while Devlin, still getting used to being upstaged by Monk, takes a moment longer.
Back at the precinct, Stotlemeyer has some bad news for Monk: Dale "the Whale" is being temporarily released from prison. Since all of Dale's vast holdings are currently tied up in lawsuits, the State of California is being forced to foot the bill for all of the special care and accommodation required to house, feed, and provide medical care to a 500-lb. man in a state prison (he weighed 800 lbs when he was first incarcerated, but has lost 300 since then; Julie remarks that if that's true, the State could make a fortune marketing the "San Quentin Diet"). To solve the problem, the State has decided to pay for Dale to undergo radical surgery to remove his excess fat. Monk says Dale will certainly use his freedom to escape, but Stottlemeyer assures him that the operation will leave Dale incapacitated for weeks, and the hospital will be heavily guarded before, during, and after the operation.
After their meeting with Stottlemeyer, Julie drops Monk off at Ambrose's house, where both brothers are being fitted for their wedding tuxedos. The next day, they both go to the hospital to meet with Stottlemeyer, who has double-checked the security detail and will be personally watching Dale's surgery. When Dale is wheeled in, Julie - who has never seen him before - is unable to suppress a gasp of horror, and Dale teases that he could use someone like her close to him once he's a free man again.