Anne Perry's William Monk novels had their dramatic climax when Monk and his love-hate interest Hester Laterly announced their engagement. Now that they have a perfectly pleasant marriage, the mysteries are still interesting, but the special zing Monk novels had is all but vanished. The case Monk faces this time involves both gun running, the civil war, and fratricide, and Monk does his patented asking-around-until-the-last-possible-minute schitck with his usual aplomb. It's very predictable, what provides most of the dramatic tension in this book is the way Hester gets to face up to her trauma from the Crimean War when she finds herself nursing soldiers at first Manassas (aka. Bull Run). There are also some touching bits with Hester and Rathbone, but I think I've spoiled this book enough. If your a fan, enjoy, if you're not, read an earlier Monk - preferably one published before "The Twisted Root". "Defend and Betray" was excellent.