- Meddling Kids.
- Edgar Cantero.
- 464 pages.
- Horror / Mystery / Fiction / Humour.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
A nostalgic celebration of horror, friendship and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.
In 1977 the Blyton Summer Detective Club unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter who would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.
By 1990 the former detectives are haunted by strange, half-remembered events that cannot be explained by a guy in a mask. Andy, the once-intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, wants answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the former kid genius now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their leader… which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.
The time has come to get the team back together and find out what actually happened all those years ago. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Each summer Andrea ‘Andy‘ Rodriguez, the tomboy. Kerri Hollis, the clever one. Nate Rogers, Kerri’s cousin and the comic relief and Peter Manner, the popular one and leader of the group along with Sean, a Weimaraner, the trusty canine companion would meet in Blyton Hills, Pennaquick County, Oregon where they called themselves the Blyton Summer Detective Club (BSDC). The group with the aid of sleuthing and ingenious traps would solve various mysteries and nefarious schemes around Blyton Hills before unmasking the villain behind the monster or myth that had been causing the mayhem.
The last summer that the group were together was in 1977 where they took on their final case, the mystery of the Sleepy Lake Monster. They solved the case but didn’t return to Blyton Hills the following year. They had unmasked the villain and got their picture in the local paper but something far more sinister and supernatural than just another low-life in a mask was lurking in the shadows, dark forces were at work and loose ends were left unexplained.
Now, in 1990, the group are in their 20’s and have long since gone their separate ways. Andy is a drifter of sorts who can’t hold down a job, has anger issues and is wanted by the police in two states. Kerri, the brainiac who wanted to be a biologist never finished her studies and is now a bartender with a drinking problem who lives with Tim, an energetic young Weimaraner who is descended from the groups original canine companion, Sean. Nate resides in a mental asylum and Peter Manner, the former leader became a film star and died but through his ghost still talks to Nate.
People change and friends drift apart but the catalyst for the group disbanding was that final and eventful mystery which left an indelible mark on them all, haunting them and their lives ever since. After thirteen years it’s time to reform the BSDC, return to Blyton Hills to exorcise their own demons and finally uncover the truth behind the mystery of the Sleepy Lake Monster.
The group have changed from their childhood and so has Blyton Hills. It’s not the place that they remember, gone is the prosperous town of their youth and instead, upon returning they find a rundown and dilapidated area.
All of the members of the Blyton Hills Detective Club (including the ghost of Peter) have their own individual personalities and Tim, their trusty, faithful and erstwhile canine companion is just as much an integral part of the group as the humans. Throughout the duration of Meddling Kids they are a group that you will smile at, laugh with and come to care about.
The secondary characters also all have a role to play in the story from Captain Al, a retired Airforce captain who used to help the club and assist them (kids need driving around) with their mysteries to the town sheriff, Deputy Copperseed through to Joey Krantz the reformed child bully who used to torment the group back in the days of the original BSDC.
Meddling Kids is Scooby Doo, the Goonies and Enid Blyton’s the Famous Five after they’ve all grown up, lost the naivety of youth and after life has taken its toll. There’s a dark undercurrent to the book that highlights that what you see and do in your youth and your childhood experiences can leave scars that bleed into adulthood affecting your life and also, that true friendship stands the test of time and can endure miles and hardship.
It took me a while to get used to the writing style of Canero as being honest, I found it rather strange. Cantero has a tendency to create and use his own words and often writes conversations like you are reading a script including the occasional stage directions (Drew looks up, pondering what to write next) in the book and honestly, for the first fifty pages (approximately) I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to enjoy Meddling Kids or not. However, something just clicked, I became accustomed to Canero’s writing, the pieces fell into place, the characters pulled me in and as the mystery began to unravel I ended up really liking Meddling Kids finding it to be well worth investing my time in and a blast to read.
You will, admittedly, at times find yourself having to suspend your disbelief at some of the scenarios that the group get up to. Familiar cartoon tropes like an evil corporation, a haunted mansion, a creepy lake, an abandoned mine, monsters, chase sequences, hijinks and wacky traps abound but it’s all done in such good fun that you can’t help but smile, be entertained and enjoy the ride.
The name of the book ‘Meddling Kids‘ is the phrase that the villains in Scooby-Doo used to use after being caught and unmasked by the gang. Meddling Kids is a homage and a love letter to those older day classic cartoons and children’s detective clubs mixed with a tinge of horror.
Meddling Kids wears those labels like a badge of honour exuding a sense of nostalgia, mystery and adventure from within the pages and is a tongue in cheek fun-filled romp.
Purchase Meddling Kids.
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