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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#allthebookreviews: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero @doubledaybooks #edgarcantero @jessicamapreviews

Meddling Kids
by Edgar Cantero
Doubleday Books

Happy book birthday!! 🎂

Scooby Doo reimagined as The Blyton Summer Detective Club, but grittier.

Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale comes a tour de force of horror, humor, and H.P. Lovecraft. The surviving members of a forgotten teenage detective club (and their dog) must reunite as broken adults to finally solve the terrifying case that ruined them all and sent the wrong man to prison. Scooby Doo and the gang never had to do this!

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven't seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she's got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter's been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids taps into our shared nostalgia for the books and cartoons we grew up with, and delivers an exuberant, eclectic, and highly entertaining celebration of horror, life, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.

My Thoughts: 

Scooby Doo meets H.P. Lovecraft?  Who wouldn't want to dig in with a book being marketed this way?  Certainly not me since that seemed quite the, um, interesting pairing.

Teen detectives (The Blyton Summer Detective Club) are well known for solving a particular case, and their last one at that, in Sleepy Lake.  Somehow, something resonates horrifically with each of them - the invariadubitably (hey, if the author can make up words, so can I - it's fun to say - try it!) large pink elephant in the room! Thirteen unlucky years later, they reunite to go back and face this metaphorical elephant head on.

I am so torn with this novel.  I want to love it.  I really do.  But I just... don't.  What I liked about it: various ha ha moments with nods such as "Nancy Hardy, journalist", Arkham Asylum and Zoinx River.  Cute, very cute.  And going in with Scooby Doo being the main factor, it was easy to see how this was more humor and nostalgia than anything else.  For that, I can appreciate it.  However, what didn't work for me was the writing style.  I felt it was all over the place.  Set stage one, scene one... and then back to novel style... then screenplay... sometimes dispersed sporadically throughout a section written like a (dare I say) "normal" book.  I also learned more about the proper way to destroy a man's testicles than I ever needed to, though I found myself smiling during this part and I'm not sure what that says about me as a person or if I'm just in a mood... *wink*.  And that was just in the first 50 pages.  Ultimately the story line was fine - I can totally appreciate what the author was trying to do and found my love (again) for the Scooby Gang, er... BSDC, that is.  I think the writing style hurt my brain a bit though.  I'm off to find the Mystery Machine and Shaggy for some Scooby Snacks. 


Jessica's Thoughts:

The second I saw this cover and heard, "Lovecraft meets Scooby-Doo" I was instantly intrigued. MEDDLING KIDS by Edgar Cantero was nothing less than that! It was horror and humor mixed together and I definitely enjoyed the read. I can already say that this won't be for everyone - some of the words/language used and the mix of styles made it an awkward read at times, but I still enjoyed the unique reading experience.    

We go back and forth between present day, 1990, and the past, 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club - a group of teen detectives and their dog - haven't seen each other since their last, failed, case back in 1977. Our characters are Andy, Kerri and Tim (the Weimaraner), Nate, and Peter. Andy, the tomboy, is now on the run and she is wanted in two states, Kerri, the kid genius and blossoming biologist, is now a bartender with a serious drinking problem. Time, the Weimaraner, isn't the original dog side kick of the group, but he is the descendant! Then we have Nate, the lover of all things horror, has been in and out of mental institutions for the last 13 years. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the jock turned movie star, but there's only one problem, Peter's been dead for years. 

The time has come where they must go back to Blyton Hills, their small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley (Oregon), to uncover their final mystery from 1977, the Sleepy Lake Monster Case. This was the case that ruined them and resulted in the wrong man going to prison for the crimes. 

Cantero has a very interesting writing style. Something that keeps you on your toes - changing from narrative to a more screenplay-type style. I can see this putting some people off. He also adds in some over the top words that aren't words. It was definitely an interesting read from start to finish. 

I enjoyed the mystery and will definitely say that it is more on the humorous side than the scary side. Still lots of spooky and eeriness to it though! Just what you'd expect from Scooby-Doo and the Gang. The characters are well developed and likable, they definitely came into their own and weren't the clear images of Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy. 

If you want a mystery horror story with a lot of comedic relief, then this is the book for you. If you're looking for something terrifying, this probably wouldn't be my first recommendation. Now, excuse me while I go watch some Scooby-Doo!

I give this 4.5/5 stars!


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