Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Posted On 11 July 2017

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meddlingMeddling Kids is a story with a Scooby Doo vibe that brings to us a fun mystery with a dose of horror and a helping of nostalgia.  I was looking forward to this one.  I was expecting something a little different and this didn’t disappoint me in that respect.  More a popcorn book than a serious horror but good fun that kept me turning the pages.

Blyton Hills is a small town in Oregon where in the 1970s a gang of teenagers spent their summers solving mysteries.   Andy (Andrea), the tomboy of the group, Kerri, the brains, Nate the slightly crazy nerd and Peter, the leader of the gang, and of course their trusty dog make up the Blyton Summer Detective Club,. They race around the place solving mysteries until their final case in 1977 which turned into something a lot more scary and perhaps a little too real.  Fast forward to the ’90s.  The group have long since gone their separate ways. Their dreams didn’t quite work out as planned. Peter, the only one who seemed to achieve success is long dead, Kerrie’s dreams of becoming a biologist went awry with a less than perfect degree, Andy is a rebel with a cause and a knack for getting into trouble and Nate has self committed himself to an asylum. It seems that their final case had a bigger impact than they realised and it’s time for the remaining members to return to Blyton and face sone truths about what really went on back in ’77.

I must start by saying I found this a lot of fun. I wouldn’t say I’m a Scooby expert but even so there were so many elements that made me smile. Men dressed in monster suits, trapdoors, a creepy mansion on a deserted island, a crazy bunch of clues that seem to come out of nowhere and locals that all seem a bit suspicious, but on top of that is the fact that Cantero has given this a horror aspect and the monsters are no longer men in suits.  Real swamp style creatures surrounded with mist that seem to come straight out of a nightmare and yet they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

So, what did I like about this.  I liked the adult twist on a theme that provokes nostalgia.  I guess we all have something in this vein that we loved growing up with where the kids or young people run around solving mysteries whilst the adults seem to be clueless.  Whether it’s the feel good Goonies or The Famous Five, Harry Potter or sone other gang its a theme that works and Cantero uses that to create an adult version where the characters have their own issues to deal with and the monsters are straight out of a Lovecraft horror story.

The characters are good fun and whilst they all bear some resemblance to the Scooby cast they’re not the same.  I loved that there was a dog still in the gang, Tim, a descendant from the original dog, the character Peter, even though no longer living, also joins in with the mystery albeit in non-corporeal form.  Even Kerrie’s hair seems to have a life of its own at times being buoyant with emotion or simply flowing and blowing in a non existent wind of its own.

The writing style.  Well, I’m not sure it will be for everyone but I enjoyed it.  Cantero seems to make up his own words almost and at first it can take a little bit of getting used to but I found his phrasing strangely likeable and oddly appropriate, on top of that the writing seems to jump in terms of style, at some points taking on the form of a script with dialoguge and screen directions.  I’m not going to pretend I really understand what the author’s aim was, is he trying to make this have a feel of a tv series, is it simply a play on the fact that this is a different take on a TVs series or is it just a fun way of mixing things up?  I don’t really know but I found that I liked it nonetheless.

This is not a story that takes itself seriously.  It’s an over the top, tongue in cheek crazy cartoon-esque romp with almost ridiculous action scenes that sets the goodies against the baddies and the odds are stacked against them.  It’s quirky and entertaining and I think that Cantero has managed to capture the essence of fun and silliness and give it a bit more of an adult vibe. Why shouldn’t us adults get to enjoy the fun after all?  If it wasn’t for those meddling adults that darned swamp creature with all the tentacles would be causing havoc about now.  If the Blyton Summer Detective Club set out on another mystery then I would definitely read more

I received a copy of Meddling .kids courtesy of the publisher through Edelweiss, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

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15 Responses to “Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero”

  1. Jennifer | Book Den

    I’m so glad you liked this!! I had a much different experience – the writing was not something I could get on board with – but I love that you had fun with it.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’ve read this author before so I was probably happily prepared. This felt almost like an adult comic to me with crazy horror elements that would really make you giggle. But I think a few people have not enjoyed the made up words and switch in writing styles. I’m still a bit puzzled about the screenplay style elements I must confess

  2. Tammy

    This is an eye catching cover, and sounds like a fun read! Tentacles…got to love them:-)

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’ve been seeing this book around the blogosphere a lot lately, and the cover and description did catch my attention. I did have a feeling that it was going to be more fluff than horror, so thanks for confirming that for me, though I’m still very much interested! Sometimes you just get that hankering for a popcorn book 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      It seems to be dividing opinion a little doesn’t it. I enjoyed it but two things, firstly I’m not a Scooby buff although I’ve seen the cartoon enough to make this fun and secondly the horror here is no more scary than it was in the cartoons although just as over the top. It was fun basically. The author does have an unusual style but I’ve read another of his books and liked that.
      Lynn 😄

  4. sjhigbee

    Well this one sounds a lot of fun. I’ll be keeping my eye out for this one…

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed it. An adult style Scooby with fun horror elements. Totally implausible and not a story to drill down into the detail of but I really liked it.

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    From your description there are vibes both from Stephen King’s “IT” and from the TV hit “Stranger Things” here, so I’m very intrigued and might try out this one, despite the weird writing style 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I liked it. I’m not a Scooby buff so I probably didn’t pick up on all the references but it just appealed to me.
      I can’t wait for stranger things 2. Only 3 months now. 😄

  6. Weekly Wrap Up : 16/7/17 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory -review to follow Godblind by Anna Stephens – review to follow […]

  7. jessicabookworm

    This sounds like a lot of fun – As a kid, I loved Scooby Doo 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Scooby doo is great, I don’t consider myself a buff but I loved some of the references in this book.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Deanna Reads Books

    I’m pretty intrigued by this novel, I love Scooby Doo! I’m not sure if I like the writing style you described, but I’m willing to give it a try!
    Deanna Reads Books

    • @lynnsbooks

      I enjoyed it and the different writing styles gave it a varied feels not for everyone though. I think some readers felt it pulled them out of the story. I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to pick it up.
      Lynn

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