MEDDLING KIDS by Edgar Cantero
Release Date: 11 July 2017
My Rating: 4/5
The gang is back! The Blyton Summer Detective Club was a tight group of teenagers who solved freaky mysteries with the help of their loyal, goofy dog. Episodic, unexplained terrors were averted by these teens who would reveal the culprit as a guy in a costume, arrested while crying out “…and I would have too if not for those meddling kids!” Now these teenagers are adults and they have spent the past 13 years unable to shake the Sleepy Lake creature mystery. Too many bizarre, unnatural things occurred and nightmares have followed the team no matter how far they’ve run. Now Andy, Kerrie, Nate, Peter, and Tim (the dog) join together to take one last trip to Blyton Hills and uncover what is truly happening there.
I worried initially that all the clever, tongue-in-cheek references to Scooby-Doo would grow tiring. There are quite a handful of them, the most offensive being the “Zoink” river in Blyton Hills and, of course, the titular “Meddling Kids”. As the story picks up my concerns abated. This is, thankfully, not just a book exhorting the silliness of Scooby-Doo but a genuine effort to follow these meddling kids (all grown up) who have a real messy mystery on their hands. Cantero’s divergence from the canon of the characters helps avoid a “fan-fiction” vibe while still feeling beloved and familiar.
Colloquial metaphors coupled with an anthropomorphism of the landscape makes Cantero’s descriptive passages clever and entertaining. It takes a certain brand of wordsmith to pull that off and Cantero is a master. The writing style is equally unique, a combination of script, meta-writing, and standard prose. If you were a big Scooby fan this is a raucous, funny, action-packed, sometimes sexy, often thrilling romp. Recommended for meddling kids looking for their retro fix.