Edgar Cantero’s ‘Meddling Kids’ Review

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The Blyton Summer Detective Club solved their last case in the Summer of ’77; but what they saw that night stuck with each of them, haunting their days and nights. Now, over ten years later, the remaining members of the BSDC must head back to Sleepy Lake to get to the bottom of the real mystery, because this time it isn’t a man in a mask.

Published: July 11th, 2017

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Pages: 322

5 Stars (2)

 

“We weren’t meddling kids; we were pawns.”

 

Synopsis on jacket:

SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, 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 in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader . . . which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

 

“Well, we went creature hunting last night, and we came across this… We’re… ninety percent sure it was not a guy in a costume.”

 

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Okay, so first let me say this; WOW. Just wow.

The cover and synopsis were enough to have me buy this on site, no contemplation needed, and I was so beyond excited to read this. I won’t lie; at first, I was disappointed. The book started out a little slow, I was slightly confused, and the writing style isn’t something I’m used to at all. Really, this isn’t a genre that I read a lot of, so it was something new for me. I’m glad I took a chance on this though, because I really did love it. While this book is supposed to be a fun take on the old school mystery solving groups like Scooby-Doo (my personal favorite), Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys, this book certainly is not for the kiddos. I’d give this book more of a high school rating for language, gore, and black magic aplenty.

The thing about this book is that it’s so intricate; there’s a lot of shady stuff going on and you’re trying so hard to piece things together but you never quite figure it out on your own. This book is overflowing with plot twists, I mean you literally get a twist on the very last page. Really, the last paragraph is a plot twist. Major applause to the author for making that happen. Didn’t see it coming, but I loved it nonetheless!

Like I mentioned before, I did have to get used to the writing style but once I did I was really into this book. I loved the characters, the fresh and original concept, and how vividly the author describes things. For instance, Kerri’s beautiful, curly orange hair takes on a life of it’s own in the story. The way the author describes it makes it seem like every single strand has it’s own personality, like they’re there to worship Kerri. He does this same imagery with a bunch of other things in the book too, and it really makes for a magical read.

The characters were so on point. I loved their playful banter, the way they each had their own distinct skills and personalities, and the way they worked together so well to really solve this mystery. Not to mention how awesome Tim was; he was such a brave boy! Yay for Tim! I need a dog like Tim. Anyway, I could really see the parallels between these kids and the Scooby gang, but I could also appreciate how very different these characters are from the those they were sculpted after. It was like there were just enough similarities for me to get the Scooby feel, but also so many differences that it didn’t feel like I was just reading a Scooby Doo rip off.

The whole concept behind the book was so original and fresh and totally unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Like I said, there were so many plot twists this would probably make for a great show on HBO. Cantero’s writing style plays a lot into how this story is perceived too; there are time when he switches from a regular writing format to a kind of movie script format, where it’s just what the characters are saying rapid fire, and it helps give that feeling or urgency to their conversations or actions. Not to mention the parts where the characters seem to know they’re in a book, like when the chapter is supposed to end but Andy screams and forces the chapter to continue. Just stuff like that made this book the fun romp that it is.

All around I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, exciting, spooky, and fresh. Definitely wouldn’t be mad if there was some sort of second book or something (just saying). Great spooky Fall read, or for any other time you want to be scared by monsters!

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