Author: Edgar Cantero
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️✈️ ✈️
It’s the summer of 1977 and the small mining town of Blyton Hills, located in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon, has it’s very own teen detective agency, the Blyton Summer Detective Club. Comprised of tomboy Andy, kid genius and budding biologist Kerri, horror nerd Nate, jock Peter and their faithful Weimaraner, Sean. During this fateful summer, the Blyton Summer Detective Club finds themselves facing their most terrifying and dangerous mystery yet. One that leaves a permanent scar on all of the members and leads to the disbanding of the group.
Fast forward to 1990 and the kids are grown and still suffering from the fall out of their final case. Thus, Andy decides that it’s up to her to get the gang back together to solve the case once and for all. After convincing Kerri, and her Weimaraner Tim (a descendant of Sean the groups original dog) to help her, the three break Nate out of the asylum he currently resides at in Arkhum, Massachusetts. Unbeknownst to Kerri and Andy, Peter is coming along for the journey, despite the fact that he’s long dead and can only be seen by Nate. With the group back together, they make the journey back to where it all began and find that the evil they unwittingly unleashed all those years ago has been waiting for their return in hopes of being made free once and for all.
This was one of those books that I decided I just had to read it based solely on the title as it brought up memories of watching Scooby Doo, Where Are You? as a child and the infamous line said by every villain in the series who had their plot foiled by the group, “And I would’ve gotten way with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.” I did make a point to read the description of this newfound book that was invoking childhood nostalgia, and after reading the description I knew that this was the book for me. I immediately put in a hold request with my local library, despite the fact that the book had yet to release, and was beyond excited when my request came in and I was the first to read the copy that waited for me.
I’m happy to say that for me Meddling Kids did not disappoint. I loved all of the references to such childhood favorites: as Scooby Doo with the name of the valley in which the town sits being the Zoinx River Valley after Shaggy’s favorite exclamation; and local newspaper reporter Nancy Hardy, a reference to the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books of my youth. Reading this book made me feel like I was looking into an alternate Scooby Doo story where the teen detectives not only grew up, but ceased to solve mysteries after suffering a huge trauma that continued to follow them into adulthood. A trauma that resulted in alcoholism, crime, insanity and suicide. This is the story of what would’ve happened if the Scooby Gang had failed and needed to make one final attempt in order to heal once and for all.
I loved the characters in this book and seeing how their shared trauma affected each of them in turn. They each work to show the reader that although various people may experience the same event, what they take away from it and how they react and learn to cope with that event is different for every individual. The one character I loved the most, would most definitely have to be the dog, Tim. Tim, being a lovable dog obsessed with his penguin squeak toy reminded me of my own dog Ripley who also loves his squeaky penguin. Tim was the perfect comedic relief to what would’ve been a truly dark and unsettling story. He helped to lighten the mood while doing his duty of protecting his humans, especially Kerri.
Although there are those who won’t enjoy this book, either because they don’t like the style or find that it isn’t exactly what they were hoping for, I loved this satirical look at the teen detective genre and the childhood nostalgia it invoked for me. Now that I’ve read and enjoyed this book so much, I look forward to reading his first English language novel, The Supernatural Enhancements.