Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

I’ve found out that satires are just not my cup of tea. However, here’s a bunch of tea on this book. Meddling Kids is pretty much a rewrite of the live action Scooby Doo movie for the first half and a rough draft trying to be a mystery novel in the second.

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There’s a great homage to the good old Scooby Doo gang and that’s great! It’s what really got me to pick up this book in the first place… but I just have to say it never really grabbed my attention and it didn’t really get interesting until about 60% of the way through. This book could have been so great because

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Unfortunately, I just had to keep telling myself…

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I just really couldn’t tell what this book was trying to be. Horror? Comedy? Satire? Serious? It’s a mystery for sure, especially since this book was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Horror in 2017.

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.

Goodreads Summary

But the man in the mask was so haunted by whatever he saw in the house that he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and child endangerment along with a list of other charges landing him in prison for 13 years, much to the confusion of the kids. But this old guy was pretty much just like…

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Don’t forget about the old lady – direct decendant of the original owner of the haunted house that ended their detective agency so many summers ago that they’re about to revisit – who writes vampire erotica.

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There was just too much I-don’t-even-know-what-to-call-it in this book so I’m just going to give you a little list of things that I thought were weird about it.

  • The river in this book is called the Upper Zoinx River… what.
  • Zera the Warrior princess is a show… but so is Zena the Warrior Princess IRL.
  • Arhkam Asylum was a little too on the nose for me… but then again so was Upper Zoinx River
  • The dogs’ names are Tim and Sean and sometimes they talk and they’re Weimaraners like Scooby.
  • Kerri’s hair is it’s own character with feelings and ideas. Yes. Her hair.
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The writing style really got me on this one as well. In parts of the book Cantero jumps into a kind of stage play writing style complete with stage directions. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about… (not a direct quote from the book.)

Nate looked at her for the first time in this chapter.

and…

Kerri said off screen.
Andy:
Kerri:
Andy: *Pause* What do you mean?

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But what confused me most was the author’s choice to then just jump back into the he said she said style. It really took me out of the book every single time.

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The characters just didn’t really have enough depth for me either. Andy, a butch, dark skinned *don’t call her a girl* is in love with Kerri and always has been. But don’t get Kerri’s character confused because she’ll tell you…

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But she totally is because she’s got the long red hair and the *my glasses! I can’t see without my glasses!* Oh wait… she’s a total Dalma (Daphne / Velma) mash-up.

And don’t forget Peter (who’s dead but haunts Nate who is totally Shaggy) Peter is Freddie. He and Daphne Kerri were in love before he became a movie star and overdosed.

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Honestly this book might be someone’s absolute favorite and that’s great but it really just had me like…

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