Published by Random House Audio on July 11, 2017
Length: 12 hrs 53 mins
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For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale comes a tour de force of horror, humor, and H.P. Lovecraft. The surviving members of a forgotten teenage detective club (and their dog) must reunite as broken adults to finally solve the terrifying case that ruined them all and sent the wrong man to prison. Scooby Doo and the gang never had to do this!
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.
With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids taps into our shared nostalgia for the books and cartoons we grew up with, and delivers an exuberant, eclectic, and highly entertaining celebration of horror, life, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.
Meddling Kids was my “scary” read for October and I have to say I loved it. In full disclosure, we are huge fans of Scooby-Doo; we own all the original episodes on DVD and some of the newer ones; we read tons of the paperback kids books when Amber was younger. Also, Amber and I have read a fair amount of Lovecraft and we play at least two Lovecraft themed board games occasionally; she even did a report in school on him. So, I feel like I am this book’s target audience. I have not read any of Edith Blyton’s Famous Five stories, but I feel like I should. This book is fabulous on its own, but it’s also a kind of tribute and it knows it, if that makes sense. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. Yes, it’s fan fic, but the best kind.
You can read the blurb. The Blyton Summer Detective Club “solved” their last mystery back in 1977, but the things didn’t get explained still haunt them. The three still living members, Nate, Kerri, and Andy, and their dog, Tim, a descendant of their companion in the ’70s, head back to Blyton Hills to finally confront the real monsters. Well, the 5th member of the gang, Pete, gets included too, as Nate’s hallucination, which was a pretty smooth way of showing how devastating that final case was and allowing the whole gang to still be together.
I listened to this on audio which worked really well. I loved the writing style. I enjoyed the switches from typical novel style to almost a screenplay format, complete with stage directions. I’m not sure how that worked in the print version, but on audio it made me smile. Cantero has a habit of making up words, like “tragichuckled” and “howlretched.” I love that kind of thing, but I also have a tendency to make up words, just ask my daughter, so I may be a bit biased. I also loved his use of anthropomorphism for everything from gardens to pencils to hair. Okay, the hair bit was overdone – yes Kerri has awesome hair, can we move on? I think though that some of the things I loved may be the same things other people hate.
The monsters were creepy and the fight scenes were good, although not my favorite parts. The scene about the elder thing creature was a bit of a let down though. There was a real flesh and blood villain, but ages away from the guy in the mask.
It’s dark and funny and I loved it. On the one hand, I’m hoping there’s a sequel; the ending did leave it open for one. On the other, would a second just repeat the same tricks and feel tired?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: