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A novella that seems to fall somewhere between coming-of-age fantasy and horror. I won't lie, I'm not even sure that I understood what this book is abA novella that seems to fall somewhere between coming-of-age fantasy and horror. I won't lie, I'm not even sure that I understood what this book is about, but it's so well written that I don't care that I don't understand what it means. Coming to the climax of the story, I simply could not read fast enough; Malerman creates such a sense of immediacy that it would have been impossible to put the book down by the second half....more
Ever wonder what happened to the Scooby Doo gang when they grew up? It wasn't exactly a question I ever thought I needed an answer to until Edgar CantEver wonder what happened to the Scooby Doo gang when they grew up? It wasn't exactly a question I ever thought I needed an answer to until Edgar Cantero decided he needed to give his unique twist on what that adulthood could have looked like. In his beautifully bizarre (bizarrely beautiful?) novel, Cantero introduces us to the Blyton Summer Detective Club, a group of 4 teenagers and their dog who spend their summer vacations solving mysteries in idyllic Blyton Hills. We're familiar with the team: there's Peter, the jock; Nate, the nerdy outsider; Andy, the tomboy; Kerri, the smart one; and Sean, the faithful Weimaraner. After their final case in the summer of 77, involving a masked fortune hunter trying to find the buried treasure of Deboën Mansion, the kids suddenly hang up their spy gear and retire from mystery solving.
Jump ahead thirteen years, and those same crime solving sleuths of young are now disillusioned 20-somethings trying to make their way thru life, not really understanding where their lives went wrong. Peter is dead (even tho Nate still talks to him), Nate is institutionalized (he talks to a dead guy, after all), Andy is a wanderer with a somewhat criminal past, and Kerri is a bartender in a seedy bar, who is also taking care of Tim, Sean's descendant. There was something about that last case, the one they all can't stop thinking about, that wasn't quite right, that is at the root of their problems. When Andy finally decides that enough is enough and they need to go back to Blyton Hills to face these demons and reopen that last case, the group gets together one last time to try to bring sense and closure to that final, haunting case.
Of course, it's not as easy as just a guy in a mask, and as they face down eco-villainous corporations, primordial monsters, ecological disasters, and something that defies description, they begin to come to terms with what has been haunting them over the years. This sounds wildly simplistic as I type it out, and I'm leaving it that way. It's not simplistic in the slightest, but the joy in this book is in the details and following along with the BSDC as they uncover one clue after the next, taking them on a whirlwind ride that makes you unable to put the book down until the very last page.
Much like his previous novel The Supernatural Enhancements (which I am a huge fan of as well), Cantero takes his time with the story, creating a slow build that eventually spirals into this wild adventure, making unexpected twists and turns in the narrative so you never really are sure that you know what's going on. His characters are exactly who they appear to be, rifs of the Scooby gang, but he doesn't make clichés of them. These characters are all their own and as individual as can be. Eagle-eyed readers will also notice fun callbacks to the Scooby cartoons.
So, if you're looking for something with a little mystery, a little horror, with some supernatural hijinx thrown in for fun, you can't go wrong with Meddling Kids. And if you like this, be sure to check out Cantero's The Supernatural Enhancements as well.
I received a printed ARC of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review....more