Friday, November 3, 2017

Literary Friday: Meddling Kids




Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!   For Halloween I read Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero.  Like I said in Monday's post,  I chose this book strictly for the cover and title.  I had no idea at the time what a treat reading this book would be!

First of all, I *love* Edward Cantero's voice.  His superlative use of figurative language alone could've kept me engrossed in the book even if the story had been subpar which it definitely was not.  I enjoyed how Cantero likes to personify everything:

"Andy got out of the car and, even before caressing the asphalt skin of the street, she looked up at the house.  It didn't look back.  It stood grave and stiff-upper-lipped like Mount Hood, window pots of wildflowers and weeds as shoulder patches indicating rank.  It barely caught the striped station wagon with the corner of its left dorm window and mumbled, Punks."

Perhaps my favorite thing personified in the book is Kerri's beautiful orange hair.  Honestly, that hair is a character in its own right in the book.

His similes are equally fun:  "The amber Chevy Vega glistened at them like a smiling Rock Hudson;" "They drifted away from the willow like an old man offering candy;" and "White sky shone through the charred skeleton of the roof like a divine power through a rose window."

I'll quit gushing about Cantero's voice and move on to the plot...

According to Goodreads:

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!

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.


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.

My review:

I enjoyed the story so much partly because I could relate to the characters.  They are exactly my age (the girls were 12 in 1977 and 25 in 1990), Generation X-ers who're having a difficult time finding their way in the world, partly because of the nightmare of their last case: The Case of the Sleepy Lake Monster.  But what if the Meddling Kids were wrong: What if the man in the monster mask was the fake and the real monster is still lurking?  The sleuths know it, and they can't escape the nightmares of what happened to them when they were kids.

I like that the story's setting is 1990, before cell phones were prevalent and the internet was used for research.  The caldera lake deep in an Oregon forrest complete with a mansion on an island in the middle of said lake adds a unique creep factor to the story.  Plus, there's a gold mine lakeside, the perfect lair for monsters.

Several of the action sequences are ridiculous and reminiscent of Scooby Doo, and honestly while I was reading the book they played-out in my head like the cartoon.  One example is the scene where the girls, Andy and Kerri, rescue Nate from the psychiatric hospital with the help of Tim the Weimaraner.  Nate is in a straightjacket, and Tim brings him a rope that is attached to a hook (which will be attached to the straightjacket), and the other end is tied to Andy's car.   The plan is for the girls to drag Nate out of the facility, but of course Tim doesn't bring the rope to Nate via the straightest route.  Tim meanders under furniture and up stairwells on his way to Nate.

The villain in the story is also far too campy to be threatening to the reader.  However, the real-life "demons" the Blyton Summer Detective Club are dealing with are heartbreaking and not in the least bit humorous.  But the friends support one another and face their demons (literally and figuratively) together which makes for a sweet, sometimes poignant, and always entertaining story.


Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill



4 comments:

  1. I chose most books by their covers some I like some not so much

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  2. This sounds fun Ricki Jill! The cover is really cool, it would definitely catch my eye for sure.
    Glad you enjoyed it...I'll have to look for this one too!!!
    have a great weekend:)

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  3. I have been wondering about this one!!!!! Creeeeeeper!!!! They don't meet up with Sonny and Cher or the Globetrotters, do they? ;)

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