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Meddling kids : a novel

The surviving members of a forgotten teen detective club and their dog reunite as broken adults to embark on an effort to solve a terrifying cold case that ruined them all and sent the wrong man to prison. - (Baker & Taylor)

The surviving members of a forgotten teen detective club and their dog reunite as broken adults to embark on a wacky effort to solve a terrifying cold case that ruined them all and sent the wrong man to prison. By the author of The Supernatural Enhancements. - (Baker & Taylor)


"Freaky scratches a nostalgic itch for those who grew up on Saturday morning Scooby-Doo cartoons and sugar-bombed breakfast cereal"
--USA Today

"Deliriously wild, funny and imaginative. Cantero is an original voice."
--Charles Yu, author of How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe

With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo, and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.

SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader . . . which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids is a strikingly original and dazzling reminder of the fun and adventure we can discover at the heart of our favorite stories, no matter how old we get. - (Random House, Inc.)

Author Biography

Edgar Cantero is a writer and cartoonist born in Barcelona in 1981. Meddling Kids is his second novel in English; his first was The Supernatural Enhancements. - (Random House, Inc.)

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Four kids and a dog spent the summer of 1977 solving mysteries. The last mystery, the one that brought them the most acclaim, involved a haunted house and a lake monster. Of course, the lake monster was just a man in a mask trying to scare off anyone from finding the rumored hidden treasure. (Sound familiar?) Thirteen years later, the kids are now grown, and the truth of that last mystery gnaws at them. Andy hasn't been able to hold a steady job but gravitates toward things that allow her to show her strength. Keri did not achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a biologist and instead wanders, tending bar. Nate has ended up in an asylum and is visited frequently by Peter, who actually died years before. Andy gathers the group to figure out the truth, and the gang returns to their old stomping grounds. What waits for them is a much darker world than Scooby Doo ever imagined. Cantero's imagination is vivid, and the story, once it gains speed, continues at a breakneck, roller-coaster pace. He plays with form and style, which makes for an enjoyable romp. Fans of modern takes on Lovecraft and those that are nostalgic for the cartoons of their childhood will like this novel, which is also a sure bet for your Stranger Things-themed display. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

Barcelona-based novelist Cantero (The Supernatural Enhancements, 2014) returns with a lightly spun yarn steeped in decades-old American pop media.The members of the Blyton Summer Detective Club, who last adjourned in 1977 after sleuthing around the improbably named Zoinx River Valley in search of supernatural beings, have got the band back together a decade and a half later—well, with all but one of their number, who has inconveniently died. But are the dead ever dead? No, of course not. Of the original crew, Andy has turned into a butch, spiky young woman seemingly bucking for a dragon tattoo to call her own. Nate, "pale, blue-eyed, more worn but still fragile," let the ghosts get to him and has been in and out of mental institutions. Kerri has visions, too, but mostly ones brought on after one too many hits off the bottle. And there's a telepathic dog, too, that just may be living proof of metempsychosis. ("Please do not feel deceived: he has been your dog all this ti me. I just ride along.") If all this smacks of Scooby-Doo, then that's by design, though it's not the only mass-media allusion: glimmers of The Haunting, Dark Shadows, the Witch Mountain franchise, Halloween, and Tales from the Crypt dance above the swamp. There's even a satisfying explanation for "why bad guys charge at Jackie Chan in a single row," albeit the bad guys in question are your garden-variety hell beasts, "drooling, hissing, claw-waving creatures." Undergods, Thtaggoalites, uber-demons, six-limbed monsters: whatever the other side can throw at our gumshoes they deal with handily if cartoonishly. Cantero is a lively, capable writer, but this isn't much of a stretch for him; he seems determined to occupy the middlebrow midrange, turning in a piece better fitting an episode of The Librarians than, say, a spooky exercise by Guillermo del Toro. Meddling? Middling. A pleasing enough confection, but no great advance for either pop culture or the author's development. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews

In 1990, more than a decade after the Blyton Summer Detective Club's last case, tomboy Andy is wanted in two states; brilliant young biologist Keri bartends in New York with Sean, the high-spirited progeny of the club's original dog; and horror addict Nate is again hospitalized in a mental institution, with handsome club member Peter his only visitor. Except that Peter is dead. Where did it all go wrong? Darker than the meddling kids of Scooby Doo fame; from the author of The Supernatural Enhancements.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

LJ Express Reviews

What if four teenage detectives (and their dog) had unwittingly stumbled upon a supernatural mystery that left them unable to cope with adult life? This is the premise of Cantero's (The Supernatural Enhancements) delightfully entertaining new novel. When the Blyton Summer Detective Club members were adolescents, they went to a "haunted" mansion near the Zoinx River and captured a man in a costume. Now, 13 years later, the four friends realize that the mansion was truly haunted and are convinced they need to return, with a descendant of the original dog, to discover the truth. The adventures begin and the danger builds, from encountering nightmare creatures in the dark to exploring abandoned mines and confronting the mansion and its devilish history. Cantero's playful writing, such as providing camera directions and altering the presentation of the dialog to mimic a script, makes reading this novel even more enjoyable. Verdict: No Mystery Machine needed here. This story will have readers riding on the edge of their seats as the thrills and danger increase to the frightening climax. Highly recommended for fans of Scooby-Doo and stories in the Lovecraftian realm. [See Prepub Alert, 1/18/17.]—Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI (c) Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Cantero (The Supernatural Enhancements) will win readers' hearts with this goofy, smart love letter to childhood adventure and enduring friendship. It's 1990, 13 years since the Blyton Summer Detective Club of Blyton Hills, Ore., solved the case of the Sleepy Lake monster. It was their last case, and now there are only four of them left: Andrea "Andy" Rodriguez, who is wanted in more than one state; bartender Kerri Hollis; Kerri's excitable Weimaraner, Tim; and Kerri's cousin, nerdy Nate Rogers. Peter Manner is missing, having supposedly committed suicide. Andy thinks there's more to learn about the monster and convinces Kerri and Nate to return to Sleepy Lake, a scene of horror that's shadowed their adult lives. When the four arrive at Sleepy Lake, they're almost immediately attacked by terrifying lake creatures. Scooby Doo touches abound: there's a nearby river called the Zoinx, Tim the dog is as much of a character as the humans, and they have pitch-perfect chase scenes through an underground mine and the haunted Deboën Mansion. There are Lovecraftian tentacles aplenty, and the villain is a powerful sorcerer who plans to summon a world-ending leviathan. The prose is fast and funny, and the quirky, lovable characters are absolutely irresistible. Agent: Emma Sweeney, Emma Sweeney Agency. (July)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

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