Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero | Book Review

Sunday 3 November 2019

I love finding new books. Hidden gems that I never knew existed. It’s an easy thing to do with books. When a popular author’s next big book comes out, no one talks about it like they would the newest Marvel movie or even the indiest indie movie. Movies are more accessible and can be enjoyed by those who don’t have the patience to read. So when someone recommends a book to me that I think may be up my alley, I get excited. When Somewhat Nerdy’s very own Critter announced that he read a book and really enjoyed it, I snapped to attention. The book he talked about seemed like just the kind of thing I like. So I got a copy and read it for last years Spookathon, a reading challenge hosted by YouTuber BooksandLala and I think I just may have found a new favorite author. Here’s my review.

Let’s get the premise out of the way, shall we? If you’re a well rounded nerd, and/or a fan of cartoons, then you should have some vague idea of what to expect from this book. Meddling Kids is a reference to Scooby Doo, a very popular cartoon that started in 1969 and has existed in some form from then to now. Whenever Scooby and gang would capture their latest masked bad guy, he or she would utter the words “and I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.” This book is about a similar group of children detectives, but they’ve all grown up. It’s years later and they’ve grown apart and have lives of their own, but something about their last case still haunts them. Back in 1977 the Blyton Summer Detectives Club solved the case of the Sleepy Lake Monster, but could there be more to the case then they ever knew?
Be honest with me. That sounds pretty dope, right? Edgar Cantero had a good idea that could have easily gone wrong, but thankfully this is a guy who knows what he’s doing.
I had an idea of what to expect from this book. I thought I knew was I was getting myself into. But Meddling Kids did more than meet my expectations, it exceeded them. The depth of the characters in this book was reminiscent of Stephen King, but without the eight hundred extra pages. By the end of the book I felt like I knew the characters as well as I do any Dresden Files character (Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is my all time favorite book series). It was also obvious who in Meddling Kids was supposed to be in Scooby Doo, but the characters were more than copies. As they developed they became so much more than their cartoon counterparts.
This is a mystery but with a fantasy/pop-culture flair that sets it apart from your standard mystery fare. The mystery aspect is enough that fans of the genre will still find enjoyment in this and the same is true for the opposite. Before reading this book I wasn’t a huge fan of mysteries and I enjoyed this a lot. It’s not the best mystery, truth be told. I’ve read far better since, but it’s also not bad so those who consider themselves mystery aficionados shouldn’t shy away. But Meddling Kids is more than a mystery. It’s a character driven novel that not only has a lot of questions that need answering, but it tells the story of the Blyton Summer Detectives Club and what caused them to become the adults they became.
Unlike books like Ready Player One and Armada (both by Ernest Cline), this book doesn’t inundate you with 80’s and pop culture references. The book sets the tone for each time period but Edgar Cantero doesn’t ever get heavy handed with nerd culture. The focus is on the story and it shows.
If you pick up Meddling Kids, which I highly suggest you do, you’ll read a well written and well plotted story about a group of former child detectives who must face more than one demon from their past.  You may even guess the “who dunnit” part of this book before the end, but that’s only half the fun. The rest of the enjoyment from the story is watching these characters get themselves into and then out of sticky situations. Even if I had figured out who the bad guy was before the end, the ending would still have been fun and enjoyable.
Meddling Kids was a great read from the very first page and I already can’t wait for my first reread.
Meddling Kids By Edgar Cantero gets a 9 out of 11

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