by Edgar Cantero
Young Adult / Horror
Happy Halloween! Today I’m reviewing the spookiest book I’ve read this month. Probably my scariest book since Into The Drowning Deep! I knew I was in trouble with this one when I was sitting up late, reading in the dark on my Kindle, and my cat reached out and touched my bare foot with her toe-pads, and I jumped so hard I almost fell off the couch! I decided at that point that this was clearly a daytime read, and further that I should not be alone in the house while reading! I’m a wimp when it comes to spooky reads, though, so I’m sure this would not be that scary for someone who regularly reads horror.
As it is a horror book, it should probably go without saying that there are some triggering issues discussed – the biggest of which is probably suicide, but there’s also an insane asylum, sexual assault, a fair bit of alcohol, some adventures in VERY tight cave spaces, and Cthulhu-esque horrors. I might be forgetting some, but that’s the main gist.
OH. Andy is a tomboy lesbian, and a good example of being cis but rejecting gender roles, but the villain is coded as trans. I thought it was well done, but a trans person may think otherwise. So that probably deserves a warning as well.
So in Meddling Kids, we have a version of the Scooby gang. In this take, the Blyton Summer Detective Club operated when they were – thirteen-ish. They solved several small mysteries, then got the absolute bejeezus scared out of them on their last case. They “solved” it – but they all think things were unresolved, and they were all haunted with nightmares, flashbacks, and other traumatic symptoms. So thirteen years later, Andy, the tomboy, decides to get the gang back together to go really find out what happened in Blyton Hills. The gang, sans Peter, who killed himself years ago, fairly readily agrees, and back to Blyton Hills they go.
There are so many twists and turns from here on that I can’t say much. The adults in Blyton Hills are surprisingly helpful, in a way that they never would be in real life. We do get a fair amount of “wow this isn’t nearly as large as I remembered it from when I was a kid” which is pretty realistic, and amusing.
The book is very funny. It captures the spirit of Scooby Doo almost exactly, just injected with an extra dose of spooky. Despite being creeped out, I enjoyed it immensely, and would highly recommend it as a spooky read!
From the cover of Meddling Kids:
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.