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Meddling Kids: A Novel (Paperback)
This is the kind of book that happens when authors as wayyy too many “What If” questions. What if… the Blyton Summer Detective Club encountered a monster that wasn’t a man in a mask? What if… the experience scarred them in life-changing ways? What if… they decided to go back and uncover the mystery AND what they discover is so much weirder than anyone could have ever imagined involving “tentacled demon spawn”, necromancy, blood magic, and the impending apocalypse? With multiple Scooby Doo and other Gen-x pop culture references, the audience for this book is a select group, but those not turned away by the premise (and pulpy horror/mystery novels) will enjoy this book as much as Scooby loves Scooby Snacks.— From Kinsey's Picks
July 2017 Indie Next List
“I have an abiding fondness for kooky premises executed well, and Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids is as kooky as they come. In 1977, the tween members of the Blyton Summer Detective Club solved their last case and went their separate ways. Now it's 1990 and the man they sent to jail has been paroled. These former detectives have unfinished business, so one of them resolves to get the gang back together to find out the dark truth behind that final case. Meddling Kids is a pop-culture savvy, uproarious romp but also an action-packed horror-thriller. Highly recommended for fans of Christopher Moore and Ernest Cline, or anyone seeking a little laughter, nostalgia, or escapism.”
— Susan Tunis (E), Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“The story proves as cleverly witty as its title. It's filled with high jinks both terrorizing and hilarious.” —USA Today
In 1977, four teenagers and a dog—Andy (the tomboy), Nate (the nerd), Kerri (the bookworm), Peter (the jock), and Tim (the Weimaraner)—solved the mystery ofSleepy Lake. The trail of an amphibian monster terrorizing the quiet town of Blyton Hills leads the gang to spend a night in Deboën Mansion and apprehend a familiar culprit: a bitter old man in a mask.
Now, in 1990, the twenty-something former teen detectives are lost souls. Plagued by night terrors and Peter's tragic death, the three survivors have been running from their demons. When the man they apprehended all those years ago makes parole, Andy tracks him down to confirm what she’s always known—they got the wrong guy. Now she'll need to get the gang back together and return to Blyton Hills to find out what really happened in 1977, and this time, she's sure they're not looking for another man in a mask.
A mad scientist's concoction of H. P. Lovecraft, teen detectives, and a love of Americana, Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids is a story filled with rich horror, thrilling twists, outright hilarity, and surprising poignancy.
About the Author
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.
“I loved this book end to end. . . . It is funny and sad and tragic and pulpy, all in the best possible way.”
—Jason Sheehan, NPR
“A pop-culture gem, a hipster cartoon with surprising depths.”
“This is a novel to read for style and for Cantero's clever allusions to other stories and media. . . . Here’s your beach book.”
“Why You'll Like It: While this is obviously an ode to Scooby Doo, Supernatural fans will love the idea of a group of mystery hunters coming back together after leaving the business, and grappling with the realities of both.”
“Deliriously wild, funny and imaginative. Cantero is an original voice.”
—Charles Yu, author of How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe
“If you loved Scooby-Doo as a kid (or as an adult—no judgment), you’ll love this sly take on the genre.”
—New York Post
“Meddling Kids is an utterly charming paean to a squad of animated teen detectives who fought down the crime wave of early-70's America. Amidst the homages and playfulness, it then transforms into a rip-roaring page turner. Throughout, Cantero plays with form and language in ways that are both mischievous and delightful. This would be impressive enough coming from a native of the country, decade, and language that the book operates in. As Cantero is none of the above, it's flat-out masterful.”
—Rob Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Year Zero
“A crackerjack story which is pure gold for fans of the great Saturday morning cartoons of the seventies and eighties. . . . Prepare to read through this fun novel with a grin and hands gripping the pages.”
“Zoinks! . . . Meddling Kids is Scooby-meets-H.P. Lovecraft — either humor-laced horror or horror-laced humor. Cantero does justice to both sides of that equation. . . . For anyone who finds the triangle formed by Scooby-Doo, Lovecraft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer a cozy place to be.”
—San Antonio Express-News
“For any adult who grew up with Scooby Doo, but also for those who love horror stories. There are real monsters in this book, not just bad guys in costumes.”
—The News-Gazette (Champaign, Illinois)
“Here is the mash-up fans of Scooby Doo and H.P. Lovecraft have been waiting for. . . . Childhood pop culture references, witty banter and an unpredictable plot make this a compelling mystery/horror story.”
“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.”
—Booklist (Starred review)
“Cantero will win readers’ hearts with this goofy, smart love letter to childhood adventure and enduring friendship. . . . The prose is fast and funny, and the quirky, lovable characters are absolutely irresistible.”
“It's laugh out loud. Truly scary. And full of great characters. Cantero hits the sweet spot by unfolding the action in a beautifully cinematic fashion.”
—The Times (Ottawa, IL)
"An adventure that meshes Lovecraft-like elements with an eco-catastrophe thriller, providing chills and chuckles in equal measure."