Meddling Kids | Review

by - 1/25/2018

We were the meddling kids.

Oh man. What a fucking read this was. I will be the first to admit that I was attracted to the name because, hello, Scooby-Doo fan here. But if you aren't a fan of the gang or never have been, not to worry, you can still read this, easily. I think everyone knows the references to the show, the more popular ones anyway, so it wouldn't be hard to follow the funny and brief nods to the famous crime solving group. And then there was the cover art. LOOK AT THAT SHIT. It's gorgeous and neon. Beautiful.

The thing I found most off-putting about this is the author's writing style and constant POV switches. If you can't get on board with something like that, then this is going to be a bewildering read for you. There are lots of fourth-wall breaking moments where Cantero goes into a screenplay-like format, complete with stage direction and talking hair. While the book starts out in second person, it quickly switches to third between multiple characters with little to no warning. I've never seen an author do this before, and while it took some getting used too, (and a couple of paragraph re-reads), it really added to the story.

There are multiple nods to the famous crime solving group, including landmarks like the Zoinks River and the ever-loving, goofy, affectionate dog. But these are not the same teenagers we grew up watching on our TV's. It's set in 1977 and 1990, respectively. In '77, the gang consisted of Peter Manning (Fred), Kerri Hollis (Daphne), Andrea 'Andy' Hernandez (Velma), Nate Rogers (Shaggy), and Sean/Tim (Scooby-Doo). The characters all have nods to their counterparts, though they are nothing like what we remember. Fred (Peter) is the 'pretty' boy, who eventually went off to Hollywood to become an actor and overdosed on pills. Daphne (Kerri) is a pretty orange haired girl with incredible smarts, who despite having a degree in biology, is bar-tending and living in a crappy apartment. Velma (Andy) is a spunky brunette Latina that is pretty badass and has served time both in the military and in jail. Shaggy (Nate) is your typical clumsy scaredy-cat who has checked himself into Arkham and occasionally hallucinates the ghost of Peter. And Sean/Tim (Scooby) are dogs that serve in both eras of the book with the gang. Sean in '77 and Tim in '90.

Essentially, the plot is that the gang solved a mystery in '77 on Sleepy Lake, unveiling a man in a mask that was after some rumored gold being kept in an old and spooky house in the town of Blyton Hills. But they saw some unexplainable things during this case and when they went their separate ways, it tormented them all. Andy, deciding that enough is enough, rounds up Kerri, Tim, and Nate and heads back to Blyton Hills to solve the mystery once and for all.

Needless to say, they get more than they bargained for and there was definitely no man in a mask this time around. I'm not going to get too deep into it, but it was twisted, unexpected, deep, and incredibly interesting. I loved getting into this book, thinking I was going to get one thing and then get a completely different outcome. If you love mysteries and twists and turns, give this one a read!

It was a guy in a costume, Nate. Same as always.
But what if, one time, it wasn't?

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