Home > Book Review > Book Review- Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Book Review- Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Meddling KidsOne of the reasons I love speculative and genre fiction is the crazy over the top premises. You see it all the time in comics like Marvel’s “Weapon H” series which features a titular character with the powers of both the Hulk and Wolverine or the company’s “Cosmic Ghost Rider” mini-series where the Punisher has been given both the demonic powers of the Ghost Rider and the cosmic might of a Herald of Galactus. Those series work because they full on embrace the fun of their premises and they ground their stories with fascinating and real feeling characters. I just finished reading a prose novel that did the same thing; Edgar Cantero’s “Meddling Kids which is essentially Scooby-Doo meets the Cthulhu mythos. And yes it’s as crazy and as fun as it sounds.

In “Meddling Kids” Cantero introduces readers to an estranged group of friends who spent their summers investigating the mysteries of a small pacific Northwest Town named Blyton Hills. Their investigative endeavors lead them to become local celebrities and also exposed the wrongdoings of a number of costume clad malefactors. When the story picks up, the now adult members of the former Blyton Summer Detective Club are haunted by the memories of their last case, which seemed to involve a lake monster and a haunted island mansion, but possibly involved something much more horrific.

The cast of former kid detectives is pretty great. There’s Kerri, the aspiring scientistEdgar Cantero who is currently a barmaid; Andy the tomboy turned drifter who sets out to get the gang back together and find out what really happened at the mansion on their last case; Keri’s cousin Nate, who is currently a resident of an asylum that fans of Cthulhu Mythos fiction will find familiar; and Peter who is dead and might be a ghost. All of these characters have fun personality traits and character flaws. The dynamic they have together is part of the fun of reading “Meddling Kids.”

Earlier I mentioned this book was basically Scooby-Doo meets Cthulhu so many of you might be wondering is there a dog main character? And the answer is of course, yes! His name is Tim. He’s a Weimaraner. He’s actually one of my favorite characters in the book. Cantero writes him so well. He provides moments of comfort and comedy. He’s so lovable and such a good boy.

A dog isn’t the only Scooby-Doo element to make it into “Meddling Kids” either. The Blyton Hills Detective Club had a number of Rube Goldberg style plans for catching bad guys. And some do appear in their present day exploits. They’re fun and believable though and add some humor elements to balance out the Lovecraftian horror.

Cantero also makes great use of the Cthulhu Mythos once the kids arrive back in Blyton Hills. It begins with a run in with a horrific monstrosity and then things escalate to apocalyptic levels. So there’s a great sense of scope and scale reminiscent of shows like “Stranger Things”where the cast have to save both their idyllic small town and the world.

Speaking of towns, Blyton Hills is a fun place to visit. When the grown up kids of the Detective Club return it’s fallen on hard times, but still has a quaint charm. It feels like home to both the characters and the reader. Plus, Cantero provies a lot of fun legends about the town to make the Cthulhu mythos elements organic. The town is also populated by a great cast of characters including a former bully, and Captain Al, a retired Air Force veteran who was one of the detectives few adult confidants when they were kids.

I’m keeping mum about a lot of the elements in “Meddling Kids” because I don’t want to ruin the surprises. I will say though it’s an incredibly fun, fantastically placed cocktail of horror, adventure, and comedy. And it also takes a refrshing and more hopeful spin on the cynicism of Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror. It beautifully illustrates that the best defense we humans have against horror (Cosmic or otherwise) is the bonds we have with each other.

So, “Meddling Kids” was a hell of a read. Making it even more remarkable is the fact that Cantero is not a native English speaker. This is the first book I’ve read by him and I can’t wait to read more.

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