What do you get when you add a dark edge to Scooby Doo? You get Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids. Maybe throw some Sci-Fi salt in there too.
The overall charm about the book’s modern take on my favorite childhood cartoon, is that it completely acknowledges “the gang”.
There wasn’t a morning between 5th and 8th grade, that Scooby Doo wasn’t on the television while eating breakfast before school. Day after day, as if they’d gained amnesia, scared of a new ghost doing the exact same thing the last ghost did, only this one is a ancient scuba diver.
Meddling Kids set in Blyton Hills, OR, starts with laying out who “the crew” is, and it closely resembles “the gang”, but not to a T. There’s;
- Kerri, the fiery redhead nerd who’s a super genius who’s afraid of the dark
- Andy, the combat-ready confrontational tomboy with a chip on her shoulder that beats up dudes
- Peter, aka Fred the popular jock turned Hollywood famous actor turned suicide statistic
- Nate, the self-checked in mental patient, who’s the most normal of the group, sans his audio-visual hallucinatory episodes where he talks to Peter, post mortum
- Jake, the dog.
The basic premise, the TL;DR, of the beginning is the pre-teens solve a bunch of mysteries and are known around as the “Blyton Summer Detective Club”. The last case they solve doesn’t sit right with them, and wouldn’t you know, it haunts the shit out of them.
Guess what happens next? they get back together, reluctantly. Andy is the jump off point. She contacts Kerri who is excited to see her after all this time, but doesn’t want to face the fear and recurring nightmares she has about the last case. They talk about Peter and his fame and suicide. They both wonder why someone of that stature would be compelled to take their own life, but speculate it could have something to do with the case.
The two of them decide to get in contact and visit Nate. Nate is in a psych-ward under his own volition. Andy and Kerri find that trying to convince Nate to leave the ward is easier then expected, but due to ward rules, a doctor must clear him. Here comes the first of many zany hair-brained escapes/situations that arise through out the story.
I found at this point I was in for a campy ride. What I didn’t expect was the H.P. Lovecraft-ian aspect. I was hooked and wanted to find out what jenky hi-jinks they get into.