So, while the power was out on Monday and Tuesday, I got some actual reading done. Like, two whole books worth, since I couldn’t write. I did in fact have my battery back ups totally charged so I could read on my phone without much bother or worrying about being completely isolated.
I’d picked up Meddling Kids on a lark because I am not to be trusted with one-click ordering on Amazon. I grew up on Scooby Doo, so the premise of this book was totally up my alley.
It picks up several years after the last adventure of the Blyton Summer Detective Club, where they had unmasked the Sleepy Lake Monster of Blyton, OR located in the picturesque Zoinks River Valley.
The whole book is littered with references to Scooby Doo and that universe.
The club consisted of Peter, Kerri, Andy (Andrea), Nate and Kerri’s Weimaraner. After that last mystery, they drifted away from one another. Now, the man who was the Sleepy Lake Monster is out on parole, and Andy tracks him down to ask him about it. He says there are no hard feelings and he never intends to go back to Blyton, then starts speaking a language familiar to fans of the Cthulhu mythos and collapses in a seizure on the bathroom floor.
She collects Kerri, the once promising biologists who is bartending in New York and drowning her nightmares with vodka. Peter killed himself a couple of years previously, at the height of a successful acting career, and is currently haunting Nate, who, as a result of said haunting, has committed himself to an institution in Arkham, Massachusetts. And the three survivors and a descendant of the original Weimaraner, Tim, pack up and head to Blyton, OR.
Since their teenage years, the town has deteriorated a bit. The sheep herd that was the main industry of the town, mysteriously died in their pasture next to the lake, not a mark on them, and width them several people’s savings. The chemical plant that had come in during the 80s, pulled out. Captain Al, who was their adult mentor, is now known as Crazy Al and lives in the junkyard. The Sheriff’s deputy who questioned everything they did, is now Sherrif and the town bully who made fun of them is now a volunteer deputy. And the lake monsters are being seen again.
Andy, Nate and Peter feel like the Sleepy Lake Monster wasn’t just a dude in a mask. Kerri is adamant that he was and that was it, but she goes along because she’s having nightmares, too. The official reports omitted several things that they all remember. And all of them have been having nightmares, addiction problems, and, well, Peter’s suicide.
The solution is a really entertaining mix of pragmatic and the occult, and I found it satisfactory.
The book starts a little on the slow side, but picks up within the first 30-50 pages. The characters are great. If anything, the weakest character is Nate, but Andy and Kerri are both really well and vibrantly written. The book is primarily from Andy’s point of view, with periodic chapters in the other characters’ voices.
BELOW HERE ARE SPOILERS
If you ship Daphne and Velma, this book is for you. And it doesn’t feel forced.
It’s not perfect, the last chapter with the reveal about Tim’s intelligence is a little jarring and, honestly, kind of pointless, but I greatly enjoyed this book and ripped through it in about an afternoon.
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