Who doesn’t love Scooby-Doo? I mean how can you resist that delightful canine and his friends traveling around in the Mystery Machine and thwarting all those dastardly villains trying to terrify the locals with their outrageous antics. No Saturday morning was complete without watching Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred unmask the evildoers and save the day. And at the end of every episode, the bad guy would always lament the same thing, “I would have gotten away with it—if not for those meddling kids!”
I never missed a Scooby episode when I was a child. Well, that was until that menace named Scrappy-Doo showed up and drove many loyal viewers crazy with his Puppy Power! Most people agree that was the moment that the show officially jumped the shark. However, you can’t keep a good dog down, and since the 1970s, there have been multiple reboots and movies (even live action) that have kept the Scooby Gang’s exploits going. And part of the appeal of those meddling kids is that they always got the job done and put the bad guys away.
But what would happen if the Scooby Gang got it wrong? What if the guy in the monster mask or ghost costume was actually innocent or a pawn in someone else’s game? And what if this was not discovered until years later? That is the intriguing premise of Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. An imaginative novel for adults inspired by the classic Scooby-Doo and a great read for the summer.
In Meddling Kids, a group of children known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club have become famous in their small community for solving local crimes. However, it is their final case that has a lasting impact on their lives—and not in a good way. When the BSDC sends a man to prison after he tried to scare people away from a mine by pretending to be a monster of local legend (sound familiar?), the children seem to be on top of the world. Unfortunately, Peter, Nate, Andy, and Kerri will never tackle another case.
Fast-forward 13 years, and all of their lives have gone to seed. Nate is in a mental hospital; Andy drifts around without ever putting down roots; Kerri is haunted by constant nightmares; and Peter has died from an overdose. It is Andy who seems to understand that all of their troubles started with that last case, and she is determined to find out what exactly went wrong. She discovers the terrible truth when the man they caught is released from prison and admits that he was actually not responsible for all of the crimes and weird goings-on that were committed.
This revelation starts a journey for the three surviving members of the BSDC to try to find out what really happened all those years ago and why their lives have all turned out so badly. They quickly come to realize that maybe what they thought was just a legend might actually have been real. As they piece the puzzle together, the horrible things that have plagued their dreams come to life, and they must fight to survive.
This book is a fun look at an intriguing idea. In nearly every Scooby-Doo episode, there always appeared to be some element of the paranormal occurring. However, at the end of the show, it always turned out to be a very human antagonist beneath the mask. It is a delicious idea to think about what would have happened if instead of those monsters being mortal men, they turned out to be actual creatures from the darkest of nightmares.
Think about it. We all saw how terrified Scooby and Shaggy got whenever the “ghost” would start to chase after them. And we, the viewers, knew all along it was just an ordinary guy dressed to terrify. Poor Scooby would have been put off his favorite Scooby Snacks for the rest of his life if they pulled off the sheet and found nothing underneath!
Since reading Meddling Kids, I have also started to think about seeing the Scooby Gang all grown-up. I think it would be hilarious to revisit Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred years down the line. And with all the reboots and remakes going on, we might even see it someday. But if it doesn’t happen, there is still Cantero’s great book to enjoy. I highly recommend this delightfully dark story that is definitely not for the kiddies.
I also enjoyed this book even though I've never been into Scooby Doo. I started it for the queer girls, but I ended up really loving it all.