cover image Meddling Kids

Meddling Kids

Edgar Cantero. Doubleday, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-54199-2

Cantero (The Supernatural Enhancements) will win readers’ hearts with this goofy, smart love letter to childhood adventure and enduring friendship. It’s 1990, 13 years since the Blyton Summer Detective Club of Blyton Hills, Ore., solved the case of the Sleepy Lake monster. It was their last case, and now there are only four of them left: Andrea “Andy” Rodriguez, who is wanted in more than one state; bartender Kerri Hollis; Kerri’s excitable Weimaraner, Tim; and Kerri’s cousin, nerdy Nate Rogers. Peter Manner is missing, having supposedly committed suicide. Andy thinks there’s more to learn about the monster and convinces Kerri and Nate to return to Sleepy Lake, a scene of horror that’s shadowed their adult lives. When the four arrive at Sleepy Lake, they’re almost immediately attacked by terrifying lake creatures. Scooby Doo touches abound: there’s a nearby river called the Zoinx, Tim the dog is as much of a character as the humans, and they have pitch-perfect chase scenes through an underground mine and the haunted Deboën Mansion. There are Lovecraftian tentacles aplenty, and the villain is a powerful sorcerer who plans to summon a world-ending leviathan. The prose is fast and funny, and the quirky, lovable characters are absolutely irresistible. Agent: Emma Sweeney, Emma Sweeney Agency. (July)