Take the gang from Scooby Doo, make their show live action instead of animated, then have them grow up under the spotlight of Hollywood’s glare. Then you take the Velma character, give her a set of parents who stole all her money, then plop her back in her hometown for the first time in eons all alone. Add in a new acquaintance who is obsessed with her old show, some mystery, and you have Book 1 in Mark Bousquet’s Spooky Lemon series, The Masks of Saturday Morning!
Having read Mark’s work before, I knew I was in for an enjoyable read and this book is no exception. He does a wonderful job making Lemon into her own character with real life worries and it’s easy to start liking her immediately. He also doesn’t hide the fact that the Ghostly Gang is a rip-off of Scooby as Spooky has little trouble eye rolling at how her career launched.
The mystery itself works because it keeps morphing into a different set of problems as the plot moves along. Mark keeps the chapters short which also helps with pacing.
He brings the small town of Glen Allen Falls to life despite it’s low population and makes it go from quaint to full of seemingly sinister dealings under everyone’s noses. I definitely look forward to the continuation of its story.
As more characters enter Audrey’s (that’s Spooky’s real name) world, they each are developed along the way. Ida (the obsessed fan) isn’t the same librarian we meet at the start of the book but she also picks up a new friend in Audrey. The Ghostly Gang themselves are also fleshed out through Audrey’s memories very well, so you know exactly what you’re getting by the time Lemon interacts with her former costar Lenny. The attention to character detail is detrimental to when the action picks up later in the book and thanks to Mark’s attention to those points, you won’t get lost as the book heads to its frenzied conclusion.
There were a few small editing mistakes in my copy. I’m not sure if those have been cleaned up since but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the read.
I bought Book 2 before I finished this one so I’m ready for more Audrey and Ida. If you’re looking for a fun mystery that turns super deadly with dialogue that’s authentic as can be, go ahead and crack open The Masks Of Saturday Morning.
Just remember that animal costars are the worst.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.