What’s the favorite food of most red-blooded American teens? Pizza, of course, with assorted toppings of your choice! And, what could be better than awesome pizza? How about awesome pizza combined with hunting monsters? Killer Pizza: The Slice combines the two coolest things in the world, killer pizza and hunting monsters, in Greg Taylor’s sequel to his best-selling YA horror novel, Killer Pizza. What is the latest book in the Killer Pizza series like? Think of a strange but oddly cohesive mix of R.L. Stine, WoW, and the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, and you might have some idea!
The action takes place four months after the group of friends discovers that their new place of employment, Killer Pizza, is actually a front for an underground Monster Hunting Organization. Fourteen-year-old teenagers Toby Magill and Annabel Oshiro and fifteen-year-old Strobe get invited to New York City to tour KP Headquarters, and also to meet Harvey Major III, the owner of the KP chain and their boss (both at making pizzas and hunting down monsters).
Harvey asks the three teens to help a monster defect from her community and come over to their side, sort of like when a spy helps another, rival spy “come in from the cold.” Harvey wants to learn more information about her and the little-known dekayis, and to put her in a Monster Protection Program. Fourteen-year-old Calanthe certainly doesn’t look like a monster when Toby, Annabelle, and Strobe meet her in Central Park–if anything, she looks like a beautiful, typical female teenager, except with big eyes that seem to say Calanthe has known a lot of sadness in her life.
Calanthe may appear to be normal, but she is a dekayi, like all of her kind. She has certain powers, like being super strong and being able to hold her breath underwater for a long time. She is approaching a time that comes in every dekayi’s life, the time when she will gain the ability to alter her form to look more serpent-like, though the teen KP monster hunters don’t realize this when they first meet Calanthe. They just see a young teen, scared because she is being pursued by a scary guy the novel refers to as “the Tall Man,” who is trying to capture her and take her back to the dekayi community before she can reveal exactly where she came from and other secrets about the dekayis. And he may have plans to use her as a sacrifice in a ceremony….
I thought the Tall Man was a great villainous character. He reminded me of the tall bulky man in the movie Phantasm who can pick up a coffin with one hand and carry it around. Phantasm is one of my favorite movies. I don’t know if the author, Greg Taylor, really had the movie in mind when he wrote Killer Pizza: The Slice, but I sure did as I was reading the book. The Tall Man uses another type of monster, a bipedal one called a rukh, who is generally invisible. Both the Tall Man and the rukh are very difficult to kill, and they both heal extremely rapidly when they’re injured. The rukh has a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth that remind Toby “of my mom’s biggest kitchen knives.” The rukh made me think of one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most famous demons, the Dunwich Horror.
I liked reading about how the teens try to pass Calanthe off as an Egyptian foreign exchange student when she is brought to their town of Hidden Hills, Ohio. They give her a crash course in everything that’s unfamiliar to her, like electricity, computers, and iPods. Reading about how she deals with everyday things we’re all familiar with provides some humorous moments in the novel. Little do the teens know that the Tall Man and the rukh have not given up on the chase. The rukh has gotten Calanthe’s scent and they’re headed to Hidden Hills, determined to bring Calanthe back with them.
Killer Pizza: The Slice is a fast-paced, suspenseful and fun read you’ll enjoy, especially if you’re a fan of R.L. Stine and Wizards of the Coast (WoW) novels. Greg Taylor is a screenwriter as well as a novelist. He was the screenwriter Jumanji, Harriet the Spy, and Prancer. Also, the first book in the Killer Pizza series, Killer Pizza, is being made into a movie that will be directed by Adam Green and produced by Chris Columbus, who produced the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Home Alone. You don’t have to have read Killer Pizza to thoroughly get into Killer Pizza: The Slice. The book may have a cheesy title, but it’s definitely a delicious read. Stay tuned to this site for my interview with the author, Greg Taylor, which will be here soon!!!