Reviews for Killer Pizza

Booklist Reviews 2009 May #2
"Screenwriter Taylor's first novel seems birthed from an idle thought about pairing pizza making and zombie hunting, a weird mix that actually doesn't play off in as dissonant a manner as one might expect. Toby gets his first summer job making pies at the brand-new Killer Pizza. What he soon learns is that the chain is a front for a secret underground organization dedicated to battling the monsters hiding among the general populace (and, oh yeah, monsters hide among the general populace). A group of guttata (sort of shape-shifting zombies imbued with various ill-fitting powers and convenient weaknesses that make them perfect targets for young monster-hunters) threatens the unwitting citizens, and it's up to Toby and his fellow initiates to train relentlessly and take out the beasts. Toby's transformation from a confidence-light loser to heroic day saver is handled less smoothly than the cinematic and sometimes genuinely scary scenes of guttata bashing. Overdramatic and totally ridiculous, yes, but done in a way that perfectly complements the cheesy horror." Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Fourteen-year-old Toby isn't looking forward to another boring summer in Hidden Hills. He gets more than he bargained for, though, after landing a pizza-joint job and being recruited into the secret monster-hunting organization behind Killer Pizza. Though the characters are underdeveloped, their attempts to save Hidden Hills from vicious shape-shifting guttata monsters are humorously portrayed. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Fourteen-year-old Toby and his monster-hunting pals spend their second Killer Pizza adventure battling the part-human, part-lizard dekayi. When one of the creatures joins the Monster Protection Program, the others will do anything to bring her back into the fold. Although readers see less of Toby's love of food and underdog spirit in this installment, the adventure's hair-raising pace will snare reluctant readers. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 May #1
Thinking he will have an opportunity to further his culinary skills, 14-year-old Toby McGill accepts a job at a local pizza shop. He soon discovers that the store is a front for an elite monster-fighting force and that he is the newest recruit. When people mysteriously disappear around town, Toby and his colleagues use their delivery disguises to hunt down the creatures responsible. Moving quickly into the half-baked premise, Taylor tops action scene with action scene, skimping on character development and relationship building. Frantic pacing forces readers to move forward, but more from weariness at the current scene rather than eagerness for the next. Nothing is left to the imagination; the elaborate descriptions of the "guttata monster" diminish its creepiness, and the teen behaviors are so wooden that the controlling hand of the writer is visible throughout the text. Lacking the gore and excitement of Darren Shan, Taylor's soggy first novel is an unsatisfying mouthful. (Horror. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 May #1

Touring the Killer Pizza Headquarters in New York, 14-year-olds Toby, Annabel and Strobe are sucked into a high-stakes case involving a teen runaway and a deadly Halloween sacrifice.

When Calanthe, a shape shifter, asks the teen monster hunters for shelter, Hidden Hills, Ohio, seems to be the perfect place for her, especially after she selects Toby as her guide into the world of normal teen behavior. When she gains the ability to shift into a giant snake, though, the mysterious Tall Man and his invisible rukh creature show up to hunt in Hidden Hills, but for the Killer Pizza team, surrender is not on the menu. In this sequel to Killer Pizza (2009), Taylor partially succeeds in ramping up the creepy factor, though the characters and plot still feel half baked. The Tall Man's mystic tracking snakes become embedded in Strobe's flesh in an undeniably icky turn of events, but the rukh's abundance of teeth and tendency toward invisibility are more comical than threatening. Characterization is stiff again, with Toby, Annabel and Strobe behaving as though the author has programmed them and set them on a rigid path.

The same recipe as before produces predictably similar results. (Horror. 10-14)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 June #3

In screenwriter Taylor's entertaining, if ephemeral, debut novel and B-movie takeoff, 14-year-old Toby Magill gets a summer job at the new Killer Pizza franchise in town (specialties include the "Fangtastic Hawaiian" and "Vampire Stakes"), where he hopes to hone his own cooking skills to fulfill his dream of becoming a famous chef. After a few enjoyable weeks, he and his fellow employees, the intelligent Annabel and the gruff Strobe, learn that Killer Pizza is a front for a secret organization that hunts monsters. The teens soon embark on a training course to become Monster Combat Officers, learning the ways of the strange creatures known as guttatas that are terrorizing their small town. Taylor keeps the action coming at a brisk pace, though there's never a real sense of true danger--even the teens mutated by the guttatas in the opening scenes are rescued. Older readers might question some plot holes (not to mention the idea of recruiting young kids to fight monsters), but most will find the book a fun diversion. Ages 10-14. (June)

[Page 50]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 September

Gr 5-8--Taylor delivers some fun, frightful fare in this high-concept debut novel. Fourteen-year-old Toby Magill, a closeted Food Network junkie, gets a summer job flipping dough at Killer Pizza. Hoping to learn some cooking skills, Toby is optimistic about his new position, and he instantly bonds with his two coworkers. However, the teens soon discover that the establishment is actually a front for a secret monster-hunting organization, and they are the newest recruits. Their focus shifts from making pizza to weapons training and stakeouts as they try to uncover the leader of a pack of grotesque monsters that can transform into human shape and are preying on innocent people. Clearly, this is not the job for which Toby applied. Always the underdog, he has to muster up the courage to take on these frightening creatures. The descriptions are creepy, but never over-the-edge gory. The author's screenwriting background is evident in the plotting of the nonstop action sequences that lead up to the satisfying conclusion. A delectable choice for horror fans as well as reluctant readers.--Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJ

[Page 174]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 August

Gr 5-8--In this sequel to Killer Pizza (Feiwel & Friends, 2009), Toby, Annabel, and Strobe, the three teens who work at a pizza joint that fronts as a monster-hunting organization, are in New York City to visit KP's headquarters. They end up defending a runaway monster escaping from her elusive shape-shifting clan, the dekayi, and it is up to them to protect her. While they learn everything they can about Calanthe's people, they integrate her into their suburban Ohio high school. Readers new to the series can jump right in to this follow-up, which opens with a battle scene and leans heavily on action. However, none of it is very suspenseful or even plausible. The plot-driven story offers little in character development and often generalizes teen behavior, but it wraps up neatly.--Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA

[Page 122]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

VOYA Reviews 2009 August
Fourteen-year-old Toby dreams of being a chef and lands a job at his hometown's new pizza parlor during the summer. The job is fun and the staff is friendly, but Toby finds they have a secret: the pizza parlor is a front for a monster hunting organization reminiscent of The Ghostbusters. Toby soon finds himself bonding with his new friends and co-workers Strobe and Annabel. They experience a summer of danger as they try and save their Ohio town from being overrun by monsters after going through the training necessary to become Monster Combat Officers Readers will be reminded of R. L. Stine, who contributes a cover blurb, and Paul Zindel's The Reef of Death (HarperCollins, 1998/VOYA April 1998) and The Loch (HarperCollins, 1995/VOYA April 1995). Toby is an easy-going and relatable young adult, and young teens will enjoy the fun, slightly scary read. Parts of the story are annoying to those who have trouble suspending reality (can fourteen-year-olds even work at a pizza place?), but this much-needed book definitely fills a gap in horror stories for young readers left by the end of the Goosebumps series. A recipe for Fiery Dragon-Breath Pizza is included.--Karen Jensen 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.