Friday, June 5, 2009

For Goosebumps grads

I wasn't expecting a reference to Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage in a book about a pizza/monster killing joint, but there it was. Just sorta tossed in there, as if to tell me, yes, there are werewolf/vampire crossbreeds in this story (called Guttata horridus, guttata meaning spotted in latin according my to coworker, Bob) but that does not mean this is a story without brains.
Which is not to say that Greg Taylor's Killer Pizza is going to be assigned in schools anytime soon. It's a campy horror story that was made to be fun and not entirely nutritious, just like the pizza it centers around. It's a very simple story about good friends, evil monsters (G versus E, as Taylor puts it), and secret aspirations. And while some of the dialog can be a little clunky, and the Japanese American girl is somewhat defined by her heritage in a predictable manner (Samurai blood, huh? yeah, me too, but I don't think I'd go for a career in lethal monster control, give me reasons better than that) and a little of what I like to think of as protagonist pampering (my, Toby, your bod is so hot now!) it's still a very enjoyable read, similar in essence to the Goosebumps books I used to DEVOUR in elementary school.
With genuinely scary moments and action to spare, Killer Pizza is the perfect summer read for kids getting just a little too old for Goosebumps, yet not quite as graphic as Christopher Pike or even RL Stine's Fear Street (am I dating myself? We don't even sell those authors anymore...) and certainly less frightening than Neil Gaiman's Coraline. It will also, I think, do well with adults who have an affection for B horror movies.

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