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)