29 February 2012

Vulture Pizza

"I would much rather work with you.  When I work with Miguel, all he does is slack off.  Plus, He's always making vulture pies"  Vulture pies are pizzas so bad they're suitable only for vultures or employees.

from The Night She Disappeared by  April Henry

One of my closest friends loves true crime fiction, especially books about serial killers. Over the years she's pressed me to read books about Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and the nightmare inducing, Jeffrey Dahmer, my response has always been the same, 'hell no!'

I like happy endings, sexy vampires, angsty werewolves, cozy mysteries and the occasional zombie infestation. But stories about something real, monsters who look like people but walk among us, picking out their next feast from among their neighbors and coworkers, shudder, those stories are not for me.

But there was something about the setup for this story that made me think I might just want to read this book. It has teens who work in a fast food setting (I worked at a restaurant whose claim to fame was flame broiled burgers, so already I've got a built in sense of kinship with the characters), the teens aren't all the best of friends and one of them goes missing after making a delivery (a close friend of mine used to deliver sandwiches and he used to tell me some pretty strange tales of the people he met on his nightly travels, sometimes I'd worry that even though he's six plus feet of urban cowboy, what if one of his customers had a gun or a boomerang, okay, maybe not a boomerang, that'd be strange and ridiculous, still it seemed dangerous).

Plus, I figured if the book got too intense, I could just slam it shut and shove it into my NEVER TO BE READ SHELF (this shelf is more of a corner, with a stack of out of date encyclopedias, a book about sugar free desserts, David Hasselhoff's memoir, you know books that have somehow wandered into your home, never to be opened).

Well, after I started, I found it very hard to stop reading.

If you read the synopsis you already know what's going on in the beginning of the book. So let me tell you a little about what happens next.

The story is told from multiple perspectives, I knew this going in, but didn't realize it would also be told from the point of view of Kayla (the kidnapped girl) and The Man (the dude who kidnaps her). Just a note on The Man, hearing his thoughts is like taking a giant breath, in through your nose, in a boys locker room on a hot day, shocking and nausea inducing, definitely not for the faint of heart.

The same for Kayla, in fact, part way through the book, I almost set it aside because it was too personal, too upsetting and altogether too realistic, but since it is early in the day, I figured I could finish the book with plenty of buffer time before bed to read and watch happier things (Spongebob, here I come!).

But with the ending the way it was, I actually didn't need my happy place buffer. I feel okay, satisfied even.

Anyways, about the characters, a small warning, Gabie irritated me and sometimes I thought that a a month or six of talk therapy with a licensed psychologist would have done her a world of good. The girl swings from quiet, shy reserve to uninhibited, naked swims in frigid rivers craziness and frankly, her wild mood swings were more alarming than endearing to me. This current drama with the kidnapping sent her for a loop (a fruit loop, my grandma would say, don't know why she said that and it doesn't make a lot of sense now).

But, Drew, he's my favorite. His mom's an addict and his homelife isn't much to dream about, his job at Pete's pizza isn't for spending money, it's to buy food, utilities and rent. Unlike Gabie, whose parents are both trauma surgeons, he doesn't have a car and a nice house, so when she offers him the use of her car to make deliveries, thus enabling him to keep his hours, he's happy but surprised. He and Gabie are not close, she's a serious Honor Roll student and he's a pot dealing, C average student, in other words, a loser.

The interactions between Drew and Gabie are intense. These are two people drawn together by tragic circumstances and a shared belief, that Gabie was the kidnapper's intended target and that Kayla is not dead.

The police in the book seem to mostly follow up dead and unlikely leads, the story follows the investigations, including the interrogation of someone whose been implicated in Kayla's disappearance based on an anonymous tip. The contrast between the investigation, Drew and Gabie's research and Kayla and the Man's horrible interactions really gave a sense of urgency to the story.

I can't really say anymore about the book without giving away too much.

I'll just end with, read this book, you'll be hooked from page one.

If you feel the need to nosh while reading about all this pizza-serial-killer-drama, try this recipe;

For the Dough, based on a recipe from Steamy Kitchen (check it out here no knead dough )which is based on a recipe by Jim Lahey, the king of no knead pizzas

3 cups flour (I used all purpose)
1/2 rounded teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1 1/2 cups cool water.


1.  Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl.  Add the water and using your hands mix up into a sorta raggy dough.

2.  Put the raggy dough into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set somewhere cool overnight.

 3.  Go to bed, dream about George Clooney stopping by to eat bon bons and watch reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with you.  When you wake up in the morning your dough will look puffy and bloated.

4. Stretch the dough out into vaguely pizza'ish shapes and top with your favorite pizza bits*.

Anchovies, Doctor Sexy's favorite pizza topping.

5.  Bake  at 450 for ten minutes, depending on how many toppings and how thin your dough is, you might need to bake for five to ten minutes more.

6.  Enjoy!

* Okay, so the original recipe has you putting the dough on a kitchen towel and a few other things, that I totally skip.  I know, I know, I shouldn't do that, but I'm a big time procrastinator and have just never gotten around to following each and every step of this recipe.  So, anyways, do what your heart tells you.


  1. Books may make you hungry, but does hunger make you want to read?

    I'm the author of the humorous and inspiring memoir, "Twice: How I Became a Cancer-Slaying Super Man Before I Turned 21." I'd love to send a copy (or e-version) if you'd be interested in reading and perhaps reviewing it.

    I wonder what my book would make you crave. Hmmmm

    1. Benjamin - Every book that I review on this blog, has one thing in common; food. For example, the book above is set at a pizza parlor, hence the pizza. So if your book about surviving cancer has some mention about foods, then sure, I'd give it a try, but there are no guarantees that I will make a food from the book and post it on here.