Review: “Fiero’s Pizza,” Ike Hamill

Pros: Intriguing!
Cons: Two tones that don’t mesh
Rating: 3 out of 5

Ike Hamill’s horror novel Fiero’s Pizza introduces Brian and Samantha, a young couple moving into a house and about to have their first baby. They eventually have a passel of little boys, only it seems like little bad events start adding up. The larger their family gets, the darker the clouds that seem to hang over them. Every Friday they order from Fiero’s Pizza, and their order is delivered by the mysterious Levi, a disfigured young man who drives a very memorable car. Eventually, they find they can’t escape Levi and his delivery of pizza–even when they don’t order, he shows up.

We never do more than scratch the surface when it comes to understanding Levi and Fiero’s Pizza. They seem to be an attempt at a kind of blend of humor and horror, but it doesn’t work. That blend works in books like Rabig’s Playing Possum and Baxter’s The Roo because they never take themselves too seriously. Most of Fiero’s Pizza is too serious to mesh with any kind of humorous patina. So there’s always this awkward juxtaposition of “bleak horror” with “but, pizza?”

There are little hints and clues about Fiero’s Pizza and Levi. There’s an old rock with an inscription on it. There’s some little bits of research Brian and Sam do. There’s an odd notion of a kind of supernatural parasite that’s living off of their family. But this all feels a little unfinished and isn’t wrapped up in any kind of satisfactory manner. Sometimes I’m okay with things being a bit vague, but since this story kind of relied on characters gaming the details, that didn’t work here.

I do like the characters and the overall concept. Sam and Brian are your everyday couple with difficulties and troubles. Their kids have personality, especially Red and Marty. There is one section that has Sam trying something called “attachment parenting” with Red that I found kind of difficult to read about.

General content warning for some mild gore. I wouldn’t not recommend this one, but it also didn’t wow me.

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