Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerri...

Review || Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.

I have a confession to make: I have never been inside an IKEA. Crazy, huh? I feel like everyone has been to an IKEA. Even though I've never been, I feel like I have knowledge of what it's like. That's a strange concept to start with, but they make such a "thing" of their brand, it's easy to have a feel for it without experiencing it for yourself.  Of course, Hendrix can't use IKEA without legal ramifications so his store brand, ORSK, steps in instead. 

The concept of Horrorstör is pretty entertaining. The book itself is made up like an IKEA catalog with vaguely Swedish sounding furniture as chapter titles that get darker and darker as the story continues. The entire story is built around the brand and the purposeful maze that the store is. The main character, Amy, feels like a rat stuck in that maze, never getting ahead. She's asked for a transfer and her manager agrees, under one condition. Weird stuff has been happening in the store and he wants her to stay in the store overnight and catch the vandals in the act. 

I expected Horrorstör to be a parody or at least a horror-comedy. While there is no denying the comic effect to the writing, I was surprised that the haunting was taken quite seriously. The first half of the book is very kitschy with lots of jabs at the brand and the management. The second half is where the horror comes in, played very straight. In spite of having "grown-up" horror, it still felt like a twisted version of Scooby-Doo. That's not a dig by any means but having a book made up of two very separate halves left it with a bit of an identity crisis. Is it funny? Vaguely. Is it scary? Also, vaguely. The gimmick made it worthwhile. The bright big box store turned haunted house trope was an interesting, albeit tame, read.