Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Adult – Horror/Comedy
Published September 23rd 2014 by Quirk
This is a book I’ve been wanting to read since I read My Best Friend’s Exorcism. I loved that book and fell in love with Grady Hendrix in the process. His books remind me of the campy b-horror movies I used to watch in junior high with my friends that were scary but you couldn’t help but laugh at their campiness. This book is pure camp and the perfect Halloween book.
The Orsk furniture store (the walmart version of ikea) is experiencing strange happenings. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken bookshelves, strangely bad smells that linger throughout the day, and odd text messages just saying, “Help!” With store managers panicking that sales are down and security cameras revealing nothing, one manager enlists two other workers to stake out the store overnight and catch what he assumes are just some bored teenagers. Things get out of hand for store manager Basil and his employees Ruth Ann and Amy pretty quickly. The lights turn off, they got lost in the endless maze of furniture, and find Matt and Trinity, two other coworkers who snuck in to film a demo for the ghost investigation show they want to be on TV. With time running out, the group of five has a new mission that they never even saw coming, escaping the store alive.
This book was a fun play on the traditional haunted house story…but in a big-box store, which I can’t decide if that made it even more terrifying. Before i talk about how much I loved this book I want to talk about the gorgeous cover and design. Horrorstor is meant to look like any other furniture store mail catalog. It comes complete with product designs, a home delivery order form, coupons, write-ups of about the functions, and color customization. It just fell short of the the over-the-top-gimmick line and with the theme of the book is just fun
The actual story was was just as much fun as the book. It’s super creepy whl also being clever and quirky. When it comes to the horror genre I feel like so many books follow the same haunted house formula. This stood out to me as different in a good way because it felt like reading a b-horror movie, an Evil Dead 2 if you will. I loved the take that retail stores are literally soul sucking places. I’ve never worked in retail but I did do my time at a waterpark for many summers and the environment and culture that faraway corporate sets for their employees is the same. Still, I don’t think you’ve had to actually work retail to recognize the jokes, “It’s not just a job, it’s the rest of your life” and “contribute to an environment where Orsk culture is a strong and living reality.” The setting was hilarious and terrifying and made even more-so through our protagonist’s jaded eyes.
Our main character Amy was crazy annoying at first. Revelling in her self-pity she was a college drop-out who didn;t know what she wanted other than to pay her bills and to get through the day without interacting with her hyper-vigilant and Orsk-loving manager Basil. Both of these characters started as stereotypes but pretty quickly developed into actual characters that felt like people I would know in my everyday life.
“The problem was the liars. They said she could do anything she set her mind to, they told her she should shoot for the moon because if she missed she’d be among the stars, they made movies tricking her into thinking she could achieve heroic things. All lies. Because she was born to answer phones in call centers, to carry bags to customers’ cars, to punch a clock, to measure her life in smoke breaks. To think otherwise was insane.”
“The car buzzed at her, as if a door ajar was the most important problem in her life right now.”
Definitely, and I’m really looking forward to getting a hard copy to look fantastic on my shelf (seriously the design of this book is beautiful and I cannot state that enough).