By Grady Hendrix
Paperback , 243 pages
Expected Publication Date: September 23, 2014
I received this book for free from LibraryThing (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
From the inside cover: “Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture store in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerrig 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.”
What I liked:
The cover art and overall design was what pulled me into this book. Personally, I’m a big fan of Ikea designs and I love flipping through their magazines, imagining that someday my home will be as neatly arranged and designed as the fake rooms I see on those glossy pages. Instantly this book reminded me of how many more abstract bookcases my house could use. But then there’s the horror element, already showing through on the cover:
This is a sturdy paperback too – the covers are more like plastic and they have wonderful little flaps filled with detail. Make sure you read every bit of this book! One of the first pages is a Home Delivery Order Form and hidden at the bottom is the copyright information. Each chapter starts with a large graphic of a piece of furniture found in Orsk and a clever little description. As the story progresses and the horror element is revealed, these furniture pieces become torture devices. It’s no surprise to me that Quirk put out this book – with books like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and The Geek’s Guide to Dating they’re the perfect home for Horrorstör.
The story itself was highly entertaining. Again, being a fan of Ikea and someone who works in retail, I caught all of Grady’s little quips. While I enjoyed his commentary on the retail and commercial life, it still made me want to find out where the nearest Ikea was so I could go purchase a chair that I’ll never be able to put together correctly. The main protagonist, Amy, was relatable – 20-something, stuck in a dead-end retail job because she doesn’t want to take it seriously, college dropout, scraping to pay the bills and no real clue what she wants to do with her life.
The premise behind the haunting of the store was interesting too – I’ll let you read that for yourself. While there were elements that creeped me out or made me anxious, I have to say this book was primarily gore. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I didn’t know I was going to encounter a scene where one of Amy’s fingernails is ripped off! Stuff like that makes me shudder. Not really a bad thing, and fortunately there wasn’t a lot of it – but it was more of a horror story and less of a psychological thriller than I expected. (Yes, I may be silly for that assumption.)
What I didn’t like:
My biggest issue was the premise behind getting the staff into the store at night. I’m honestly willing to suspend my belief for a haunted retail store. But the fact that a manager asked two regular associates to stay overnight and keep watch for a possible burglar – because really, if merchandise is being vandalized, you have to think it’s by human hands – is too much for me to handle. Really they would call in security or loss prevention if they thought there was a serious issue. Having employees waiting to confront a possible vandal is too much of a liability – not to mention, I’m not even sure if your average store employee could legally apprehend someone for breaking into the store. Again, this is my retail background creeping up on me. A minor issue, really. I realize it’s silly of me to go along with vindictive ghosts, but not their reason for being in the store overnight.
I finished this book in a day – it was a blast to go through and I chuckled at quite a few parts. Hendrix is a witty writer and I would read more of his work (perhaps he’ll put out a sequel?) and if you’re a fan of horror-esque books, or Ikea or retail satire, check this out.!
Here are some bonus pictures: