Amy is drowning in student loan debt and trying desperately to keep her retail job, while waiting to hear back about a transfer request. Her supervisor, Basil, seems to have it in for her and she has no actual friends among her co-workers at Orsk’s Cuyahoga County, Ohio store. To help pay her bills, she becomes part of a group of employees who stay overnight to discover who, or what, is causing the mysterious damage in the parody of an IKEA store. There is Basil, the manager who can quote store policy, Ruth Anne, the 47 year old complacent long-term employee, Trinity, the energetic and sometimes annoying girl who is popular with the male employees, and Matt, who is hoping she will date him next. As readers, we follow their journey on and off the Bright and Shining Path that wends it’s way through the store (and made me think “follow the yellow brick road” more than once). What they encounter seems innocuous, at first, but then things go horribly wrong…
In Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör you feel the retail angst of a big-box warehouse store, and learn that it really is about location, location, location. Horror is not a genre that I usually read, but the combination of the premise, the (unaffiliated) IKEA-ish-ness, and Quirk Books being the publisher drew me in. What kept me reading was the deceptively casual writing style and the catalogue-like nature of the book itself.
The miss-steps that I noticed are few: Potemkin seems outside of the usual naming conventions, a physical transition is unexplained (p.211), Basil’s car is mentioned on page 170 when I could have sworn he said earlier that he did not own a car (couldn’t find the passage to verify this, it may have been another character), and the first use of a term later attributed to Ruth Anne seemed premature.
Overall, a fun read (so long as I didn’t let myself picture some of the events and descriptions of smells and environment). Page 1 states that it is a “work of fiction, horror, and parody.” I think it is successful in living up to that statement.
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix | Quirk Books, 2014 | paperback, 248 pages
This review is a repost of my August 2014 GoodReads review and refers to an advance, finished copy of Horrorstor won through a giveaway on booklikes.com, courtesy of Quirk books.