Three employees of the Big Box store Orsk, an Ikea knockoff, choose to spend the night in the store in order to catch a suspected intruder. Basil, the store manager, recruits Amy with a promise of a transfer, and Ruth Ann who would do anything for her “family” at Orsk. For weeks, the morning crew has discovered broken and even soiled merchandise. Someone is in the store at night. At least one of the store’s problems would be solved. The Orsk at Cuyahoga has had issues since its opening with technical difficulties and abysmal sales. The layout is disorienting but even the most experienced employee gets lost on the showroom floor. It’s as if the store doesn’t want anyone to leave.
This was fun! First the layout of Horrorstor is clever. It’s part catalogue, part novel. There’s an item description at the beginning of every chapter that get weirder further into the book. I had high expectations just based on design alone.
The plot itself plays out like a horror movie. True to form, there’s a small group of characters with particular personality quirks. Basil is a company man, a by the book kind of guy. Seeing him try to apply his corporate training to this situation was entertaining. Ruth Anne is a devoted employee with a big heart. Amy is our heroine, the black sheep of the Orsk family. She believes Basil sees her slacker ways and has it out for her. Every good horror movie needs a haunted house, or an insane asylum, or a vampire’s castle. In Horrorstor, it’s the Orsk store, a disorienting labyrinth with a secret history. As for the movie monster, I think that’s something to be discovered as you read it.
Even though Horrorstor is a horror novel, it’s also a parody of Big Box companies. Slogans like “It’s Not Just a Job. It’s the Rest of Your Life.” are less inspiring than the company believes. Is it a job or a prison sentence? They work hard to make the “partners” (employees) feel like a part of a big family but when it comes down to it, people are dispensable.
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix is a quick and easy read with a bit of gore, though that gore is somewhat ridiculous. Instead of spending a Saturday afternoon at Ikea, spend it at Orsk!
(I wonder if I’m the only one who wants to order the Kjerring (bookshelf) on the cover.)
Thanks to Quirk Books for sending Horrorstor for review consideration. All opinions are my own.