Monday, January 19, 2015

Tales from the Bookshelf - Horrorstor

Good morning! Earlier this month I finished the book Horrorstor, by Grady Hendrix, and had such a blast reading it. It's a fun thriller that keeps you turning pages until you've reached the end. I'm a slow reader and it only took me about two days, during the holidays, to finish. So obviously I knew I had to write about it.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstor first caught my eye back in September. I'm in a group on Goodreads, and the leader of the group was contacted by Quirk Books (bless them) and was asked if we'd want to all vote on and receive a book to read together. We put together a poll from the options Quirk sent, and before voting I took a closer look at the titles - one of which being Horrorstor! In my mind I thought, "Is that an Ikea catalog...?" and after reading the bio I knew this was the book I was voting for. It didn't win, and we instead read The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black, which I thoroughly enjoyed and wrote about, but I still knew I needed to read Horrorstor. Now I finally have and am so glad! Huzzah! Anyway, enough about me, let's talk about the book.

Horrorstor Grady Hendrix
The back of the book clearly states that some serious shit's about to go down.

Here's the bio from Quirk Books to set the mood: Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Columbus, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Brooka glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofa beds—clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-till-dawn shift—and they encounter horrors that defy imagination. Along the way, author Grady Hendrix infuses sly social commentary on the nature of work in the new twenty-first century economy. A traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting (and full of current fears), Horrorstör comes conveniently packaged in the form of a retail catalog, complete with illustrations of ready-to-assemble furniture and other, more sinister accessories. We promise you’ve never seen anything quite like it!

...and they're right, I've never read anything quite like it. The entire story takes place in the span of one night inside Orsk, a store that makes its money by selling cheaper, low quality Ikea knockoffs. I have to admit, I have a weird obsession with books and movies of people trapped in one place. Such as Buried (Ryan Reynolds stuck in a box), 127 Hours (James Franco stuck in a cave), Phone Booth (Colin Farrell stuck in a phone booth), Moon (Sam Rockwell stuck on the moon)...I could list these for hours. Point being, when I read that this book was about a group of people stuck inside a haunted superstore, I knew it was going to be great (and was actually better than most of those movies I listed).

Horrorstor Grady Hendrix
Convenient showroom map in the front of the book, lest you get lost on your journey.

Our protagonist hero is Amy, a retail associate at Orsk, who hates her job. If you've ever had a crappy retail job then I'm sure you already know the drill when I say that Amy's kinda lazy and isn't exactly employee of the month. Amy longs for a better job, and gives a pretty on point inner monologue about wanting a "sit down job," because when you have a job where you get to sit you're paid a salary, rather than being stuck in a "stand up job," meaning you get paid hourly. Having worked a few retail stand up jobs myself, I found Amy pretty likable and easy to relate to.

After a few weeks of one strange thing after another happening in Orsk while the store's supposedly empty, Amy and another worker  (I know the bio says five, but just trust me on this) are asked by their boss to stay at the store with him for an overnight shift so they can get to the bottom of things. The story quickly progresses from being slightly strange, to a little creepy, to an all out "this is terrifying and disgusting."

Horrorstor Grady Hendrix
It all started with a soiled Brooka...

While the story is fun and awesome, what really sets this book apart is the form it comes in. The cover doesn't just look like an Ikea catalog, the whole book does! From the Orsk map in the front flap, to the Orsk catalog pages in between each chapter. Even if you're in a committed relationship with your Kindle, this is a book you'll really want a hard copy of to get the full experience.

Since I hate spoilers, I'm going to leave it at that. Does this sound like a book you'd read? Or maybe you've already it, in which case I'd love to hear your thoughts! And finally, have you ever been stuck in a store in complete darkness? One time when I was still working at Target, I had an overnight shift and the power went out. I handled it pretty ok, but after reading Horrorstor I feel like there might have been something more than bad weather going on that night.

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