Review: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

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4 out of 5 Brooka Sofa Stars

Orsk: A better life for the everyone!

I love retail sass. I also love that I finally read the book that everyone bought, everyone hauled all over Booktube, and no one reviewed or talked about. Not, that I saw, anyway. This is the horror story that looks like an Ikea catalog. I thought the whole book was going to be like that, but … it is… but it’s not like I thought it would be. I was expecting a kind of graphic novel only with photographs, but this is your regular, prose novel. At the chapter breaks, there are catalog pages for more of Orsk’s imaginary furniture. They get more and more bizarre as you go along, and each model number has 666 in it somewhere. The cover and intro of the book are like a ripoff of the Ikea catalog, same as the store the book is set in. It’s tagline should be “When you can’t afford Ikea!”

Amy is in retail hell. Literally. She has to avoid her boss, at least until her transfer comes through and she can go back to the Youngstown store. It’s not that she doesn’t like Basil…. well, she doesn’t like anyone, so it is kinda that she doesn’t like him. I don’t blame her. He’s a walking/talking Orsk employee manual and I don’t think I could work for the guy. But the reason she’s in danger of losing her job is because of her attitude. Look, it’s a furniture store. She wants to go to work, do her job, and then go home. She just…. can’t get Orsk-cited about flat pack furniture. She doesn’t care about making a better tomorrow for people who buy rip off Scandinavian furniture. I mean, that takes a special kind of person.

When she gets called in his office, she’s certain her time as an Orsk partner has come to an end. This is at a particularly bad time, because she’s behind on her rent, and about to get kicked out of her apartment. When she sees RuthAnne, a committed, responsible, all around Orsk -tacular employee is also there… she’s confused. Well, it’s got to do with the disturbances.

There have been an unusual number of breakages on the store floor during the night. It always happens when the store is at its darkest (then why don’t they keep the lights on longer you ask? No you don’t – it’s a horror – why do they keep going to Camp Sleepaway? Questions like that ruin everything, stop it!) So Basil has a plan. It’s no secret the store isn’t doing as well as others in the area, and they might be in trouble. Now with this unexplained damage, there is a team coming to audit the store. To find out what’s going on, he wants a couple of employees to stay overnight with him and catch whatever vandal is breaking in and doing these terrible things. And of course, he wants RuthAnne and Amy. Well, no he doesn’t, but the two dudes he asked bailed, and the audit team is coming the next day, so he’s stuck. He promises to put Amy’s transfer through if she does it. Also, time and a half pay. In cash. At dawn.

She takes it.

(Of course she does, we wouldn’t be here otherwise.)

I always discuss the diversity in everything I read. Basil is black and Trinity is Korean. So it’s not just white folks, but it is mostly white folks.

I thought this would be kind of a parody  – I wasn’t expecting a serious horror, but it gets super creepy and goes full-on horror. There’s even a parallel to the prisonlike structure of the building and the work they do at the store. Unexpected bravery. Redemption. Betrayal. It’s all good. But I can’t tell you more or it would give too much away.

Well written, excellent pacing, creepy stuff. It’s a good’un.

 

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