[Review] Horrostör - Grady Hendrix

Title of Book: Horrostör
Author: Grady Hendrix
Publisher: Quirk
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 248

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring 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..  


Amy is a disgruntled employee of Orsk, a furniture and home supplies superstore which is basically a cheap version of IKEA. She has just been transferred to Orsk branch in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. However, things have not been smooth in the Cuyahoga branch. Every morning employees found broken furniture and sales are down. Basil, the store manager, asked Amy and Ruth Anne, cashier at Orsk, to stay all night to figure out what's really happening at the store. When the overnight shift started, Amy and Ruth Anne found that they were not the only employees left at the store. It appeared that fellow employees Trinity and Matt were also staying to do some ghost hunting at the store. The night patrol started out okay until they tried opening the door that shouldn't be opened.

Before talking about the content of this book, let's talk about the packaging first. Horrorstör is cleverly designed as if it's a furniture and home supplies catalogue. They include a blueprint of the store's layout on the front flap of the book. They even include promo coupons and order form in the book as if it's a real catalogue. Each chapter is opened with an illustration of a product and its description. The product then becomes more sinister as we read on.

Horrorstor is a haunted house story set in a retail furniture store. When you think about it, a retail especially the one which sells furniture and home supplies is a perfect set for a haunted house story. The showroom which gives the illusion of a room with windows and doors that lead to nowhere look creepy and disorienting even when the store is packed with people. Since the store is usually closed off from the outside world, people inside often have no sense of time. Imagine what it would be like when there’s no person at all.

The protagonist, Amy, is a young woman whose spirit has been crushed by the monotony of retail industry. Amy used to live with her mother in a trailer. Dreaming of getting out of there, she was trying to make something out of herself and went to college. But she went broke and ended up dropping out of school. She then applied for a job at Orsk. Working at Orsk is not her dream job, but at least she got money. After failing a test for a promotion, Amy despised working at Orsk even more.  Although Amy’s experience is not an experience that speaks to me on a personal level, the feeling of dissatisfaction towards her job is something that most people can relate to. 

The more Amy struggled, the faster she sank. Every month she shuffled around less and less money to cover the same number of bills. The hamster wheel kept spinning and spinning and spinning. Sometimes she wanted to let go and find out exactly how far she’d fall if she just stopped fighting. She didn’t expect life to be fair, but did it have to be so relentless?

The first half of Horrorstor is mostly telling us what Orsk is, what happened there, and who works there. Hendrix’s writing style is also enjoyable to read. It’s funny and it seems like having fun while writing this book. The second half though, is where the horror truly begins. It’s creepy and surprisingly frightening. For a book marketed as a horror comedy, and after reading the first half of the book, I didn’t think that I would get that scared reading the rest of the book. What interested me is Hendrix managed to draw similarities between being trapped in a prison hell and trapped in a retail store. When you think about it, the parallel between the two is alarming. 

There are enough people running around in here. It’s starting to feel like an episode of Scooby-Doo. 

All in all, starting this book I knew it’s going to be a fun experience. Based on the design itself, this book is intriguing already. The story also kept me wanting to read more. I managed to finish this book in just two days. It’s fast for me, considering I have a full time job. That’s just how intriguing this book is. Regardless you like horror or not, I highly recommend this book. 

The store will try to stop us. It’ll disorient you, get inside your head, try to confuse you and control you. But if you stay focused, you can block it out. You have to fight, do you understand?


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