Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland. 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 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 delivers a high-concept premise in a unique style.
©2014 Grady Hendrix (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
Does anyone else out there have an aversion to IKEA? Like, someone suggests we pop over there real quick, maybe bribes you with coffee and cinnamon rolls, and then BAM. The whole Saturday has mysteriously disappeared? Wait, what just happened to me this past weekend?
Horrorstör is one part Office Space, and one part haunted house story. Thankfully, the haunted house in Horrorstör is essentially an IKEA.
I’m thoroughly enjoying Grady Hendrix’s Great Stephen King reread over at Tor.com (please note the presence tense, and my faith it’ll one day continue), and thought his White Street Society short stories exquisite dark humor, so when I heard he had a novel set in a Haunted IKEA (or, more accurately: ORSK, an IKEA competitor), I knew I had to check it out.
I’ve been to IKEA way more times than I’d like, and while I don’t have the Chuck Palahniuk/Fight Club aversion to it that some do, it does feel a bit like a gauntlet at times — winding around those labyrinthine aisles. Hendrix does a solid job of bringing us in from the street level with Amy, a young woman just barely getting by, and coming to the horrific realization that she really has no plan on where her life is going. But there’s been a lot of weirdness happening at ORSK, and when Amy’s offered a late night shift by her boss Basil along with three other employees, she really can’t turn it down. Things go downhill fast from there, in something of a creepy yet kind of hysterical way. There’s a nasty little seance scene that felt like something straight out of a Sam Raimi film, and I couldn’t stop laughing while listening to it.
But about two-thirds through the book, the story less somewhat less funny and more straight-up horror, and my interest waned a bit, and the ending seemed a bit sudden. Still, Hendrix does a good job with next-door characters that seem like they could’ve walked out of a Stephen King novel. Amy is easy for just about anyone who has been hard up for cash to relate to, but Basil — the African American store manager whose name evokes Basil Rathbone and who is evangelical about all the corporate propaganda — is particularly strong. Hendrix knows his horror tropes, and does a good job subverting them.
Tai Sammons does the heavy lifting narration-wise in Horrorstör. She’s got a solid, no frills everywoman narration that nails the protagonist pretty well, and gets by okay with the rest of the cast. Bronson Pinchot is essentially reading the chapter headers, and you can tell he’s having a blast. Together, they’re a winning combination.
I could be convinced to head back to Horrorstör one day, mostly for the first half and the solid narration. It left me a little cold in places, but generally I imagine I’ll have a lot more fun whenever I go back to IKEA thanks to Hendrix’s book.
Also, the coffee and cinnamon rolls.
Unique story with some insightful moments. It's playful, funny, and scary! It's read wonderfully, and put together well for an audiobook experience.
I really, really wanted to like this book. A great premise which floundered in its execution. It tries it's best, but it never gets beyond the initial elevator pitch of a haunted IKEA. It has some neat ideas that I wish we'd explored more. This book would be great if it were double the length and it gave itself time to dig into the characters, the setting, the store and the haunted stuff. This feels too rushed.
1. Living in NE Ohio, listening to inaccurate details of location was frustrating. 2. Story itself is mind-numbing. 3. Reader can't keep her accents/voices straight. 4. The minute details of the Scandinavian furnishings of "Orsk" serve no purpose whatsoever. 5. Listened to the whole book hoping to find some redeeming quality but alas...bored and frustrated.
Definitely not worth the time.
I live to ride my bike.
I have only been to Ikea once. It is to much stimulus, the people, floor layout, and things happening everywhere for me to have an enjoyable shopping experience. Reading Amy's description of ORSK was something that I related to.
The list of store employees, rather partners, was an assortment of unique characters to cover the a set of characteristics to make a horror story work. The normal young man who is govern by his sexual desires and will say and do anything. A young and navie young lady who has been sought by men for her looks instead of her intelligence. An old maid and her cat, a grateful floor manager who life line is his job. Then our main character Amy. She has to work because of the many adversities she has had in her life. For all partial purposes, she does not have a family and penniless.
There was not enough set up of the mysterious happenings at night. We never find out who was vandalizing the the bathrooms. Usually with ghost stories, the ghost are not corporal enough to interact with the people. These ghost can whip your butts. Was it Car, the homeless guy or the ghost who was using their feces in the late night decoration? Are we to assume the ghost still have bodily functions?
The only option for our team to survivor is to hide and run like hell. For the characters it was horror. For me, it is boring. There is a 3 minute part when the survivors made a decision to gear up and fight... and then it was the end.
This book was fantastic. I was never bored, always engaged. The scary scenes were real good. The story was fun. The characters were great, basil was my favorite. I highly recommend this book to anyone that's looking for a fun horror novel. Just sit back relax and enjoy the ride.
Despite the fact that this book ended up being completely ridiculous - just like so many of its horror movie counterparts - I still liked it. The creative use of the Orsk advertisements throughout the book and the use of the Orsk Handbook to guide Basil in his by-the-book approach to management - even when faced with evil apparitions attempting to kill him and his staff - added humor to the story and made it clear that the author wasn't taking this horror story too seriously. So, yes it was ridiculous, but possibly it was meant to be.
"Well worth it"
I got expecting a ok story set in retail and was left pleasantly surprised. Loved the setting and the main character though the story itself was sort of a mix of Hellraiser and Silent hill. But what really popped for me was the little item descriptions for things in the store that punctuate each chapter. The other reader and the fact that as the story grew darker these description mirrored them was a refreshing change from the norm. If you like horror fiction I would suggest this is a good book to add to your collection.
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