Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix is the best horror story I have read in years.
Before I tell you why, here is the blurb from Quirk Books telling you what this tale is all about:
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-firstcentury economy.
A traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting (and full of current fears), Horrorstörcomes 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!
The setting, as you read, is in an IKEA knock-off called Orsk, and being a knock-off it is set up almost exactly the same as an IKEA. Any person who has been to IKEA or is familiar with their psychologically structured shopping experience can easily envision the maze-like walk with staged rooms on both sides, like little cut rooms for you to peak into peoples lives, with doors to nowhere and windows that will never let the sunlight in. Then onto the area where you see fully built stand alone furniture models, one after another in various shapes and sizes all tightly crammed together so that the shopper knows exactly what they are getting. Orsk becomes as creepy as any old haunted mansion, with all it twists and turns and secret passages.
The lead character is female and wonderfully written, she is both brave and cowardly. She is overwhelmed by life, but keeps on plugging away through the grind with some attitude. During her terror filled night in the store she is beat down emotionally several times but she gets back up. I loved her, and the rest of the characters helped grow her for the reader, but they do not go unshaped. They slowly take on lives of their own, not as well rounded for the reader as her, but I still understood their motivations.
Overall – this was a really fun read. Physically, the book at first glance looks like a furniture catalog would. The chapters start with a catalog description of some piece of furniture, but as you go along in the story the catalog descriptions and the furniture take on a darker tone. The dark humor of Hendrix comes through and it is quite amusing with its twisted nature. It is a short quick read that I hope there is a sequel coming.
Buy the book. It is well worth it.