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Horrorstor: A Novel Kindle Edition
“Disarming.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Wildly inventive...Hendrix delivers both a palm-sweating horror story and a laugh-out-loud satire of retail.”—Esquire
“Hendrix conjures up some wonderfully gruesome imagery.”—Nerdist
“An inventive, hilarious haunted house tale.”—Bustle
“Hendrix’s one-of-a-kind novel is an innovative hybrid of ghost story and satire, at once clever, gruesome, and hilarious.”—Amazon Book Review
“If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to put together furniture from IKEA, you’ll get a laugh out of Hendrix’s spoof mystery.”—New York Post
“Hendrix is an engaging writer.”—Santa Fe New Mexican
“A clever little horror story...[and] a treat for fans of The Evil Dead or Zombieland, complete with affordable solutions for better living.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A fun horror novel.”—Library Journal
“A very clever ghost story.”—Booklist
“The book’s packaging as a catalog—complete with illustrations of increasingly sinister-looking furniture with faux Scandinavian names—gives it a charmingly oddball allure.”—Publishers Weekly
More praise for Grady Hendrix:
“National treasure Grady Hendrix follows his classic account of a haunted IKEA-like furniture showroom, Horrorstor (2014), with a nostalgia-soaked ghost story, My Best Friend’s Exorcism.”—The Wall Street Journal, on My Best Friend’s Exorcism
“Pure, demented delight.”—The New York Times Book Review, on Paperbacks from Hell
“Terrific... Sharply written... [My Best Friend’s Exorcism] makes a convincing case for [Hendrix’s] powers as a sharp observer of human behavior.”—The A.V. Club, on My Best Friend’s Exorcism
“Hendrix’s darkest novel yet will leave readers begging for an encore.”—Booklist, starred review, on We Sold Our Souls
“A true appreciation of the genre.”—Los Angeles Times, on Paperbacks from Hell
“Campy. Heartfelt. Horrifying.”—Minnesota Public Radio, on My Best Friend’s Exorcism
“Clever, heartfelt, and get-under-your-skin unnerving.”—Fangoria, on My Best Friend’s Exorcism
“A good, creepy, music-tinged thriller.”—CNET, on We Sold Our Souls
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
But every morning, five days a week (seven during the holidays), they dragged themselves here, to the one thing in their lives that never changed, the one thing they could count on come rain, or shine, or dead pets, or divorce: work.
Orsk was the all-American furniture superstore in Scandinavian drag, offering well-designed lifestyles at below-Ikea prices, and its forward-thinking slogan promised “a better life for the everyone.” Especially for Orsk shareholders, who trekked to company headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, every year to hear how their chain of Ikea knockoff stores was earning big returns. Orsk promised customers “the everything they needed” in the every phase of their lives, from Balsak cradles to Gutevol rocking chairs. The only thing it didn’t offer was coffins. Yet.
Orsk was an enormous heart pumping 318 partners—228 full-time, 90 part-time—through its ventricles in a ceaseless circular flow. Every morning, floor partners poured in to swipe their IDs, power up their computers, and help customers size the perfect Knäbble cabinets, find the most comfortable Müskk beds, and source exactly the right Lågniå water glasses. Every afternoon, replenishment partners flowed in and restocked the Self-Service Warehouse, pulled the picks, refilled the impulse bins, and hauled pallets onto the Market Floor. It was a perfect system, precision-engineered to offer optimal retail functionality in all 112 Orsk locations across North America and in its thirty-eight locations around the world.
But on the first Thursday of June at 7:30 a.m., at Orsk Location #00108 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, this well-calibrated system came grinding to a halt.
The trouble started when the card reader next to the employee entrance gave up the ghost. Store partners arrived and piled up against the door in a confused chaotic crowd, helplessly waving their IDs over the scanner until Basil, the deputy store manager, appeared and directed them all to go around the side of the building to the customer entrance.
Customers entered Orsk through a towering two-story glass atrium and ascended an escalator to the second floor, where they began a walk of the labyrinthine Showroom floor designed to expose them to the Orsk lifestyle in the optimal manner, as determined by an army of interior designers, architects, and retail consultants. Only here was yet another problem: the escalator was running down instead of up. Floor partners shoved their way into the atrium and came to a baffled halt, unsure what to do next. IT partners jammed up behind them, followed by a swarm of post-sales partners, HR partners, and cart partners. Soon they were all packed in butt to gut and spilling out the double doors.
Amy spotted the human traffic jam from across the parking lot as she power-walked toward the crowd, a soggy cup of coffee leaking in one hand.
“Not now,” she thought. “Not today.”
She’d bought the coffee cup at the Speedway three weeks ago because it promised unlimited free refills and Amy needed to stretch her $1.49 as far as it would go. This was as far as it went. As she stared in dismay at the mass of partners, the bottom of her cup finally gave up and let go, dumping coffee all over her sneakers. Amy didn’t even notice. She knew that a crowd meant a problem, and a problem meant a manager, and this early in the day a manager meant Basil. She could not let Basil see her. Today she had to be Basil Invisible.
Matt lurked on the edge of the semicircle, dressed in his usual black hoodie. He was glumly eating an Egg McMuffin and squinting painfully in the morning sun.
“What happened?” Amy asked.
“They can’t open the prison, so we can’t do our time,” he said, picking crumbs from his enormous hipster beard.
“What about the employee entrance?”
“So how do we clock in?”
“Don’t be in such a hurry,” Matt said, trying to suck a strand of cheese off the mass of hair surrounding his mouth. “There’s nothing waiting inside but retail slavery, endless exploitation, and personal subjugation to the whims of our corporate overlords.”
If Amy squinted, she could dimly see Basil’s tall, gawky silhouette through the front windows, trying to direct the human traffic jam by waving his spaghetti-noodle arms in the air. Getting even this close to him sent a cold bolt of fear through her stomach, but his back was turned. Maybe she had a chance.
“Good thoughts, Matt,” she said.
Seizing her moment, Amy ninjaed her way through the crowd, ducking behind backs, stepping on toes, and slipping into open spaces. She entered the atrium and was immediately enveloped in the soothing embrace of Orsk—where it was always the perfect temperature, where the rooms were always perfectly lit, where the piped-in music was always the perfect volume, where it was always perfectly calm. But this morning the air had an edge to it, the faint scent of something rancid.
“I didn’t think this escalator could run in reverse,” Basil was saying to an operations partner who was pounding on the emergency stop button to no effect. “Is this even mechanically possible?”
Amy didn’t stick around to find out. Her sole objective for the day—and for the next several days—was to avoid Basil at all costs. As long as he didn’t see her, she reasoned, he couldn’t fire her. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00JCRXBSU
- Publisher : Quirk Books (September 23, 2014)
- Publication date : September 23, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 23112 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 182 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,232 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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But there’s also a place in my heart for a modern, clean, brightly-lit building that’s nevertheless crawling with the unquiet spirits of the dead. The suburban home built over an Indian graveyard, the supermarket with bloody handprints appearing mysteriously on the freezer cases, the trendy nightclub plagued by unusual deaths and fashionable vampires. Horror writers love this stuff, too — you can find horror wrapped around modern suburban and retail settings in films like “Poltergeist” and “Dawn of the Dead” (and many other early-outbreak zombie movies) and in books and stories like Stephen King’s “The Mist,” Anne Rivers Siddons’ “The House Next Door,” and Mark Z. Danielewski’s “House of Leaves.”
And there’s also this book, “Horrorstör,” a short horror novel (with strong humor elements) written by Grady Hendrix. Its focus is on a haunting at an IKEA-style big box retail store.
The lead character in the story is Amy, a slacker in a thoroughly dead-end job working retail at ORSK, a furniture and housewares store designed from the ground up to look and feel like an IKEA store. It has the same winding pathway through the store, the same “Magic Tool” required to put every piece of furniture together, the same style of faux-Scandinavian names for all the products. Amy wants to transfer back to the ORSK store she used to work at, mainly because she thinks she’s about to get fired by Basil, an assistant manager and gung-ho ORSK fanboy. But as it turns out, Basil actually wants to ask Amy and another co-worker, Ruth Anne, an older long-term employee who lives for her job, loves stuffed animals, and is adored by everyone on the staff, to take on a special duty — patrolling the store at night.
You see, the store has been suffering unusual vandalism. Some of the glassware has been broken, furniture has been soiled, and there are odd smells in the building. Basil wants Amy and Ruth Anne to join him on a secret late-night patrol, after everyone has gone home, to see if anyone is breaking into the building. They soon find some interesting problems. There are rats in the kitchen showcases, even though there’s no food there and no water hookups. Everyone keeps getting lost, which might make sense if they were just customers and not employees trained to find their way around the store quickly. And the mysterious grafitti messages in the restrooms referring ominously to “the Beehive” are multiplying rapidly.
And they do find some unexpected interlopers. Matt and Trinity are a couple of fellow co-workers at ORSK who have sneaked into the store because they thinks there are ghosts in the building and want to make a reality-TV ghost hunter show. And there’s also a homeless man, Carl, who has been secretly living in the store for a few weeks.
Trinity has an idea. She still thinks there are ghosts in the building, and what’s the best way to contact ghosts? Let’s everyone hold a seance!
And then everything goes straight to hell.
Can Amy and her coworkers survive the night shift at ORSK? Can they escape the store? Or are they doomed to toil forever in the stone walls and iron restraints of the Beehive?
I really enjoyed this book. I burned my way through it as quickly as I could, and a couple nights, where I made the mistake of reading it too close to bedtime, it actually kept me up late. I did think that the very best parts of the novel were fairly early on, when the scares were subtle and more creepy than heart-stopping. The seasoned employees getting lost in their own store? That was weirdly realistic — you could imagine it happening, but you could also see why it would be really unnerving. The odd sounds after the store closes, combined with the sudden unfamiliarity of the environment of the store was also spooky — and definitely familiar for anyone who’s ever had to work late in their office, where darkness and emptiness make the comfortable surroundings feel strange and dangerous.
Even better than that was the graffiti in the restroom. The dozens of scrawled names and scratched-out years, all referencing the mysterious Beehive, feel intensely eerie, a perfect element to place in a modern retail ghost story. There are also some very effective moments when the employees discover that the purely decorative doors in the showcases now open into dank, cavernous hallways leading deep into the earth.
And the seance may have been a monumentally stupid move on the part of the characters, but the way they did it was an original and wonderful thing to have in a horror novel. It’s simultaneously terrifying — because you know what’s going to happen — and hilarious — because you know what’s going to happen.
Once the Big Bad makes his appearance, and especially when he captures Amy for the first time, the story starts moving away from being a ghost story and edging more into torture porn. The story shows some serious cracks in this section, in part because it’s too long — I just don’t enjoy reading multiple pages about someone being strapped into a torture chair that tightens to the point where she loses sensation in her limbs and can barely draw a breath. (This may also indicate that I have never enjoyed torture porn.) But it’s also a bit too short — we’re told that Amy’s mind breaks almost entirely not long after she’s strapped in, to the point where Stockholm Syndrome sets in and she starts worshiping her captor. And then, when she’s released from confinement, it’s not too many more pages before her mind has completely recovered to its previously healthy state — and even improved, as she’s much braver and more resourceful for the rest of the novel.
One of the real selling points of this novel is the fantastic graphic design by Andie Reid and illustrations by Michael Rogalski. The book cover looks like one of the big, glossy IKEA design catalogs — with a few subtle and not-so-subtle differences to give some visual cues to the horrors within — and each chapter opens with a page from the fictional ORSK catalog spotlighting one of their products, complete with IKEA-style art, a faux-Scandinavian name, and upbeat flavor text. But after the supernatural terrors start climbing out of the woodwork after the seance, all the featured furniture gets replaced with medieval torture devices. It makes the story a lot more fun and a lot funnier, while still giving a nice dose of the chills to readers.
Oh boy. I wanted to like this book. In fact, I was excited to read it. I made it about half way when I had to begin to force myself to continue reading.
I read Hendrix's other book, My Best Friend's Exorcism, a month ago or so ago and found that the issues I had with that book showed up in this book as well.
The characters are believable in the beginning and when shit hits the fan, all logical thinking goes out the window. Hardly any of the characters reactions, thoughts, or spoken words are realistic. It takes me completely out of the book when an adult acts and sounds like a disgruntled teenager.
The plot in this book was interesting until about half way and then it took a nosedive. The story grew to be quite boring and not only did I not care about the giant "mystery" anymore, I did not care about any of the characters. I stopped wanting to read it about 3/4 of the way through and by some miracle, pushed through only to be greeted by a lazy ending.
Hendrix seems to come up with interesting ideas but doesn't quite know what to do with them after a certain point.
Unfortunately, this will probably be the last book of his I read.
(Orsk is explicitly not IKEA. It is explicitly a "me-too" store whose business model is based on IKEA, right down to the absolutely-necessary-and-easily-lost tool.)
So dissatisfied employee Amy, very satisfied employee Ruth Anne, and their manager Basil agree, for their various reasons, to say in the store overnight and see what is going on. Even without the giveaway title, anyone with any plot savvy is thinking _This can't end well_.
And, of course, it doesn't. First mysterious graffiti appears in the employee women's room. then Matt - another partner who isn't supposed to be there but is, as is Trinity, because they want to be famous ghost hunters - says the store is built on the site of an old prison.
It's mostly a good read. I say "mostly" because it verges a little too close to torture-porn for my tastes a couple of times. It's also a very quick read; I got through its 243 pages in an afternoon.
The formatting of the book is clever. The whole thing, other than the text, is laid out like an Orsk catalog, with diagrams of various products preceding each chapter. Needless to say, after the scary stuff starts, the diagrams get weird too. So props to illustrator Michael Rogalski and designer Andie Reid - and, hey, to cover photographer Christine Ferrara, who sets the mood quite nicely.
Top reviews from other countries
It was square, which is quite unusual for a book
It looked like it was set in IKEA
It had pictures
I didn't actually buy the book until a year later, and then it took me another six months to get around to reading it.
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.
This book may be one of the strangest things that I have ever read. I am obsessed with IKEA. That makes me sound like a weirdo, let me re-phrase: as I get older, the more enjoyable the experience of IKEA becomes, so when reading a book about an alternate version of the furniture store, I was all here for it.
To start off, we are guided around the store of Orsk by one of the associates, a witty, sarcastic young woman. Throughout the beginning of the book, we learn that weird things have been happening in Orsk that no one can explain. The boss of the store asks three associates to do a night shift and find out what is going on - and it's waaaayy weirder than I expected! There's possession, ghosts, and things that I don't even think have a name yet. There were these weird beings that were like ghosts but weren't? I don't even know... The mind of Grady Hendrix must be a peculiar one.
“They said she could do anything she set her mind to, they told her she should shoot for the moon because if she missed she’d be among the stars, they made movies tricking her into thinking she could achieve heroic things. All lies. Because she was born to answer phones in call centers, to carry bags to customers’ cars, to punch a clock, to measure her life in smoke breaks.”
― Grady Hendrix, Horrorstör
Accompanying us along the journey through the maze of Orsk are pictures, documents, associate files, and (sarcastic) information about the products that describe how dangerous and gruesome they can be.
If there is one film that I would adapt to a movie, it would be this one. It has so much potential to be this amazing horror film with a slight dark humorous twist. I feel like it needs to happen and I bet that it would be a huge success!
The book was gripping, tense and scary. The weird thing about this book is that the storyline itself isn't that great. It's quite a flimsy plot but it's just so well written that you don't notice whilst reading. It was only on reflection that I realised that the plot was weak.
BUT THE ENDING?!! I MEAN, COME ON! WHERE IS THE SEQUEL? And if we don't get a sequel, can we at least get a novella? PLEASE?!
Overall, this was a really good book and I absolutely devoured it. It took me three hours to read it and I didn't move off of my sofa until I had finished it. I just couldn't put it down, it gripped me. I thoroughly recommend this book if you're looking for a strange horror read that is unique in its format and plot.
The book itself is so unique and interesting, set out like an Ikea catalogue, we follow our main character Amy who works for this worlds version of Ikea (Orsk). One night on a night shift Amy starts to notice weird happenings in the store, paranormal things. The book spans one night in a store which is haunted by ghosts.
This is a parody story, so while I was a little freaked out by some descriptions it wasn't exactly "scary" and that's coming from someone who scares easily. However, be warned there are vivid descriptions of gore.
The thing that really sells this for me though, is the layout. I think if this story had a completely different format and cover design, I would not have looked twice, let alone purchased.
Definitely, an interesting read, not one I would read again but I'm glad I gave it a go. Ikea will never be the same for me after this book!
The book starts well and moves fast, creating just the right amount of tension for the first hundred pages. The latter 150 pages are atrocious, literally the most inane, boring horror I have read. I picked this for our book club and feel embarrassed to have done so.
This is a book that could have been so much more if we were given a history of the actions taking place (a real history rather than the bullet point style we are given) rather than describing pieces of furniture. Characters are totally undeveloped, to the point that they are difficult to imagine (aside from the fact we know they are all wearing converse shoes!). The ending is awful, there is absolutely no reason why the events of the ending would ever happen. A little less attention to the presentation and a little more to the plot would have made all the difference.
Save yourself some money and avoid!
I am giving this four stars on the basis that, similar to the out of town flat pack furniture stores that we all love and hate, the concept and design is excellent (5 stars) but the quality of the content does not quite live up to the initial promise (3 stars).