Hi all, happy Friday. I have to regroup on the Five on Friday, so please pardon this short hiatus while I line up some more fun authors. In the meantime, my review of the creative and fun Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix first appeared this week as a starred review in Shelf Awareness for Readers. It's appearing here today with their permission.
First line: "It was dawn, and the zombies were stumbling through the parking lot, streaming toward the massive beige box at the far end."
It’s something out of a whacky dream, jolting the sleeper awake with a racing heart and sweaty palms—being trapped in a mammoth furniture retail store after closing when all the lights go out. Not being able to find your way in the maze of home furnishings and storage solutions. And then creepy things start happening…
In Horrorstör, Grady Hendrix’s debut novel, the nightmare happens in the Cleveland, Ohio, Orsk furniture super-store. A building that has the unfortunate location of the old Cuyahoga Panopticon.
Each morning the employees come in to find bizarre damage not present when they left the night before. The employee entrance is broken, the escalator runs the wrong direction and employees receive text messages from an unknown caller, simply reading, “help.”
Basil, the deputy store manager, is determined to solve the mystery of the nightly vandalism. He’s recruited Amy and Ruth Anne to work an overnight shift with him, making regular rounds of the store in hopes of nabbing the culprit before he—or she—can strike again.
Hendrix’s parody offers social commentary on retail structure in a satirically humorous tone. Horrorstör is bound like a catalog: each chapter is a piece of creatively named furniture accompanied by an image of the flat-pack item, and the book includes a map of the store with directions on how to visit Orsk’s labyrinthine showroom.
In the vein of a classic Scooby Doo ghost story but set inside a modern retail environment, Hendrix brings nightmares to life with wildly fun and outrageously inventive style.
Horrorstör is available in paperback (ISBN: 9781594745263) from Quirk Books. There is an unabridged audio version (ISBN: 9781483049809), narrated by Tai Sammons and Bronson Pinchot, from Blackstone Audio. But I honestly have to advocate for the print version in this case because the packaging of the book is so much fun and that can't be recreated in an audio. If you want to listen, get the print book and follow along!