“Horrorstör” (2014) by Grady Hendrix

Novel, published by Quirk Books, September 2014, paperback edition, 243 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59474-526-3.
Horrostör | Prose & Paper

What I love most about my book club is the variety of books we read: Essays and autobiographies as well as literary fiction. We read funny books, we read contemporary books, we read books that make us wonder, but this one was a first: a horror story – but sort of funny.

To be perfectly honest, I stay away from horror books as far as humanly possible. I’m just too scared really. The images my mind produces when reading a horror story are far worse than anything I could watch as a movie or series (I love The Haunting of Bly Manor and The Haunting of Hill House). This one was quite unique though.

When I say unique, I mean unique. It’s unlike any other book I’ve ever read or seen. Let me talk about the story itself first though: At the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio, strange things keep happening. In the mornings, employees find broken furniture, but they cannot figure out what happens at night as the security cameras don’t reveal anything. To find out what’s going on, three employees work a night shift, patrol the showroom floor and investigate.

The story’s main character is Amy Porter, who had transferred from the Youngstown store fifty miles away, and does not get along with her boss, Basil Washington. After she had dropped out of college, she now desires a desk job instead of her retail job. She is sarcastic and not totally likeable. The first, I want to say, third of the book is the funny part.

It was dawn, and the zombies were stumbling through the parking lot, streaming toward the massive beige box at the far end.

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Turns out, these zombies are simply customers who walk towards the store like zombies. With this first sentence, we’re asking ourselves if it’s more of a metaphorical horror story than an actual one. But do not be disappointed: What starts with a funny, yet somewhat hurtful comparison, turns into a dark horror story real quick. I personally had lots of ✨ wtf ✨ moments while reading it. While some aspects of the story remain unresolved and the book ends with a massive cliffhanger, I understand why it was named one of the best books of 2014 by National Public Radio.

What makes this book so unique is its brilliant design. It looks remarkably like an IKEA catalogue, even has a comparable size, look and feel. The resemblance continues on the inside of the book, from the fonts to the illustrations and the colors. The details are unmatched. Horrorstör is entertaining, chilling, and might make you want to stay away from any big stores for a while. Absolutely can recommend reading it.