Author: Grady Hendrix
From the back: Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Bracken glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofabeds-clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-til-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 21st century economy. A traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting (and full of contemporary fears), Horrorstor comes conveniently packaged in the form of a retail catalogue, complete with illustrations of ready-to-assemble furniture and other, more sinister accessories.
The gist: I have just moved house. With less built in storage and more space, this has involved a decent helping of flat pack furniture FUN; wardrobe, bookshelf, table and chairs – bulky items with instructions written in hieroglyphs and I totally didn’t realise how much it makes your hands hurt using a screwdriver for a solid weekend.
So, when I picked up Hendrix’s Horrorstör from the local library (in e-book form would you believe it), I felt a certain sort of empathy for the setting and characters in this horror story based in a fictionalised Ikea. (The saving grace of my flat pack experience was that I got it delivered, so I didn’t lose hours trying to navigate the grounds of a furniture superstore.)
And Horrorstör is a neat, clever read. It jabs at consumerism and gives a taste of (fairly gory) horror along with a dash of humour – any horror book that mentions that things might be getting a bit ‘Scooby Doo’ is fine in my book. But what I think is really great about the book is the format. There’s flyers and illustrations of flat pack furniture instructions, each becoming darker and more ‘evil’ as the book progresses. The packaging almost emulates the feeling of a furniture catalogue. And I only had the e-book version so would love to have seen this in the real-life-wood-pulp-flesh.
It’s not a horror that got me deep in the bones, but it’s a chilling, entertaining romp through a furniture superstore filled with fiendishly evil ghouls – and that, as it turns out, is the perfect antidote to a weekend of translating flat pack furniture instructions.
Favourite line: “Thirteen and angry is a long way back in your rearview mirror.”
Read if: You appreciate the pure horrors of flat pack furniture.
Read with: A handful of Allen keys and some cryptic instructions.
Get it: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix