Sunday, August 10, 2014


Just the other day, I wandered down to the mailbox and found a book mailer in among various bills, circulars, and junk envelopes.  "Hmm....," I thought. "I wonder what this could be?"

I ran upstairs, tore open the envelope, and there, cradled within a cocoon of bubblewrap was an advance copy of 'Horrorstör', the new novel by Grady Hendrix.  What makes this book so enticing is the fact that it looks almost exactly like an IKEA catalog.  I kid you not.  Each section has a drawing of a particular piece of furniture, and each piece gets stranger and stranger.

I had to delve into it....immediately.

'Horrorstör' is a horror novel (can I hear a 'Duh'?) set in an IKEA-like furniture store.  It's a simply told tale that grew weirder and darker the further I read.  

And I liked it.  Sure, the format is rather...unique, but that doesn't take away from the compelling story.  The catalog format actually enhances the 'experience'.  

Strange things are happening at the well-calibrated, precision-engineered Orsk furniture store in Cleveland, Ohio.  When managers arrive every morning, they find broken bookshelves, shattered glass, and smashed wardrobes.  It's clear that someone is in the store at night, and three young employees volunteer to work a ten-hour dusk-to-dawn shift in order to find the intruder. Under the the guidance of their store manager, Basil, the team patrols the empty showroom floors...and finds something, or someone, so horrible that it defies the imagination.

The story seems simple, at first.  There's Amy, an almost-slacker, who is only working there in order to make her rent.  Then there's Matt and Trinity, two employees who are bound-and-determined to create a ghost hunter show for the Bravo network.  And Ruth Anne, the employee who has been there forever and always has a kind word for everyone, is a bit reluctant to join in the search.  Finally, there's Basil, the leader, the manager, who is the company cheerleader and the one who feels the most responsibility.  

I loved them all.  Some are quirky, some surprised me.  But watching each character rise to the occasion made the hunt even more interesting and intense.

Author Grady Hendrix
'Horrorstör' is a quick read, and I wished it had been longer.  I'm hoping that author Hendrix will treat us to a sequel.

After I reached the end, I couldn't be left hanging.

But the weirdest thing was this:  Within that bundle of mail, I found an IKEA catalog.

If that wasn't an 'OOO-EEE-OOO' moment, I don't know what is.

'Horrorstör' by Grady Hendrix (co-founder of the NY Asian Film Festival), and published by Quirk Books, is due out in September 2014.  You'll find it at your favorite independent bookstore and local library.  Book Hog wishes to thank the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book


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