Horror fiction has always been a genre that has been subject to style and fashion trends, from the lumbering zombies, to the romantic vampire. However this is a first a horror novel that is in itself a fashion statement. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix is a truly unique book, those of you who are eagle eyed will have noticed the striking similarities between the cover of this book and a well known Swedish furniture companies catalogue. This is a stunning piece of marketing, whoever came up with this concept should really consider themselves a genius. However, it really doesn't matter if the design of the book is a stroke of genius if the actual content of the book doesn't measure up.
Horrorstor at heart is a haunted house story, but rather than setting the book in yiur typical suburban home, or haunted castle. Grady Hendrix has gone to the source of the horror for many of us suburbanites. The horror of the large chain store furniture retailer. Things are as they should be in Orsk, scratch beneath the surface of the happy and smiley veneer, a veneer almost as thin as the ones they put on their cheap furniture and you will find not only mysterious going on when the millions of lights go out, you also find that the happy smiles of the stores employees are as fake as the reproduction televisions they put in the living room section.
With Horrorstor Grady Hendrix has created not only a very successful take on the haunted house story, he has successfully grafted on a rather splendid look at lives and toils of those who work in retail. For me a lot of the horror and unease in this book comes not from the supernatural elements, but from the insights in those destined and driven to tow the company line. The almost maniacal way in which the deputy store manager Basil adheres to and lives by the company rule book is almost as chilling as the ghosts who haunt the store.
Witty and fully aware of the topes and history of the genre Horrorstor is a clever and fully aware of itself without ever becoming Self-reverential. From the opening paragraph, which pays homage to Dawn of The Dead, Horrorstor’s narrative is filled with wonderful nods to both classic film and books. There was a danger that these little nods could become distracting, but Hendrix grafts them skilfully into the narrative. It’s always hard to mix horror and comedy, but rather than going for the slapstick approach or the smug all-knowing approach of my most hated book John Dies at The End, Hendrix stays firmly on the path of biting satire.
Horror fiction has been screaming out for a coffee table book, and in many ways this book reminds me of Krammer form Seinfeld’s Coffee table book of coffee tables, a unique and completely successful novel that is not only a great read, it has some nice design ideas for your home, that is if you don’t mind facing the horror of shopping at Orsk.
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.
THE HEART AND SOUL OF HORROR REVIEWS