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Amy had to drop out of college because of financing and now she’s stuck working at Orsk, America’s answer to Ikea. She doesn’t fit in with the company culture and she’s only doing the minimum to get by. When Basil, her manager, asks her and Ruth Anne, a cashier, to work an overnight shift because of some disturbances that have been happening overnight, Amy says yes because she needs the extra money to pay her rent.
While Amy and Ruth Anne are doing their rounds of the store, they stumble on Matt and Trinity, two other employees who are convinced that the store is haunted. Trinity wants to film her own ghost hunter show and get her ticket out of Ohio. They’ve researched the site and found that it was built on the grounds of an old prison, where the warden believed, much like Orsk, that hard work is the cure for all ills. The night takes a terrifying turn from there and the question changes from “What’s going on?” to “Who will make it out?”
This is my third Grady Hendrix novel this year and with every single one of them, I think the premise sounds like fun and then I’m surprised by how dark the book gets. You would think I’d learn, wouldn’t you? The books do start off amusingly enough but the dread and the creep factor slowly ratchet up until I’m practically sitting on the edge of my seat, frantically flipping pages to see what happens. Horrorstör, the earliest of the books I’ve read, followed this pattern as well.
The book itself is a lot of fun, so if you decide to read it, make sure you get a physical copy instead of downloading it to your Kindle. It looks like an Ikea catalog, complete with an order form at the front, coupons at the back, and product spotlights at the beginning of each chapter. Some of the product names made me laugh, such as the “Balsak cradle.” At the beginning of the book, the product spotlights are innocuous, like the Liripip wardrobe, that clears the room and clears away your worries. As the story progresses and gets scarier, the products get darker to mirror the plot.
As with both of the other books I’ve read by this author, there’s a surprisingly serious takeaway. In this one, Amy starts to realize that she’s using her setbacks as an excuse to just walk away from everything and never even try to make her life better. She learns about loyalty and found family. She also learns that you can never judge someone until you’ve walked in their shoes.
I highly recommend this for horror readers. Don’t expect it to be as funny as it sounds and looks because it really does get scary. For a surprisingly meaningful take on a “haunted house” book, give this a try. I really enjoyed it!
If you liked Horrorstör, you might also like my reviews of
- Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
- Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics, read by Jorjeana Marie
- He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson, edited by Christopher R. Conlon
Buy Horrorstör from Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC.
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site.