I love reading horror novels. I also love Ikea. So you can imagine my excitement when I happened to see this book, which seemingly looked like an IKEA manual, catch my eye. What’s an IKEA manual doing in the horror section of Waterstones? Turns out Horrorstor is a haunted story set in a furniture store (styled just like IKEA!)
Even the feel of the book gave me similair feelings I used to have when I would have the IKEA manual in my hands. Nostalgia. Once you flip over the cover, you see the floor plan of the store and categories of furniture, divided room wise, just like IKEA. You have Living Room, Home Office, Kitchen, Bedrooms and so on. The fictional store in Horrorstor is called Orsk, and the setting is in Cleveland, Ohio.
Right bang on the first page, the author makes his intention very clear: Horrostor is a work of fiction, horror and parado, and the store and all the furniture mentioned are all made up. Nothing represents IKEA.
So what’s the story about?
The employees of Orsk come into work one day and see that a lot of the furniture is damaged, thrown about and messed around with. This is happening too frequently, so the store manager Basil decides to have two employees, Amy and Ruth Anne, work an overnight shift, from dusk till dawn, to really see what’s been happening after hours. While on a routine round that evening, Amy discovers there are two more people, Trinity and Matt, in the store who had sneaked in, hoping to record the supernatural events happening inside the store. Funnily enough, they also discover Carl, a homeless man who had made his home inside the store without anyone finding out.
Trinity and Matt convinces the two employees (while store manager is outside with the police) to hold a seance. Consequently, they summon a ghost Warden, who possesses the homeless guy Carl. Carl is killed by Warden and his body is missing. The store manager returns and is natually shocked and horrified, and they start to look for the missing body. In the process, they discover a door which opens up to an abandoned asylum.
For me to even go on with what happens next would spoil the entire experience. Who is Warden? Where is Carl? What is the asylum all about? What’s really going on?
Like the author said in the beginning, this book is a parody, horror and comedy. There were moments when I felt like I was in the same world as Netflix’s Stranger Things. The thing with such a book is it’s not meant to be taken seriously. So while there is some character development, it is more about just letting yourself go on this fun ride of being haunted inside an IKEA-style furniture store. There will be cliched moments, and predictable outcomes, but that’s not the point.
The fun is really in the creativity in the mind of the author Grady Hendrix. Each of the chapter starts off with a picture representation of a furniture, which has a Swedish styled name. For the more eagle-eyed readers, they will see how with each subsequent chapters, the furniture become more creepy and sinister, in a way foreshadowing the horror that’s about to come up ahead.
Much like an IKEA furniture, there is fun in exploring the novel, but you don’t really come out remembering much about the people as much as you remember the furniture. Full marks to the author for sharing his creativity in this book! With short chapters, this is a fairly easy book to get through in a day or two. You don’t really have to put your mind around the setting, the plot or the people. Like I said earlier, you just go along with wherever the writer is taking you!
Fun, silly and a perfect book to read through the night. The only thing missing for me was the IKEA style breakfast!