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  • Chloe Gardener

Book Review: Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör!

By Chloe Gardener

Molten grey skies rumble, threatening pedestrians with a nasty, oncoming storm.

However, like a moth to a flame, contrasting from the dull skies stands a familiar blue and yellow building with the comforting scents of homemade Swedish meatballs and the allure of grabbing some bits and bobs for the house.

That’s right.

This is a book loosely (and I say loosely because the author, Grady Hendrix, probably wanted to avoid a lawsuit with the Swedish, flat-pack furniture tycoon) based on the concept of a haunted IKEA.

I think as a child, one of my worst fears was getting stuck in the seemingly endless interior of an IKEA store. Even as an adult, it just seems so… vast. It’s like walking into another dimension, completely separate from our normal world just outside the automatic exit doors.

I think Hendrix had the same idea, because in 2014, he unleashed “Horrorstör” into the world – a horror/comedy novel, which looks suspiciously looks like an IKEA catalogue. Thanks to the illustrative work of Michael Rogalski.

ORSK, an IKEA-esque store is plagued by paranormal happenings once the shutters go down for the night. Five employees find themselves trying not only to unravel the truth of this strange phenomena, in jeopardy of losing their jobs if they don’t. On top of that, they also have to fight tooth and nail to survive the night.

This book is a bookshelf must-have. Not only for it’s quirky design, but the comedic elements are immensely relatable as a young person trying to just get through the day. It looks at the retail industry – which is many of our first jobs as young people, with absolute animosity.

Despite its comfy and friendly appearance to the customers, ORSK is just like any other job; clique-y colleagues, managers who make it their business to make sure that everyone is having a bad time, customers who treat you little better than dirt and the soul-draining fluorescent lighting.

I have to admit, BBC’s TV series “What We Do In The Shadows” is right, it feels like there’s an energy-draining vampire at every job.

Hendrix captures the daily grind working in detail perfectly… except for the paranormal parts of course.

Without giving the game away, I will say that I was genuinely surprised at how far the horror went. Here I was expecting a fun time with a few scares but nope. It felt like I’d walked into a slasher movie. You really feel the characters are really struggling against this all-powerful entity. While I wasn’t scared, I was certainly shocked.

The only problem I really have with this book is that it felt like the ending was a bit rushed. As if the author looked midway through the horror stuff and scrambled to bring the story to a close from a fast-approaching deadline.

I do like that although the characters that did make it through the night were deeply affected and traumatised, ORSK, the corporation itself was able to just move forward with little to no hassle. Aside from insurance claims, they landed on their feet.

I felt this was a realistic ending, but a part of me wanted to see the characters get real justice.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who can take a few scares and wants to read about a haunted IKEA. It’s a fun concept that overall is executed well.

If this gets adapted into a Netflix movie or onto the big screen in a couple of years’ time, I can’t say I’d be surprised. When you’re reading it, it feels as if you should be watching the events unfold on a screen, rather than reading it. As a fan of horror/comedy films such as “Ready or Not” or “Little Monsters”, this felt like a treat.

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