I know that the store in the book Horrorstör, by Grady Hendrix is not Ikea, but it’s pretty damn close enough to it, to make me never want to shop there at night! First, I would like to say that I am a scaredy cat. A big fat, yellow-bellied, scaredy cat. I don’t watch scary movies, because I know I am a wuss. I scare easily. I don’t like things that go bump in the night, or zombies, or crazed killers, or psychotic man dolls kidnapping people. I get freaked out and will have nightmares and it will haunt me for days. I know that it’s not real, but somehow I am not desensitized enough to just get over it. I still check the garage doggy door just in case someone is trapped, from when I watched the movie “Scream” and that was 1996. I don’t watch “The Walking Dead”, because I know I can’t handle it. I know my limits and they don’t stretch far from the realm of Disney. Haha. Yet and still, for the Read Harder Challenge I read this for my “indie press release” challenge and it was really good (btw, Quirk Books, the publisher of Horrorstör, have some great books, so please click their name and check them out and support an indie publisher!). I did have weird dreams when I started reading it at night and I had to switch to reading it during the day (Same thing happened when I read Pride and Predjudice and Zombies), but I did enjoy it. I even found this book trailer on the Youtubes! Yeah, BOOK TRAILER! So cool! So, take a peek and then continue on to my review! P.S. There are NO SPOILERS,as I know at least 2 people reading it (per my recommendation/gifting, you guys are welcome) and don’t want to ruin it for them or anyone, for that matter.
So, I know the trailer was kinda cheesy, but you get the idea. Grady Hendrix did an amazing job of not taking himself or this horror book too seriously. The narrator of the video is the main character, Amy, who has worked at Orsk for about 3 years, and is ready to transfer back to her old store, since she’s broke and feels like the manager,Basil, has it out to get her. Amy’s character is relatable, although sometimes the “poor her” details are piled on to force me to feel sympathy and it takes away from the natural empathy that I was already feeling for her. She’s just an average 20 something girl who works in retail and just can’t quite get her sh*t together. She lives paycheck to paycheck (who doesn’t?), lives with 3 roommates and is just barely scrapping by without any real long-term goals, other than to survive and not go back to her mother’s trailer park( part of that forced sympathy). Amy gets involved with the haunted house goods, when her manager asks her and another employee, Ruth Anne to do an overnight surveillance mission as there has been vandalism in the store lately. The overnight shift promises Amy $200 cash at the end of the night, which will pay part of her overdue rent and the the approval of her pending store transfer. Adding urgency to it all,corporate is coming the next morning for a walk-through and Basil, Amy and Ruth Anne have to patrol the store and make sure there isn’t another pile of poop found on the Brooka couch, again.
The book is designed as if it were an Orsk catalog complete with order form (seen here). I like the thought and creativity that went into just the look and design of the book. It is a great coffee table book and an even better conversation starter. Each chapter is named for an Orsk product that is essential in that chapter. Somewhere on this page you’ll see a picture of that too. Fun fact about the first page of each chapter, is that the description of the item gets more and more creepy as the book goes on. There was a lot of thought put into this book. There are coupons, and a store map and everything is so well integrated that you really feel like you could go to this store. Although Orsk is not Ikea, the book describes it as a knockoff American version of Ikea at below Ikea prices. The layout (per the store map provided) completely mirrors an Ikea, complete with cafe, escalator to get started, confusing walkways that lead nowhere and the cashier/ checkout are being located on the bottom floor after you are forced to wind through the home goods/ knick knacks area that always seems to take my money (how was I living without a potato ricer before? I dunno, but thanks to Ikea it was 6 bucks and now my life is complete).
My favorite character is Ruth Anne. she is a middle-aged woman who has been working at Orsk for over 10 years, and she’s someone I could relate to, as she is a wuss, like me. I have worked in retail for about 12 years now and there is a Ruth Anne at every store I’ve worked at. Ruth Anne is the woman or man who, when people say that ______ is not just a company, but a family, they take it to heart. Ruth Anne’s second home and family is Orsk. She’s sweet, polite, social, always willing to help, a wealth of knowledge and has planned out her days at Orsk until she retires. She hasn’t been promoted, yet no one knows why, because she’s the hardest worker there. I like the demure outside that Ruth Anne exudes, as it makes people underestimate her but as the novel goes on you will see she is a firecracker that has lived a full life and she has lots of sass that no one saw coming. People often write off the Ruth Anne’s of the retail world or pity them, but her life is more fulfilled than anyone can imagine. Ruth Anne has a fear of ” creepy crawlies” that I can’t even hate on. She agrees to do the overnight as part of her duty and love of Orsk and because she’s a bit of a push over ( like me). When the going gets tough, the tough get Ruth Anne as she’s the most resourceful and kind person there is and she’s so much more than just a cat lady.
As I stated before I will not give any spoilers, but I wil l tell you this: there really are ghosts. Although this book as wit and snark for days, this isn’t like a “Scooby Doo” episode where the gang make an elaborate trap and then unmask the angry farmer or greedy relative trying to scare away visitors to give them time to find the hidden money or secret formula or will or jewels or what have you. Orsk has ghosts and it’s scary and gets gory at times. It’s not like “Saw” gory, but it found myself cringing at parts. If you like scary books, with good writing, relatable characters, sarcasm, charm, ghosts, wit, Ikea, knockoff Ikea chain stores, secrets and an ending that is complete, yet could easily be made into a sequel, then read this book!! Also, I know I’ve said it a few times, but I do adore this book design. I have some more pictures from the book below, but I do recommend getting the actual physical book, as an eBook would not do it justice.
Have you read this book? Would you like to? Are you reading it now? Wanna ask me more questions about this book? If any of these apply or if you just wanna talk about the post, leave me a comment below!!!