Book Review: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

First off, I can’t say how ready I am for a three-day weekend. Couldn’t come at a better time …

horrorstorNow, for those who know nothing about Horrorstor, it’s a modern ghost / haunted house type horror novel set in — of all places — an Ikea-like chain store. It’s a clever idea, and Hendrix adds to the ploy by including advertisements for furniture at the beginning of each chapter … which slowly turn into torture devices rather than closets or tables. There’s a lot to like here, and when the horror finally ramps up, the novel flies by.

I have to admit, however, that I struggled through the first half of the story. The idea bordered on gimmicky, and so much time was spent on the sheer monstrosity of these Ikea-type chains that it began to be overkill. Don’t ever go furniture shopping with Grady, folks. I doubt it would be a pleasant experience. I also felt the way into the story was far too convoluted, going from break-ins at the store to possible vagrants living there to employee ghost hunters to conducting a seance. Really? I would have been far happier accepting that these “hauntings” just occurred without needing the false starts and stops to get into the action.

What the story lacks in setup is made up for by some truly horrific scenes. This is old-school horror, with each chapter pulling to top the last, and Hendrix created some terrific and highly memorable moments.

The second half more than made up for the slow start. I give this a strong recommendation, just for the sheer fun and originality of the way the novel was put together. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite characterizations from the novel:

“They said she could do anything she set her mind to, they told her she should shoot for the moon because if she missed she’d be among the stars, they made movies tricking her into thinking she could achieve heroic things. All lies. Because she was born to answer phones in call centers, to carry bags to customers’ cars, to punch a clock, to measure her life in smoke breaks.”

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