BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Horrorstor’ by Grady Hendrix

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Conceptually brilliant, this thriller incorporates hilarious satire built around the Ikea retail concept, albeit with a zombie infestation.

The Ikea knockoff store is Orsk, with the same homey endless store layout and silly product names, and our heroine is Amy, a low-level employee who is trying to transfer back from the Cuyahoga, OH store to the one in Youngstown, but must suck up to her manager to get the transfer.

He’s a by-the-rules guy who’s very worried about odd occurrences throughout the store overnight and enlists Amy and another employee to stay after closing time to figure out what’s going on. Many, many scary things manifest themselves, and Amy, her manager Basil, and her co-workers discover the source: the Orsk store has been built on the grounds of an old prison/workhouse called the Beehive, run by an unsavory and cruel overseer.

Yup, it’s coming from inside the phony rooms of the phony house. The two disparate elements do mash together in a satisfying way, but the highlight is the Ikea parody — the book looks just like a catalogue, and the evolution of the benevolent chintzy assemble-it-yourself particle board crap into implements of torture and punishment is eerily perfect.

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