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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

You'll Never Look at Ikea the Same Again

Horrorstor -  Grady Hendrix

Orsk, a different kind of store, and a different kind of horror story, well not really, but sort of anyway. More book as object here. Horrorstor (no I'm not going to try to figure out how to make that an umlaut), disguised as an ersatz Ikea catalog; Orsk is the Cleveland suburban downscale Ikea, the Walmart of Ikeas if you will. And about as un-spooky of a setting as you can conceive.

 

But the place is subject to break-ins and after-hours vandalism so a small group of Ikea, er, I mean, Orsk employees stay late to figure out what is going on and how these vandals get in. Eventually they do find Carl a homeless man wandering around who hides in the store after hours, but we pretty much guess that he's not the problem, see this big box store is planted right on top of where a 19th century prison/asylum used to be.

 

Hendrix wants to show that you can set a haunted house story anywhere. Otherwise, there is nothing terribly new here as well as plot is concerned, we meet and establish characters and relationships and then send rationality out the window with a lot of suspense as well. The cleverness is in the package which seems so neat and tidy, a catalog for heaven's sake, that it dares the author to set it somehow sufficiently akilter and Hendrix does a good job. It didn't grab me for the first 100 pages; it was all so clean and neat, like an Orsk store, but once the roller coaster comes off the rails the ride is as scary as any Stephen King novel. I think Hendrix "designed" it that way.

 

But Hendrix doesn't just tip the floor on us, she wants to say something a little more profound about the lot of contemporary minimum wage retail workers and the big box companies they work for. Saying much more is going to ruin it, so let's leave it there.

 

A good book and an interesting concept. It will look good sitting on your coffee table until the stuffy guests figure out what it is.

 

I dare anyone to try to write a knock-off.