Horrorstör, by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstor Grady HendrixHorrorstör
by Grady Hendrix
Pub Date: September 23, 2014

The first think I heard about this book was that it was formatted to look like an IKEA catalog. And it was about an IKEA-like store, called Orsk, that is. I’ve worked retail, though not at IKEA or any furniture store, and this sounded so ridiculous and weird I knew I would get a kick out of it.

Orsk, a popular low-price faux-European furniture superstore, has been experiencing some unnerving activity. Every morning the staff arrives to find merchandise broken or damaged, and the security cameras aren’t catching anything. The store manager is at his wits end, and “volun-tells” some of his employees that they will work the store overnight to figure out who or what is in the store and put a stop to it before any of the corporate higher-ups find out. So already this is a relateable story for anyone who’s worked retail and had to deal with a lot of things that should be above their pay grade.

So the Orsk employees embark on what they hope is a mostly quiet evening where they nab a shoplifter and can consider the case closed. Two of them intend to film a segment for a ghost hunters show. And naturally everyone is over their heads as other residents of the store make their presence known.

While this is definitely a ghost story, there’s enough humor in it you won’t feel like you can’t read this late at night (at least, that’s how I felt about it). You might end on a cliffhanger, but then there’s another catalog spread for Orsk – but they do get increasingly dark as you progress through the story. It’s gimmicky for sure, but that’s what makes this book fun. It pokes fun at familiar horror film tropes, and you do walk the line of “is it humor or is it horror?” the whole way through. Mostly you read this book for the experience of it, and not for a real scare. It moves at a fast clip with short chapters, so it would make a good read while you wait for the trick-or-treaters.

(The author’s next book is My Best Friend’s Exorcism out in May and will be formatted to look like a high school yearbook. That should be fun!)



Asylum by Madeleine Roux

by Madeleine Roux
Pub. Date August 20, 2013

Understand before reading this review, I am biased against this style of book. I do not like scary books, horror novels, or thrillers. I read this book because all my teen reading club voted to read this book. Every one of the teens that read this book came back to tell me how much they liked it. Several have requested for me to buy the next two books in the trilogy. So, while I was not fond of this book, the rest of the group enjoyed it.

In Asylum, Dan is a teenager spending a month of his summer vacation on a college campus to take college-level classes. At first Dan is not excited—he has a weird roommate, has a hard time making friends, and is staying in a creepy converted asylum. Luckily, at the first night’s party Dan meets Abby and Jordan, and the trio becomes instant friends. As a bonding experience, the three decide to explore the restricted rooms of the asylum where they are staying. Inside these rooms, they discover creepy photos, equipment for torture, and patients’ files. Dan, Abby, and Jordan leave the room, but part of the room goes with them.

The story is written with a higher interest level, and a lower reading level. There is not a lot of character development, and the friendship between the three main characters seems forced. I found Dan’s comments about his “new best friends” impulsive and premature. I did appreciate the historical aspect of the story, as well as the clues the author hides throughout the story that aren’t discovered until the end of the book, with a couple clues that lead into the next book in the trilogy.

As far as other aspects, the story only has a little romance with one short kissing scene. There are swear words, and some disturbing images and photos of some of the tortures the patients in the asylum went through. One of the key characters in the story is homosexual, but this is more of a side note than a focus of the story.

Overall, it was a creepy story that was written without a lot of gore or sexual connotation. I would highly recommend it to people with a lower reading level because there is a lot of action, the photos keep a person reading, and it doesn’t have a lot of details or characters to keep track of. I would also recommend it to someone who wants to read a scary book without the sex and violence that seems to be in a lot of other scary stories.