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!)