Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Publication Date: 23 September 2014
Format: eBook, 240 pgs
"A Better Life for the Everyone" - That's the slogan for Orsk; an all-American furniture superstore in Scandinavia drag, offering well-designed lifestyles which is below prices of a certain Swedish furniture superstore (you know which one), or so it claims. Orsk's well-calibrated system, their wide range of products and well-oriented customer services are the draw, but for whatever reasons the store is falling short of corporate sales expectations, and it's not even the lack of customers that does it.
Amy, an employee in Orsk, has requested for a transfer to another outlet in Youngstown. She used to work there but she couldn't stand Basil, the newly appointed manager who always seems to stand in her way and use any excuses for a reprimanding. She had had enough and was waiting for that transfer documentation to go through until something weird happened at Orsk. Damaged merchandises are found when they open their store in the morning, though the staff who work on the last shift has claimed all merchandises are in good order before they leave the store. Basil proposed a plan to Amy and Ruth Anne, another employee of Orsk, to work extra shift at night so they could catch the culprit. However, they are not to utter this plan to anyone, as Basil stated this to be a covert operation. However, it isn't robbery or vandalism they have to deal with but a pack of creepy crawlies with their leader who claims is a warden before Orsk exists.
Horrorstör has all the elements of a horror story; a spooky setting (never mind it's not a haunted house) of an enclosed superstore with no convenient exits nearby (claustrophobia is another creepy factor here) in the middle of the night, and of course those paranormal activities that make you bite your nails. The furniture maze indeed provides a great atmospheric setting, as one never knows what is lurking behind those closets. Characterisations wise is average, for there isn't anyone I felt stands out; perhaps Amy if I have to choose one, since the frightful incident has changed her overall perspective in her work and life in general.
That said, this interesting setting is not the core highlight; the story layout is another thing that I feel would catch any readers' attention as each chapter begins with an illustration of a furniture product with a faux Scandinavian name which so reminds me of a catalogue; and as the story progresses these products become more sinister and dangerous looking. I have to say my reading experience with Horrorstör is quite a refreshing one; and I can imagine reading from a print copy doubles that feeling (mine is an eBook version). And I suppose I'd always think of this book whenever I make a trip to that certain Swedish furniture store.