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Stop Making Sense

I read anything that's nailed down, or even just moving slowly. Cereal boxes, candy wrappers, all genres, etc., and I don't always have much time for arbitrary distinctions like literary fiction vs. genre fiction.

When Retail Meets Lovecraft...

Horrorstor -  Grady Hendrix

If you're a fan of Then We Came to the End (by Joshua Ferriss) and, say, The Amityville Horror or The Fog, you're probably going to like this book.

Our story opens as protagonist Amy, a young store associate at Ikea stand-in Orsk, is slightly late to work and aiming to avoid her gung-ho Floor Manager, Basil. No such luck. As it happens, the ID scanner is down, creating a logjam of people trying to get into the building, and that's just the beginning of the weird things that happen over the next 12 hours.

Turns out that Corporate(TM) is coming in the morning, and Basil asks Amy and Ruth-Anne, a nice, hardworking older associate, to work an off-the-books overnight shift to uncover the culprit behind some shenanigans that have been happening in the wee hours. Our three heroes, along with 1) a couple of interloper employees hoping to capture ghosts on film, and 2) a seemingly homeless man who's been camping out in the store after hours, get caught up in a series of increasingly creepy and then outright horrifying events.

Disclosure: I'm not a big horror fan, but this one stayed on the right side of the line as far as I'm concerned. But the best reason to read this book, aside from the satisfying character development and excellent pacing, is the relentless skewering of companies like Ikea that aim to create not just a brand, but also a culture (see also: Apple, Starbucks, and Disney). Each chapter opens with a product page from the Orsk "catalog," highlighting one of their "shelving solutions" or dining tables that are actually gathering places for making memories, blah, blah, you get the idea. As the book continues, the products become, well, a little weird, which is tons of fun.

I'm not going to spoil the reveal or ending, but let's just say that Orsk should have picked a different place for their store. :-) I liked this one a bunch.