There’s something not quite right at Orsk. The Cuyahoga store has been open less than a year; sales are down and employees opening the store each morning keep finding broken furniture. And there’s an odd smell about the place and a “substance” on a Brooka sofa. Tomorrow a Consultant Team is being sent to investigate so store manager Basil only has one night to solve the problem. He chooses a select (read: whoever’s available) team to stay in the store overnight and take down the culprits. Meanwhile, two other employees have broken in to film some paranormal activity. But ghosts aren’t real, are they?

Horrorstör was much creepier than I was expecting! The first sentence introduces the zombies walking into the store…but this is not a zombie story. Those are just the staff. Don’t expect to jump straight into the action, there’s a long, tongue-in-cheek build up, describing the store, its products and the daily toil of its employees.

Customers entered Orsk through a towering two-story glass atrium and ascended an escalator to the second floor, where they began a walk of the labyrinthine Showroom floor designed to expose them to the Orsk lifestyle in the optimal manner, as determined by an army of interior designers, architects, and retail consultants.

We are so used to horror stories taking place in old mansions, abandoned warehouses and other old and falling apart locations. It’s such a contrast to set it in a bright and spacious, modern setting. We all know what an Ikea looks like, and it doesn’t take much to make that familiar setting become eerie. Imagine it empty. Imagine it dark. Imagine the fake doorways aren’t really fake… And there’s something moving behind them.

I imagine Amy’s mentality is that of many retail workers. Yes, some like Ruth Anne, take pride in their jobs but for others it’s just a way to pay the rent and put dinner on the table. It pokes fun at consumerism but also looks at how people become trapped by their own minds. Yet it’s amusing and scary at the same time. It’s an awful lot to achieve in one book, especially such a short and snappy one.

For some crazy reason we visited Ikea the weekend after I finished this. In some ways it is so right, if you walk off the Bright and Shining Path, then you get turned around, go round in circles and end up walking twice as far as you would have done if you didn’t take the short-cut.

I’m always impressed with the production at Quirk Books. The paperback really does look like an Ikea catalogue. I was so tempted to go and leave it in amongst the catalogues in store! Each chapter has a product page, similar to those on the Ikea instructions, with an inspirational marketing blurb. But look closely as you read through the book as these items of furniture aren’t always what they seem.

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Also reviewed @ guiltless reading | Wordsmithonia

Book Source: Purchased