What sold me first on this book is its design. It’s made to look like an IKEA catalog (in fact, when my husband saw this book come in the mail, he said he almost threw it in the garbage because he thought it was a catalog). I purposefully bought the paperback because of the design. Inside are illustrations of fictional pieces of furniture, company mottos, even an order form. A+
The story was enjoyable, if a little strange.
Amy is working at the furniture giant ORSK (who is said to be a ripoff of IKEA, so they exist in the same universe), and she’s fed up with the corporate bullshit that’s hoisted upon her and her co-workers all the time. They smile and regurgitate it to the new recruits, to the customers, to their bosses, and ultimately to themselves. It’s exhausting, but she needs the job. We’ve all been there. Her rent is overdue, and she can’t go back home without forking over what she owes, or she’s out of her apartment. So she takes an overnight shift to investigate some strange goings on. Some pieces of furniture have been damaged overnight (including maybe being pooped on), so she, her boss, and her co-worker are on the under-the-table team. They’ll all get paid in cash overtime, so Amy can go home afterward and pay her debt.
Without giving anything away, their investigation turns paranormal — even horrific — and by the end of the shift, they’re fighting for their lives.
The story is handled in a lighthearted, but graphic way, just what you’d want in a horror story. It bordered on the absurd more than once, making me wonder if this story was really for me. But I suspended my disbelief and just went with it, and I’m glad I did. While the meat of the story was far-fetched, the aftermath rang true. You don’t just go through something like that unscathed and not wanting answers. Ghosts don’t die, after all.
I’m always up for a good story about someone who’s fed up with work. I’ve worked in many different places, retail being one of them. It’s hard to be enthusiastic when you’re berated on every side. Boss, customers, your co-workers (why aren’t you smiling more? Why didn’t you up-sell that customer? Can I speak to your manager? Can you take my shift on Saturday?) everyone’s yelling at you, and you’ve got to do it all with a grateful attitude because guess what? You’re replaceable. It’s a shit way to live your life. (Let’s not kid ourselves: working in an office isn’t any better, you just don’t have to pick everything off the floor for “recovery” at the end of the night.)
I love the way Grady Hendrix takes a theme and creates a novel around it. The other one of his I read was My Best Friend’s Exorcism, which took the 80s and Satanic Panic and ran with them. I liked that novel better than this one, but not everything’s for everyone. Horrorstör was well written, and I recommend it. If you’re squeamish about gore, maybe skip this one.
Dark Museum is now available on Amazon