Tuesday, September 30, 2014

QUIRK BOOKS BLOG TOUR: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Title: Horrorstor
Author: Grady Hendrix
Genre: Adult Horror/Thriller
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: Sept 23/2014
Adquired: Print copy provided by Publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk’s labyrinthine showroom. It’s “a treat for fans of The Evil Dead or Zombieland, complete with affordable solutions for better living.”—Kirkus Reviews.


I don't read horror fiction, let's just throw that fact out into the universe first and foremost. But when I was propositioned with the synopsis of Horrorstor, I felt a calling in the deep recesses of my bones that I couldn't ignore, possible nightmares be damned. Now, here I am, only slightly scarred for life, and glad that I went for the ride. Horrorstor was definitely shudder-inducing during it's more disturbing scenes, but not overwhelmingly so, and certainly not enough to make me want to keep my nightlight on. In fact, it was downright comical at times, with characters pulled straight from a B-rated horror flick.

It begins with Amy (no last name), and Basil (same), Orsk employees with agendas all their own. Orsk being a complete and utter knock-off of the cooler, better-staffed, and higher-priced Ikea. We pass some bantering dialogue, and we are introduced to the characters that round off our cast of five: Matt, Trinity and Ruth Anne. Suspicious overnight activity has left the store in disarray for a number of nights, and Basil, floor manager, has proposed an overnight patrol, enlisting the help of Amy and Ruth Anne. Matt and Trinity invite themselves to the 'search party,' spewing paranormal reasoning for the recent damages. Together, these five Orsk employees set out on a shift that their sanity will never forget.

I want to acknowledge the GENIUS that was the layout of this novel-the sheer level of originality, the insanely intricate efforts put into creating this wonderful parody of a book. Horrorstor is an almost exact replica of an Ikea catalogue, right down to drawn picture inserts of the furniture, it's available colours, exact dimensions, and handy tear out coupons. It all culminated into one of the most unique reading experiences I've ever had. I read this book while walking (safe, yes, I know), and was stopped by multiple baffled people, on multiple occasions, wondering why I was so immersed in an Ikea catalogue. And I replied with "No..but look closer! It's a novel! See! Revel in this clever ploy! Go buy this book..now."

I understand that there was also a story happening inside of this artful packaging, and it was one that I did enjoy, and was written quite well, save for some moments of repetition. Hendrix layerd on the gore, and at times, kept it going for longer than I felt necessary. I wanted more character development, and frankly, a bit more time to build up my fear. I almost wanted this exact story to be written in a regularly bounded book, with expanded scenes, though I already know that the experience would have been lessened. 

Gimmicks aside, there were some heavy issues weaved into this narrative, and it was then that I really appreciated the author's writing. If you're looking for a book to kick start your creepy October reading, I would probably go pick this one up as soon as you can. It would also make for a KILLER coffee-table book.

Recommended for Fans of: Horror, Thriller, Gore, Paranormal, Nick Cutter. 

A Playlist for Writing

I don’t “need” music to write, but it does make things more fun. Whenever I need to do some edits, or shut out the world to draft a few paragraphs that are giving me trouble, or hunt down and kill rogue commas, I need something to make the terrible silence go away. Here’s the soundtrack that I blasted into my eardrums non-stop while I was writing Horrorstör.

∆AIMON - sometimes horror movies can feel like pre-chewed pap, baby birded into our mouths by big movie studios and slick marketing campaigns. But if you want some horror that feels unsane and unsafe, try witch house. Basically just a gothier version of electro, it’s got an occult vibe that gets deep, dark, and vibrates in the very pit of your damned soul. With grotty samples, waves of static, distant screams, distorto monster voices, damaged beats, and John Carpenter-esque synth melodies driving these sonic torture wagons down dark dirt roads streaked with blood, ∆AIMON is like the funkiest Black Mass you never attended. Also potent: GR†LLGR†LL, †‡†, and Mater Suspiria Vision. And for an added dose of insanity, watch their videos which feature some of the gnarliest visual remixing that has ever haunted your soul. I dare you to watch “if u cAn dR3Am - pRinc3ss3s” by GR†LLGR†LL in the dark and not feel a chill.

SUSPIRIA by Goblin - doing your taxes becomes an exercise in pure terror when you’ve got Goblin screaming “Witch!” at you. One of the greatest soundtracks of the 20th century, Italian prog rock band Goblin wound up scoring Dario Argento’s occult 1977 classic, Suspiria, for which they dreamed up a nightmarish soundtrack that’s almost more sadistic than the film’s twisted, candy-colored visuals. A lot of soundtracks consist of little more than benign background music, but the soundtrack for Suspiria is a total aural assault that’s almost impossible to withstand. Full of screams, flailing drums, gurgles, howls, unhinged gabbling, and chiming bells that just won’t stop, it’s one of the only soundtracks that actually hurts to hear.

“Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death” by RFLX - purveyors of fine cut-ups and remixes all named after Dead Kennedys albums, RFLX achieves horror movie nirvana with “Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death.” A grueling bop-tastic hour-long spelunk into the horror movies of the 70’s and 80’s. All your favorite monster music is here. From Fabio Frizzi’s theme for Lucio Fulci’s Zombi, to John Carpenter’s The Fog, to Keith Emerson’s Inferno soundtrack, to music by everyone who ever conducted an exorcism on their keyboard, from The Ramones to Ennio Morricone. Stitched together with samples from Re-Animator to “They’re coming to get you, Barbara,” it’s pretty much what I heard inside my head non-stop when I was sixteen years old.

THE SHINING soundtrack - Stanley Kubrick rounded up all the aural evil in the world and etched it into vinyl for his haunted house masterpiece, The Shining. Never released on CD due to copyright issues, if you can find a torrent of this warped compilation you’ll wind up wishing you never clicked “Download.” It’s not just the ominous, off-kilter electronic blats and blarps of Wendy Carlos (inventor of the moog), it’s the great composers who turn in pure nightmare music. Ligeti is at his most atonal and hideous here, and Bartok turns in plenty of ominous shivering strings, but the real star of the show is Krzysztof Penderecki, whose name probably means “Nightmare Noises” in Polish. Every one of his tracks is a study in gibbering lunacy, from the death-haunted horns of “The Awakening of Jacob” to the clanging Hell-percussion and choral hissing of “Utrenja” and the sizzling strings of “Polymorphia” (also heard in The Exorcist) that feel like spiders are laying eggs along your spine. Rarely has classical music felt this unholy.

Ladyhawke - when all this mayhem all gets to be a bit too much, I need bright poppy synthesizer beats to clean out my head. I grew up in the 80’s so I’ve heard all those greatest hits a million times before, but New Zealand’s Ladyhawke (named after the 1985 Rutger Hauer/Matthew Broderick/Michelle Pfeiffer movie) takes every single sparkling Top 40 trend of that entire decade and distills them into a beam of pure joy that she channels through her Casio keyboard. Listening to Ladyhawke is like swimming to the surface of a sea where the sun is always shining and the waves taste like champagne.


Grady Hendrix’s fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Strange Horizons, Pseudopod, and is forthcoming in The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination. He is one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival and his nonfiction has appeared in Variety, Slate, Playboy, Time Out New York, The New York Sun, and The Village Voice.

You can listen to podcasts of his fiction on Pseudopod.

You can buy Satan Loves You, the second-best feel-good book about Hell of 2011, on Amazon or on Smashwords!

No trees died to make Satan Loves You.

Contact Links:
Website - Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads 


Thank-you to Eric from Quirk Books for hosting this tour, and for sending me a print copy to review!


Follow the rest of the tour:

9/17: The Book Smugglers - Five Horror Novels That Will Make Your Head Spin
9/18: Quirk Books Blog - Five Forgotten Horror Novelists You Need to Discover
9/19: My Bookish Ways - Are Ghosts Really Real?
9/22: LitReactor - The Joy of Horror Novelizations
9/23: Publishing Crawl - What Watching Hong Kong Horror Movies Taught Me About Writing
9/24: Forces of Geek - You Don’t Know These Ten Horror Movies, But They Will Melt Your Face
9/26: Cuddlebuggery - Favorite Fictional Places
9/29: Bound by Words: A Playlist for Writing
9/30: That's Normal: Supernatural Smackdown: Difference Between Real & Fictional Hauntings

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