Just look at this cover.
Orsk is a furniture store that feels like a prison to many of its employees. It’s the sort of retail hell that’s designed to never let you leave. As the story opens we learn that merchandise is being damaged overnight. There are Orsk company inspectors on the way, so the store manager has to get to the bottom of the mystery quickly. So the devoted-to-the-company manager puts together a small crew to wait overnight so that they can catch whoever is responsible for messing with the inventory.
Unfortunately, weird things begin to happen once night falls. Graffiti appears on the walls that references “the Beehive.” Stains and mold and scratches appear on normally flawless surfaces. Then the shadowy figures start to appear. Turns out the store was built on the swampy remains of a notorious prison.
Horrorstör is clever, fun, and pretty darn creepy–I snorted with laughter even while being scared. Think Shaun of the Dead style, where the gore is paired with a laugh. Actually, there are lots of horror movie references and tropes here. This novel is particularly cinematic in pacing and tone and, because of the catalog framing device, relies a lot on visuals. So it’s even more like a horror movie than it might be otherwise.
The catalog device is very well done, especially in the chapter-heading ads for furniture (which morph into something altogether different as the story goes on). The phrasing for the merchandise description is spot-on. And so is the corporate-speak of the employee manual and the more devoted employees.
Retail, man. It can trap you.
If you’re a fan of clever creepiness with a quick pace and a nice foreboding ending, give this one a try this month. Here’s the book trailer:
It’s got a nice even pace, some creepy imagery, a couple laughs, and a few scenes to tug the heartstrings. The characters are flawed but not too terribly complex. There’s also enough suspense and mystery to keep you going through to the end, which boasts a reveal that’s a bit out of the ordinary. It’s not absorbing, but it is compelling. The structure is cinematic, going from scene to scene and character to character in a nice linear way.
That’s what I mean by a Saturday Afternoon Movie feel. I was completely absorbed for a few hours, got my entertainment and my suitable ending, and then it was time to go do something else. Sometimes, that’s just what you need. Continue reading →
Everyone who follows this blog knows that if a book’s cover art has that distinctive blood-spatter motif, I’ll probably give it a look.
I’ve been hearing and reading about Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy since the first, Feed, came out. And due to my generally “meh” opinion on zombies, I didn’t pay all that much attention. Until last week, when a fellow librarian mentioned how much she’d enjoyed it–specifically mentioning that it’s more about media, news reporting, and conspiracy than it is about zombies.
Just goes to show how much of a difference framing makes when you’re trying to sell a book to someone. “Walking dead zombie threat oh no!” will leave me cold. However, “Massive conspiracy and indictment of mainstream media, with two great main characters…also there are some zombies” is a whole different idea.
I tend to enjoy zombie books and movies where the zombies are rather incidental. Like one recent book I loved, The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell. That’s a Southern Gothic psychological suspense novel with zombies. I’m also a big fan of The Zombie Autopsies, which is a medical thriller about investigating zombies. The Passage by Justin Cronin was also very good, as it was about conspiracies and medicine and zombies (oh, I know in the book they’re called vampires, but please–they’re zombies, for all intents and purposes).
None of the titles I’ve mentioned are horror novels. Feed and its sequels aren’t horror novels, either. They’re political thrillers. With mummies.
Oh no, wait. Zombies. Political thrillers with zombies. Continue reading →