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review 2018-03-06 20:31
Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton

Ken Greenhall’s long-forgotten horror masterpiece, Hell Hound, is finally getting the recognition it deserves, thanks to a recent reissue. This was my first novel by this author, but it certainly won’t be my last.


This tale — one of a psychotic and cunning Bull Terrier — is bloody and mean and aims for the throat; told in precise prose, this is a terrifying hellraiser not concerned with sentimentality or sympathy. The obvious comparison is to Stephen King’s Cujo, though these stories are wildly different. Of the two, Cujo is perhaps better written, but something must be said for this book’s heartlessness.


This is a novel more horror readers should be aware of. The length of a long novella, this is a quick, effective read: one that is finally getting its due.

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review 2018-02-27 02:57
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Horrorstor - Grady Hendrix

I'll admit I first dismissed this book when I saw it popping up in other people's feeds, but it kept coming back and getting good reviews so I decided to see if my library had it. I was in luck, so I shortly got to pick up a book that wasn't quite what I was expecting.


I mean, I knew it was a book about some people who have a scary time overnight in a knock-off Ikea store but for starters, I was expecting it to be formatted like a normal book. It wasn't. Not only does it look like a product catalogue, it's formatted like a kind of design textbook or something. I can't quite put my finger on what to compare it to, but hopefully some pictures will help.


In the above, the page fold would fall on the blue square, just past the illustration.



From my copy. It's hard to tell, but all the text is in a blueprint blue.


I didn't initially notice this, but the back cover is a creepy version of the front.



Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how well the gimmick worked and how Hendrix was able to make you empathize with the characters in such a short book. It was also off the wall nuts, but it was a fun nuttiness. It starts off fairly reasonably, with some Orsk employees being tasked to do an overnight shift to discover who has been mucking up the place and breaking things at night, but then it gets a bit...supernatural. The setting was also well evoked and the author used the Ikea references for all he was worth. But hey, it worked.


Previous updates:

108 of 243 pages

61 of 243 pages

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text 2018-02-26 04:39
Reading progress update: I've read 108 out of 243 pages.
Horrorstor - Grady Hendrix

"The bad news is that the cops are still coming," Amy said. "The good news is that they're lost."


This book is kind of nuts. And I have the feeling that the cops are going to end up getting there much, much too late.

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text 2018-02-26 01:27
Reading progress update: I've read 61 out of 243 pages.
Horrorstor - Grady Hendrix

Maybe it's the wine, but this had me chuckling:

"Stop saying A&E," Matt said. "We're aiming higher than that. Trinity wants us to be the first ghost hunters on Bravo."


Tbh, ghost hunters are kind of sad.



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review 2018-02-12 01:18
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix, designed by Andie Reid, illustrated by Michael Rogalski
Horrorstor - Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör is a ghost story that takes place in an Ikea knockoff called Orsk. Amy, one of the main characters, is low on cash, convinced she's about to be fired, and desperate to transfer to a different Orsk. She thinks her boss, Basil, has it in for her, which is why she's horrified when he calls her in for a special meeting. It throws her off a bit that Ruth Anne was also called in. Ruth Anne is a model employee, so why would anyone want to fire her?

As it turns out, Basil isn't planning on firing anyone, at least not right now. No, Basil has a problem. It appears that someone has been hanging around Orsk after hours and breaking things. In one instance, the person even pooped on a Brooka (sofa). The security cameras are no good - whoever's doing this has been limiting their activities to sometime between 2 and 7:30 AM, the time period when the store lights power down to twilight mode. Basil figures that he, Ruth Anne, and Amy can sweep the store and either find the culprit or at least prevent them from damaging anything else before the store's general manager and Regional arrive in the morning. This is a horror novel, so of course things don't go nearly that well.

Several people I follow on Booklikes read this a while back. I kept seeing the cover art pop up on my Dashboard, and the slightly creepy "catalog page" look of it intrigued me. It took me a while, but I finally requested an interlibrary loan copy.

I've never been to an Ikea and was a little worried that that would interfere with my enjoyment of the book. Thankfully that didn't seem to be the case, although having experience with big-box stores in general probably helps. Horrorstör gave readers an exhaustive employee's eye view of Orsk and how it operated, going so far as to include a floor plan, order form, and product images and descriptions (which took an unnerving turn later in the book).

The details about the haunting didn't strike me as being very exceptional or original, and the things that happened to the employees in the store occasionally caused me to pause and wonder how they hadn't died of shock yet. The thing that made Horrorstör more than just an average horror novel for me was the way it incorporated Orsk details. One of my favorite parts involved Amy being trapped inside a Liripip wardrobe. It mattered that it was that particular kind of wardrobe and that Amy was a store employee with special knowledge of its particular problems.

Hendrix did a great job at emphasizing the creepiness of an empty Orsk, with its peculiar layout that required customers to go through the store in a particular way. Even before the real horror started, I found myself getting creeped out by Amy and Ruth Anne's efforts to sweep the store for intruders.

The characters were a little thin, and their actions didn't always match the background info readers were given - for example, I found Basil's actions at the end a little difficult to believe considering he's his little sister's primary caretaker. That said, I still loved this. Hendrix left just enough loose ends that I could imagine a Planet Baby sequel, although it's probably for the best that, as far as I know, no sequel has been planned.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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