I’m not much of a horror reader, but the idea of a horror novel set in an Ikea-esque department store was something I couldn’t resist. Hendrix plays with consumer culture, turning it on its head for eerie effect. Things like floor layouts designed to be a home away from home, keep customers inside, and herd them around certain paths become vehicles for creepiness and tension. As with an Ikea store, the design of the book was also a large part of the appeal. The book is shaped like one of their catalogs, and pages designed like catalog entries, coupons, and other store documents greatly added to the atmosphere. At a certain point I wasn’t sure what was clever wordplay and what might have come directly from corporate philosophy and store training manuals. That’s what makes this book so effective—the line between reality and fantasy is turned and twisted until it’s not entirely clear where it lies, but you have the sense that it’s closer to you than you’d like. After all, the premise of the book is that maybe a store is something else when the lights go off, and odds are good that everything around you is from a store….
This was a fun read that I’d highly recommend. I’m not sure if it has a lot to offer fans of horror, but for a dabbler like me it had plenty. Part of me wants a sequel, but part of me wonders if I’d be able to set foot in a department store after it!