Richard Laymon was, until more recent reprints of his work, not very well known in the states, despite an international fanbase. However, that oversight is being corrected, as Leisure Books continues to rerelease his works, from new, posthumous works such as The Lake or To Wake the Dead, to classics such as The Travelling Vampire Show or his great Beast House Chronicles. Laymon doesn’t ever let the reader down, as he is the master of drawing one into a story, surrounding them with flesh and blood characters, and then unleashing the horrors. Few of his books do this better than the aforementioned Beast House Chronicles, which all began with the novel The Cellar.
Donna and her daughter Sandy are on the run from Roy, Donna’s abusive husband, who was just released from jail. The bump into trouble, and fate leads them to Malcasa Point, home of the famous Beast House. A recent attack (which plays an important role in the second novel, The Beast House (see review) foreshadows the events, as more people sneak into the house and die. As Donna’s new love interest heads for a rendezvous with the monster, Roy arrives in town, and no one is safe.
Laymon once again works his ability to quickly create characters that matter to the reader, and brings in terrible monsters, be it the creature or the abusive father. The ending is chilling, and certainly sets up the sequel well. This one is a book you won’t want to put down, and will fly through. The Cellar is up there with the best of Laymon, and that is saying something.