First published back in 1980, "The Cellar" introduced the world to the horror author Richard Laymon and formed the first instalment of the four part `Beast House' series.
The tale sets out in a typical clique manner, introducing the reader to what appears to be a somewhat standard `horror novel' style opening. The novel's title and subject matter don't help to dissuade the reader from the feeling that the novel is likely to turn out to be yet another attempt at a basic book to simply slide into this genre, involving a big beast and a tonne of splatter thrown in for good measure.
However, this is not the case, as any avid reader of Laymon's work would know. The storyline quickly breaks away from this mundane and predictable route and instead weaves a tale of bizarre almost comic book like tongue-in-cheek horror.
Laymon's style of writing is a pleasure in itself to read, which draws the reader into this thoroughly enjoyable read. Characterization is nicely developed, but not overly so, as is the way with the majority of Laymon's novels.
Alongside the main plot line, another equally involved subplot is spun, involving a sociopathic killer ex-husband who rapes, murders and steals his way through the tale until the two plot lines come to their eventual meeting.
The novel contains some strong moments such as the recurring rape of children by the ex-husband.
As the tale progresses, the storyline reveals further depths to this bizarre premise, until the reader reaches the final somewhat twisted ending.
The end result is a tale that sets out with the standard `beast on the loose' premise, but quickly becomes a much more elaborate and well contrived story that delivers repeatedly strong moments and leaves plenty of room for the next `Beast House' novel.
The book runs for a total of 254 pages.