Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Cellar by Richard Laymon (CBR-IV #29)

Cannonball Read IV: Book #29/52
Published: 1980
Pages: 309
Genre: Horror

I'd heard good things about this book. So much so, that it seems to almost be a "classic" in the horror novel genre. Richard Laymon is pretty well known as a horror novelist as well, so I figured this would be a good place to start with my first Laymon book. I can now safely say that I probably will not be reading anymore Laymon books. 

This book was awful. Between the unlikeable characters and the unnecessary, stomach-churning depictions of child rape, I just couldn't believe how many people recommended this book. I was expecting a scary creature in the cellar type book. Well, there was a creature in the cellar (or sometimes in the attic, or the bedrooms, so I'm not quite sure why it wasn't just called "The House" or something). I'm still not quite sure what the heck this "creature" was. Was he an alien? A mutant human? Half animal? Science experiment gone wrong? I have no clue. It would have been nice to have some sort of background on this thing. 

But the creature only is half of the plot. The other half is about a woman and her 12-year-old daughter who are on the run from her ex-husband who was just released from prison. He was in prison for raping his daughter and now the reader is being punished by having to read a bunch of graphic scenes of him child-raping his way up the California coast to find his ex-wife and daughter. Ugh. I know it's a horror novel and horror novels don't always have likable characters, but my God, it would have been horrifying enough to allude to the child abuse instead of telling us every detail. 

These two plots are linked because the mom who is on the run ends up sleeping with some guy who is trying to kill the creature in the cellar of "Beast House". Oh yeah, Beast House is the house where the creature lives that the owners conduct tours of due to to all the murders that have happened there. I think Laymon was trying to write two different stories and came up with the most nonsensical way to link the two plots. There is no character development between the mom and her new lover (I can't even remember their names!). They just start sleeping with each other and when they are having sex THEY LEAVE HER DAUGHTER WITH THE GUY'S ADULT MALE FRIEND. Yes, she leaves her daughter WHO WAS RAPED BY HER FATHER with a strange, older male. Great parenting, lady. 

Anyways, I would not really recommend this book unless you're a sick person who needs some new pedophilia material, and even then it's probably not worth wading through the rest of the book for that. 

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