I read on line this was one of the scariest and best authors of horror, even better than Stephen King. Well, I'm here to say King is far far better than Laymon. The good part of Laymon's book "The Cellar" it's about sixty thousand words, so there is something here called a novel and it's good that there is action!!! (I add that with a bit of cynicism because it seems Laymon believes any sort of hook and hanging ending to any chapters is enough to make it great.) The bad part, well about everything else. The writing is the worst part with plodding dialog, the action is nearly random and unplanned combined with absolutely predictable. I've taught writing to beginners who have tried to write horror or sci-fi and I kept saying to myself, this is exactly like their works. I kept finishing each page thinking of a million ways I could easily tune this up to make it better. Stephen King, at least, allows us to get into the story. Compared to Laymon, King seems positively literary.
Now for a few examples so you get some of the reason this is terrible, beyond the bad writing. The main character, a woman and a daughter run from an ex who has been let out of prison. Sometimes her daughter acts like she's five years old, other times she talks like she's thirty. The sister of the mother dies a terrible death and the mother finds out. She's distraught. Well, not too badly because within about an hour she's having passionate sex with a guy she met the day before. This guy is a mercenary, a man who kills, justifiably evidently, a real macho guy. Yet in a scene where the ex enters a hotel room he is said to mutter a phrase, which is immediately followed by a scared whining phrase, and in the third sentence the author adds an exclamation point, as though this guy is hysterical. It makes no logical sense and is completely out of sync with the character thus far. A portion of the book also describes in detail absolutely disgusting sexual acts between adults and kids, between two adults, and between the monkey like beasts and humans. It's just gross and it doesn't offer the book a thing. This is an author who in my opinion cannot distinguish between good and bad writing, good and bad detail. And the chapter setup, as far as I can see, seems to uncannily conform to book out there on plot and structure. Yes it feels just that formulaic.
After a while I told a friend I could rip out the final quarter of the book and throw it away and feel I didn't miss anything critical. Yes, I did read it to the end and all I can do is warn you not to.
If you love horror, as I do, go to other authors. There are some good ones out there. Laymon, in my opinion as a reader who loves reading and horror, is just a terrible, terrible writer. Why this book ever got published is quite a mystery.