What Hides in the Cellar
By Graham Masterton
Available: All Bookshops and Amazon
Graham Masterton is probably the most prolific writer of horror stories only rivalled in America today by Stephen King. Masterton’s first book was turned into a movie starring Tony Curtis. Many of his later books are translated into French and Polish languages. He even judges an annual literary competition for prisoners of a famous jail in Poland.
Known internationally, Graham Masterton like many writers, is quite modest. If you met him in the street, you might think he is a solicitor or a professor of some obscure language. Yet getting into his books, one is aware of the riotous imagination living within him. He has written over 50 books, some historical, some detective novels and many horror who dun-its. And, believe it or not, a couple of sex manuals!
‘What Hides in the Cellar´, Masterton’s latest book is very intricate with a storyline that weaves in and out of time. Investigating mysterious affairs that take place in two very distinct time eras – the present and events in Britain’s war years. In the seedy suburbs and pubs of London’s World War Two bombed areas, sirens air raids and a local population used to adjusting to the war time conditions are portrayed. Food is rationed.
Working in present day London are two police detectives – the senior, a modern day Asian Brit female with the name of Jamila assisted by a typical British Officer Plod. Their work somehow gets them into a Dr. Who-type breakthrough which takes them across a time barrier landing them in wartime seedy suburban London.
These two work together to chase the wanted criminal they find apparently still living in the ´comfort´ of a cellar of a house with nearby pubs, circa 1940, that no longer exist in the present era. The actual wanted criminal is a twin of a famous misshapen character of that period. Rather like the Dickens character, Fagin, who collects and teaches youngsters to pick pockets, Masterton’s evil character collects and trains young and even older individuals to pick pockets in pubs and in the streets.
It’s a regular old merry-go-round, going from the present day of policing to the 1940s. From speaking in the modern vernacular to using cockney rhyming speech which was popular at that time among the London working classes. It is a typical Masterton volume of quick thinking, fast writing – you can’t afford a skip-read run around and expect to know ‘what happened’! There is something about his work that makes him popular in so many countries. He seems to have a readership not just in English speaking countries but places like France and Poland and Czechia where his work is translated.
Amazing writing with a fast-changing plot but the Masterton brain is ahead of the storyline and difficult to catch out. Best just to read the book and follow the author’s words faithfully without skip-reading.