The Cellar (The Cellar, #1) by Natasha Preston

When sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson goes missing one night, her family, friends and boyfriend are devastated. Nothing ever happens in Long Thorpe, so the disappearance of a school girl shocks the whole community. The police waste no time in launching a search and investigation, but with nothing to go on and no trace of Summer, hopes of finding her quickly fade.

Colin Brown, is a thirty-year-old solicitor living alone after the death of his mother. He suffered a traumatic and abusive childhood, and is left with no sense of right or wrong. Desperate for the perfect family, Colin, referring to himself as Clover, turns to drastic measures to get what he wants.
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The Cellar is told from different perspectives. Varying from Summer herself, Clover the kidnapper, and the search party lead by Lewis, the boyfriend. Clover has a bit of a Norman Bates feel to his character. There is violence in this story, but handled with careful detail for teen readers. 

Against her family's warnings Summer decides to walk alone at night. She is picked up by Clover and taken to his cellar room where she is given a new name and introduced to the other girls that have already been living there. She must adapt to her new living situation immediately or face getting physically hurt for not obeying. Clover considers them his family and while he works, and searches for other girls. They are to stay home, take care of themselves and cook for him, among other things. 

The suspense in the writing is a constant. You are never sure of what is going to happen next, whether the girls will get hurt, Clover will explode or Lewis may find a clue.  Even though Summer is only home for a couple of pages in the book, we get to see how much her family and boyfriend mean to her through their, and her thoughts. 

The psychological affect on the characters in the book, no matter their position is the most poignant part of the novel. There is some great detail, and research that you can see went into the story to help the readers connect. 

I watch the crime shows on television all the time, it was really a fascinating thing to be put inside one of the stories and see the victims side a little closer. I really enjoyed the book and thought the story was heartbreaking and powerful.

                                                Author: Guest Post
Topic: What kind of research  did you do to give such a close perspective from Clover and how his focus on the "family unit" and his childhood, plays out in the story?

I didn’t really research anything for Clover’s childhood. That probably sounds bad, but I prefer to write things based on how I know my characters would react or think or feel. I don’t believe that there’s ever one set way to handle any situation so I felt that if I researched something similar Clover would be someone else. I hope that made sense.

I knew I wanted him to have a fairly normal early childhood with loving parents and then something big happened that changed not only his family life but also changed his mother completely. For Clover to be the way he is now something had to have changed him and the biggest influence on us is our parents.

From a young age Clover had his whole life turned upside down. His mother changed so much there was no part of her that was the woman he knew. He grew up having no real idea of what a family should be. His mother created what she wanted, did what she wanted and took what she wanted so when she died he had an opportunity to have the family he so desperately wanted, only now he didn’t know what a family was. So he created it himself and took it.

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Twitter - natashavpreston