Story: As the novel opens, we meet timid Housewife Jessie Burlingame, who is still haunted by an accident from the past, and her husband, Gerald Burlingame, the curious husband who has a slight heart problem. Both of them are vacationing at their Lake House when Gerald decides to pull out his handcuffs and test them out on Jessie. Jessie is then handcuffed to both of the bedposts, with only 6 inches of armroom allowed. With Jessie still locked up and the keys all the way across the room, Gerald suffers a fatal heart attack, leaving Jessie hopelessly handcuffed with no way to get out of the bed. As time passes, Gerald's body starts looking pretty scrumptious to a hungry stray, who ventures into the house and starts turning Gerald into Dogfood. All the while Jessie valiantly tries to get a water glass full of water off the shelf that is just barely out of her reach, but she has to try or else she fears she may just go insane. As her hunger and thirst deepens, Jessie begins having recurring dreams about her disturbing childhood that is tarnished by the memory of her father abusing her as a child. As she learns to deal with her inner demons, she soon notices demons aren't only in her dreams, but in the corner of her bedroom. A gaunt shadow stands there watching her throughout the night, and she realizes to her dismay the shadow is real. The only way Jessie can get out of her predicament is to overcome her inner demons and and try not to go mad, while at the same time she must figure out a way to get out of her impenetrable stronghold with all of her options gone except for an empty glass on the bedstand. Jessie learns to overcome fear and herself in the ultimate battle for survival.
Too late. Even if he were still hearing her, which her rational mind doubted, it was too late. His bowed back arched the top half of his body beyond the edge of the bed and gravity took over. Gerald Burlingame, with whom Jessie had once eaten Creamsicles in bed, fell over backward with his knees up and his head down, like a clumsy kid trying to impress his friends during Free Swim at the YMCA pool. The sound of his skull meeting the hardwood floor made her shriek again. It sounded like some enormous egg being cracked against the lip of a stone bowl. She would have given anything not to have heard that.
On a warm October day, Jessie Burlingame lies in the bedroom of her secluded lake home, listening to the far-off sounds of the country; the cry of a loon, the growl of a chain saw, the bark of a lonesome dog. Nearer, she hears the banging of the screen door, left unlatched in the autumn breeze; nearer still, the click of the key locking the second pair of handcuffs that chain her to the bed. Gerald Burlingame, her husband of 17 years, looms over her, grin on his face, gleam in his eye, lust in his heart. This is Gerald's favorite game - little kinky, perhaps, but all in good fun.
It is disturbing, but for a story in which nearly the entire plot is focused on one person in one room, there are a lot of layers to Geralds Game. Our victim, Jessie, faces a physical nightmare that is compounded by psychological nightmares that stem from repressed memories of past abuse. It's bad enough that she has to overcome her restraints, those wrapped around her wrists and those wrapped around her mind. But in the midst of it all she discovers the shadows in the far recess of the room have come alive, smiling at her, and she does not know if it is her imagination or if it is Death incarnate showing her that by his very presence that no matter how close she thinks she is to escape,she is doomed.