Clayton Riddell, a struggling artist from Maine who is estranged from his wife, Sharon, and his young son, Johnny, has landed a graphic novel deal in Boston. As he prepares to celebrate, somebody, somewhere, triggers "The Pulse," a signal sent out over the global cell phone network that instantly turns all cell phone users into bloodthirsty, homicidal creatures. Civilization crumbles as the Pulse's victims – dubbed "phone crazies" or simply "phoners" – attack each other or any unaltered people in view.
Clayton Riddell's portfolio contains art of a character who bears more than a passing resemblance to Roland Deschain.
Cell is hoping to be made into a feature film, but it has been in development hell for years.