The Quake

Richard Laymon, Author
Richard Laymon, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (375p) ISBN 978-0-312-13150-0
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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In this above-average disaster thriller, Sheila Banner is looking forward to a long, relaxing bath when a massive earthquake hits southern California, trapping her in the tub, naked but intact under two fallen beams. Meanwhile, Sheila's husband, Clint, is stranded at work, his car sitting behind a pair of powerless electronic security gates, while their daughter, Barbara, along with three classmates, is caught in a speeding car with a panicky teacher at the wheel. Through alternating chapters, Laymon (Savage) tells these three tales of survival in his customary speedy, whip-lean prose, eschewing descriptions of fallen bridges and highways to focus on the disintegration of humanity, the violence and predation unleashed by the quake. The imagery is graphic-roving gangs stripping and mutilating the bodies of the living as well as the dead-but, as in the best of Laymon's work, like The Stake, there's an edge of black humor to the proceedings, a faint cackle in the background. Still, this is strong, disturbing fare, not for the thin-skinned. (May)
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