4.4 5
by Richard Laymon

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For Stanley, the earthquake is a heaven-sent opportunity. Just before it struck, he was ogling Sheila, a female jogger, and that's not all he'd like to do to her. Now the city lies in ruins, and Sheila lies trapped and naked in her bathtub. Can her husband make it to her before Stanley does?


For Stanley, the earthquake is a heaven-sent opportunity. Just before it struck, he was ogling Sheila, a female jogger, and that's not all he'd like to do to her. Now the city lies in ruins, and Sheila lies trapped and naked in her bathtub. Can her husband make it to her before Stanley does?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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)
Library Journal
Stanley Banks is not the neighbor one would want when Los Angeles is hit by "the Big One," the earthquake that destroys the sprawling city. In the quake's aftermath, the thin veneer that keeps the savages civilized crumbles almost as fast as the real estate. The Banner family is scattered when it hits, and Sheila Banner is trapped in a tub under the wreckage of her house when Stanley, her psychopathic admirer, finds her. Meanwhile, Clint and daughter Barbara are separately struggling to get home to Sheila, walking through Los Angeles while fleeing and fighting gangs that rob, rape, murder, and mutilate. Laymon (Savage, LJ 12/93) expertly lays on the horror here, and at times his Los Angeles seems to have been invaded by aliens, so quickly have the residents turned savage. Horror fans will find this hard to put down. Strongly recommended for public libraries.-Robert C. Moore, DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. Information Svcs., N. Billerica, Mass.
Michelle Guthrie
Anarchy reigns supreme and altruism is obsolete in Laymon's novel about "the big one." The book opens minutes before an earthquake hits Southern California with the force of an atom bomb. We often hear heartwarming tales of neighbors reaching out to each other and communities pulling together in the wake of sudden disaster. Concentrating on one family, the Banners, whose members are caught on opposite sides of the city by their daily routines, Laymon throws all that out the window, portraying instead a world where normal people become panicked maniacs, perverts find the opportunities to act out their fantasies, and the stable and sane find it increasingly difficult to stay that way. Laymon writes well enough to maintain interest in the fates of the characters, and all the jumping back and forth among the separate Banners' various venues isn't as distracting as you might think. All in all, horror and suspense fans will be satisfied.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed

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Quake 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Lindsie More than 1 year ago
While this book was very long; almost 600 pages, the three storylines that are embedded in the book make it that much more interesting. Through the novel, readers follow three different groups of characters as they try to survive the earthquake. As with all of Laymon's books, there are very gory parts, as well as sadistic parts. But, if your a fan of the author you will enjoy this one!
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
As usual - great writer! Kept me reading from the first page thru the last. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are 3 storyline here--all involving one family. #1 The mother(attractive with a great physique) is trapped in her bathtub during an earthquake, and must be helped by the neighbor next door who has wanted her from day one. #2 The father is caught at work and must try to get home without the use of his car. He meets a girl his daughters age wandering and a snobby woman whom he decides to drive home. What a journey. 3. The daughter is driving with classmates during drivers ed, and the instuctor freaks out during the earthquake. They are stuck on the opposite side of town and must try to get home. Meanwhile every is acting like fools and worse during the quake.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book repulsively intriguing. It grabbed me from page one and wouldn't let go. Laymon wasn't very inventive when it came to his characters fighting; you almost knew how the battle would begin and end, but the story is, nonetheless, interesting and you find yourself cheering some of these characters along their path. Not recommended for children, or those who have a weak stomach.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chaos created by an LA earthquake provides a man with the perfect opportunity to murder his overbearing mother and kidnap his beautiful neighbor. The neighbor was trapped in her house by fallen debris and the obsessed man was nearby to "save" her. Her daughter is taking a driving lesson in a distant part of LA and her husband is accross town at his office when the quake hits. Both struggle to get home to check on the other family members. This is an intense, suspenseful, and gory novel by the great Richard Laymon who wrote more than 30 horror novels before his death in February of 2001 at age 54. ISLAND and NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER are also highly recommended.