Richard Laymon's 'Quake': A Review
Richard Laymon is a master at selling the macabre, the weird and the far fetched. In the past, I once called a zombie novel realistic, based on viral bio chemical weaponry that could be out there somewhere. However ironic as it may be, I have a hard time buying into 'Quake'. Sure, people will take advantage of situations, but an earthquake isn't going to lead to apocalyptic chaos as Laymon suggests. The story is still enjoyable, but you'll have to draw you're own conclusions.
Stanley Banks is a disgusting, vile excuse of a man. Taking advantage of his elderly mother, jobless and lusting for the next door neighbor doesn't exactly help his cause. When a massive earthquake rocks the city, Stanley sees his opportunity to take advantage of his surroundings. After taking care of Mommy Dearest, he sets his sights on lovely Sheila Banner and leaves a trail of lies, murder and rape in his wake. Sheila's husband, Clint, and daughter Barbara are also caught in different parts of the city, desperately trying to make their way home. Barbara heading home from school finds herself being chased by a group of post quake lunatics. While Clint finds himself battling through a band of feral killers. All around is manic chaos. Stores are being looted. Citizens killing and raping at will. A depressed soldier tries to take advantage of a group of teens. Vandalism, theft and assault are everywhere. All because the quake has knocked out power city wide. The police have been overrun trying to keep order, but so much is going on right under their noses. Can Clint and Barbara get back in time to save Sheila from a very bad situation? More importantly, can they make it back in one piece?
I still think very highly of Laymon and will continue to recommend him to all types of people. The characters are believable. Opportunistic sociopaths like Stanley are everywhere. Devoted men and strong women are more common than one would think. I can't see a massive city going on a crazy cannibalistic killing and crime sprees cause power is out for an hour. Seriously... cops directing traffic at a time like this? Why aren't other districts called in? It's just a hard pill to swallow. I thought the story was good, but there are a lot of holes in the plot. I read the book in about nine days. Not as controversial as the other novels he's known for, but still has it's share of blood. I'll give the story a very non-earth shaking three stars.
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