Richard Laymon - Quake 5/5 stars


      In an interview Richard Laymon said his books are about bad people doing bad things and in Quake you see that in a large scale as an earthquake hits Los Angeles. The core of the novel is survival and simply trying to make their way home. Of course in a Laymon novel it's not that simple. he allows us to glimpse at a world in which laws no longer apply, the carnal side of human nature runs rampant. He also knows how to pile on layers of tension while allowing us to peer at the ugly side of humanity. We never imagine people at their worst in a time of crisis, but that's what's so good about his work. He knows deep down that not everyone is good, deep down they're vile.

      At the core of Quake is Stanley who is by far the greatest villain Laymon has ever created. He sees the Quake as an opportunity to take advantage of his trapped neighbor, and as the novel wears on, we see his sanity slowly begin to slide away. He has filled his novel with characters you want to see survive, and when certain characters die, you cheer because they were terrible people to begin with. The heroes here don't have an easy time of it. This is a violent novel that holds no punches. As a writer, he's written a novel that will offend half of the people who read it, but underneath all of the blood, is a decent story. Some of the dialogue comes off as cheesy and there's always the fascination with sex. Women here are portrayed as objects, and the men are often overcome with their desire to have their way with them.

       While Quake may not be for everyone, it's still a great horror novel that presents us with something new. It would have been easy to fill out the novel with the same tropes we always see, but here in Laymon's world there's beauty in chaos. It's not for those who are easily offended, or have a problem with violence. It's strengths lie in the characters, and how they react to the world around them. The violence is a byproduct of the quake itself. Quake gives Richard Laymon fans another reason to like him, and for those who've never heard of him, it's a good place to start.


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