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?
From Publishers 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.
From 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.
Anarchy reigns supreme and altruism is obsolete in Laymon's novel about "the big one."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.