We all know Lee Goldberg as the author of the Monk and Diagnosis Murder novels, as well as a prolific and top-notch screenwriter, but this is one of his non-series novels, originally published back in 2004 by Five Star. The ebook version has been very successful for Lee, and it’s now available in print again, this time as a trade paperback. So you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a copy of it to read.
And you should find a copy and read it, just as soon as you possibly can. It’s that good.
THE WALK takes place in the first two days after the Big One, the incredibly devastating earthquake that everybody knows is coming, finally hits Los Angeles. TV executive Marty Slack is on the other side of the city from his wife and his home when everything comes crashing down. Marty survives the actual quake in fairly good shape, but his car is crushed and the streets are too torn up to drive on, anyway. So the only way he can get home and get back to his wife is to walk across the dangerous chaos that is Los Angeles after the earthquake.
Naturally it’s not easy. Marty runs into all sorts of trouble from looters, aftershocks, explosions, and other natural disasters. He nearly gets killed time and again and probably wouldn’t make it if not for the help of Buck Weaver, a very colorful bounty hunter and private detective he runs into along the way. While he’s trying to survive this odyssey, Marty also goes through an emotional journey as well, coming to grips with some of the problems that have plagued him throughout his life.
THE WALK is part adventure novel, part horror novel, part comedy. A lot of terrible, tragic things happen, but Goldberg’s dry, satiric wit crops up often enough to keep things from getting overwhelmingly gloomy. Marty and Buck are fine characters who play off each other wonderfully well, and the pacing really keeps the reader turning the pages. All of it leads up to an absolutely great ending that really put a grin on my face.
As with Cap’n Bob Napier’s THE TOYMAN RIDES AGAIN, this is hardly an unbiased review, since Lee Goldberg and I have been friends for years. However, trust me on this. THE WALK is one of the very best novels you’ll read this year or any other year.