26th Feb2013

Book Review – The Walk

by Lloyd Paige

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The Walk by Lee Goldberg

The Synopsis

It’s one minute after the Big One. Marty Slack, a TV network executive, crawls out from under his Mercedes, parked outside what once was a downtown Los Angeles warehouse, the location for a new TV show. Downtown LA is in ruins. The sky is thick with black smoke. His cell phone is dead. The freeways are rubble. The airport is demolished. Buildings lay across streets like fallen trees. It will be days before help can arrive.

Marty has been expecting this day all his life. He’s prepared. In his car are a pair of sturdy walking shoes and a backpack of food, water, and supplies. He knows there is only one thing he can do … that he must do: get home to his wife Beth, go back to their gated community on the far edge of the San Fernando Valley.

All he has to do is walk. But he will quickly learn that it’s not that easy. His dangerous, unpredictable journey home will take him through the different worlds of what was once Los Angeles. Wildfires rage out of control. Flood waters burst through collapsed dams. Natural gas explosions consume neighborhoods. Sinkholes swallow entire buildings. After-shocks rip apart the ground. Looters rampage through the streets.

There’s no power. No running water. No order.

Marty Slack thinks he’s prepared. He’s wrong. Nothing can prepare him for this ordeal, a quest for his family and for his soul, a journey that will test the limits of his endurance and his humanity, a trek from the man he was to the man he can be … if he can survive The Walk.

The Review

Lee Goldberg has been a scriptwriter on shows such as SeaQuest, Hunter, The Glades, Martial Law, Diagnosis Murder, and Monk. He’s also had two Edgar Award nominations from the Mystery Writers of America and has written a series of novels based on the Monk TV series.

One man’s trek across a broken and decapitated LA landscape descends into chaos when he encounters one obstacle after another. Protagonist Martin ‘Marty’ Slack is a TV network executive desperate to make it as a writer. He’s a wimp of a man though down on his luck and after a devastating earthquake hits Los Angeles, all Marty wants to do is to go home to his wife Beth – an entry level actress. But the journey turns out to be the making of him and during it, we learn more about the couple’s relationship and their plans to start a family. We also learn about Marty’s failings and we’re introduced to a caricature of pure Hollywood machismo in unwanted friend Buck, a person that puts the C into cliché.

Goldberg manages to highlight the desperation of others to make it out of their banal 9-5, because even when the city is on its knees and lives have been lost, TV executive Marty still gets pitched by a few wannabe’s (including Buck) hoping for a way into the industry.

Taking into account Goldberg’s television background, it’s no surprise that there are a few references to actors and programmes sewn into the narrative. However, Buck’s a little too overcooked, a tad one dimensional until you realise he’s a parody and his part in the whole adventure soon becomes clear. The ending won’t throw up too many surprises for anyone following the story carefully enough, yet Goldberg has lived through an earthquake, Northridge, and practically walked in Marty’s steps, so we do get an idea of how that experience was for him.

The Walk takes a lighter hearted route than other stories of its ilk and some may say it misses the chance to really make a huge statement. However Mr Goldberg might say that’s how he planned it. A story that still manages to raise one or two striking social and ethical points.

The Walk is out now and published by Five Star.

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