Ladies' Night (book)

Ladies' Night (book)

"Ladies' Night" (2000), is a horror novel by Jack Ketchum. The novel is reminiscent of survival movies such as "Night of the Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead" since it deals with survival in extreme urban circumstances. It contains extremely violent scenes including infanticide, genital dismemberment, and tons of gruesomely clear descriptions of the killings.


The novel takes place one summer in the City of New York. The cause of the later slaughters and chaos appears to be discovered in the first short chapter of the novel. A large truck carrying some type of chemical was badly damaged in an accident with a small car, and its contents it was carrying ends up all over the street. The trucker has fake identification, and no one seems to have heard of the company name on the truck, "Ladies, INC." The smell of the chemicals is reminiscent of cherry lollipops most of the adults in the story enjoyed as kids.

After this introduction, the protagonist of the story, Tom Braun is brought in. Tom is an unfaithful husband to Susan and father to Andy. Soon after Andy was born, Tom had begun having affairs since he felt he was too young to be a father. He and Susan are attending a party for all of the residents in the building they live in. Also in attendance is Elizabeth, who appears to be a friend of the Brauns. However, Susan and Tom get into a shouting match later since Susan suspects Tom of lusting after Elizabeth, which is, in fact, true, but Tom has never done more than thought about it. In the meantime, Andy hears this arguing and retreats to his room to pack for a scout camping trip.

After Tom leaves the apartment for the night, women in the town, including his wife, all begin to have quite painful headaches followed by an unusually strong need to have sex with just about any man within a five-foot radius. At the bar Tom visits, the bartender appears to be the only man to see the impending doom, and once it starts, it gets worse and worse.

The chemicals appeared to have changed those women in New York who smelled it into bloodthirsty killers who possess no feelings other than those to kill all who are not like them. No one else is safe. The killings become more and more gruesome. Women kill their children, husbands, brothers, etc, and the few remaining men and women are all but helpless to stop them.

As Tom fights with a small band of men to make it home to Andy, what is left of Susan is trying to first mate with her son, then kill him. He hides in a bathroom until Elizabeth (not affected by the chemicals since she was on an airplane) unknowingly saves his life by knocking on the door. She is then attacked by Susan and all remaining crazed women on the floor. Tom makes it home seriously wounded but manages to kill his wife before she can kill their son. However, Tom is killed by a cleaver to the head courtesy of his wife before she dies. Andy shoots arrows for his camping trip into Susan to make sure she does not recuperate from her injuries.

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