Sebastian and Gale relocated from California to Missouri so that Gale, an engineer, could further his career in earthquake preparation, but the couple is miserable in their conservative little town. Gale is making no headway in convincing officials to strengthen building codes, despite the town’s location on the New Madrid fault, while Bash, a chemotherapy nurse, is coping not only with sick patients, but a disagreeable coworker who specializes in patronizing superiority. Each exists in their own miserable bubble … until tectonic plates inevitably slide and the fault produces a massive earthquake that devastates the town.
Both men are thrown into action — Gale heading the Emergency Operations Center outside the demolished City Hall, while Bash sets up a makeshift ER in a parking lot, since the hospital — and everyone inside — has vanished in a cloud of dust and mortar. The next few days are spent in an exhausted frenzy of triage, red tape, and crisis resolution — including assuming parental responsibilities for two teenaged girls whose mother is nowhere to be found — but a bigoted father pushes Bash and Gale into danger that overshadows a blighted river, sand blows, food and drug thieves, ruptured roads, and shattered structures. Quake is a compelling novel that entices readers with disaster and holds them with riveting personal drama.