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Experiencing a major earthquake in the Los Angeles basin would be traumatic for anyone, but the shock is compounded for British woman Gina when it coincides with a crisis in the thirteen-year marriage to her husband Conrad. The moment of the earthquake acts as an ‘epicenter’ for the novel, from which it moves both backwards and forwards in time. From Conrad’s point of view it reaches back to his undergraduate days in England, the beginnings of his relationship with Gina, his youthful experiments with sex and religion and the consequences of these explorations. From Gina’s point of view it reaches forward to her experiences in the immediate aftermath of the ‘quake, as her vulnerable state makes her easy prey for a cult. Her experiences of both violence and kindness, however, enable her to come to a new understanding of both her beliefs and her past behavior. Conrad is leaving his wife because he believes she has betrayed him, and undermined the foundations on which their marriage is built. His belief is built on false assumptions: but can Gina come sufficiently to terms with her actions to be able to tell him the truth?

Here's an extract...

We dance in a rough circle, heads down, hair flying, necks jerking spasmodically to a beat that resounds up from the floorboards, every pulse a miniature earthquake reverberating straight through our bones and into our skulls. We’re angels, moshing to a demonic beat, or maybe we’re fiends, slamming to the music of the spheres. Each one of us is in his own private world but also, through the medium of the music, utterly connected.  It’s early and the club hasn’t really warmed up yet, so there’s room on the dance floor to do this.


Nevertheless, there’s already sweat flying every which way, treboucheted off the ends of locks of long, untamed hair as it whips around our heads. It’s one of the advantages to dancing in a ring like this: unless someone decides to break tradition and swing his head from side to side instead of up and down, you’re fairly unlikely to get a face-full of someone else’s sweaty hair. Later in the evening the dance floor will have become one big mosh pit and there will be hair whipping around in all directions, but it won’t matter because the sweat will be dripping off the ceiling by then and we’ll be too shit-faced to care anyway.


We were drinking in the pub before the club opened, and we’ve been pouring a steady succession of beers down our necks in the short time we’ve been here, so we’re pretty much approaching the right state of mind for a good, long evening. If we can prevent the drivers from drinking too much to be able to drive us back to Bath (the Bath heavy metal scene is kind of limited, so if we want a night out we head over to Bristol, which is what counts for big city lights here in the South-West of England), and if we can stop Ade from getting belligerent and starting a fight, it could be an excellent evening. I know that my neck is going to hurt like buggery tomorrow from all the headbanging, but I probably won’t even notice it through the hangover, so fuck it, who cares.