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8.4

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  285 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
The New Madrid Seismic Zone is 140 miles, stretching across five states. In 1811 and 1812 enormous earthquakes erupted along this zone, effecting 24 states, creating lakes in Tennessee and causing the Mississippi River to run backward. In Peter Hernon’s 8.4 the New Madrid awakens, threatening the country with systematic collapse in a chillingly plausible case of history ...more
Paperback, 460 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Jove (first published February 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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J.D.
Jun 30, 2014 J.D. rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Not sure how to review this book. At times I thought "4 stars" and other times I thought "2 stars" so it ended up with 3 stars :) It all boils down to being a very good book in need of a lot of editing. I live near the NMSZ so the story line was interesting in that it's scary such a huge earthquake took place near here. It was a fun read in "a disaster movie" way. The problem for me was the continuity. It switched back and forth between characters in different places and at the same time went ...more
Hilary
Oct 08, 2012 Hilary rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, thriller
What happens when the huge earthquakes that rocked the New Madrid fault 2 centuries ago happen again? That's the question founding this book. Unlike some of the disaster movies (one of which did use a similar technique at one point) this one actually seems based in real science. The scientists don't all agree, even those who have a working theory can't be certain, and in the meantime over 12,000 are injured or dead and another earthquake seems possible...

The diagrams and maps were a good additio
...more
Joan Horkey
May 25, 2014 Joan Horkey rated it really liked it
Very suspenseful. Reminded me of Michael Crichton's books.
Solaris
Nov 22, 2016 Solaris rated it it was amazing
OMFG this book is so good! Not just for us geology nerds! Everyone would love this!!
The science part of this book is easy to understand--give it a try. Excellent natural disaster thriller.
Lora Shouse
Nov 04, 2015 Lora Shouse rated it it was amazing
This book is the story of an earthquake. Several earthquakes. A lot of earthquakes, actually. It is what you would call a 'thriller,' and for me was particularly scary because the action is so close to home. Instead of a California earthquake, this story covers a what-might-happen scenario for a really big earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone.

John Atkins, out on field trips while on a visit to a friend who works at the Center for Earthquake Studies at the University of Memphis, observes str
...more
Stephen
May 25, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it
San Andreas? You want a real earthquake, son, you come to Tennessee. In America's heartland lies a currently-quiescent fault, the New Madrid Seismic Zone. In the early 19th century a series of three massive earthquakes rolled the Mississippi River region, the most powerful quakes recorded in American history. In 8.4., it happens again.....but instead of scaring the coon-skin caps off of hunters and making the cows go crazy in the frontier, it devastates cities. It doesn't just give them a bad ...more
SiennaB!
Jul 30, 2014 SiennaB! rated it liked it
this book was an odd mix of engaging tedium. published in the late 90's, it's very much behind the times technologically, but that isn't a huge barrier to enjoying the book. the characters use cell phones occasionally and they have laptops, but the tech is very new and a very small part of the story. the explanation of Global Positioning System gets tired after the third or fourth time, but i'll cut the author a break on that because it's new as he's writing his story.

the actual earthquake scene
...more
Zora
Jan 11, 2013 Zora rated it liked it
3.5 Stars, but I called it 3. To address first the issue of how much science is in here--just enough, and it's well researched and explained. If you've taken a community college or low-end state university freshman geology survey course, you'll know it all. If you live in Coastal California, you'll probably know it all already, too. And if you don't know it all, it's well-explained in the book. There are even maps, charts, and diagrams, which I thought was a cool addition.

This is a competently w
...more
Fen
Jan 10, 2011 Fen rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
I'm a big fan of disaster movies and, as such, I don't necessarily require a great deal of realism from the genre... but what I would like to see is, well, action. And there's way too little of it in this book. I should also add that I've had a lifelong interest in geology and seismology (having lived in a variety of geologically interesting places as a child) and even I got bored during the seemingly endless scientific explanations. They were all very nice, I'm sure, but really not what I was ...more
CatBookMom
This book is about what might happen if the New Madrid Fault in SE Missouri were to suffer an earthquake. It is a real geologic fault line, but it has been largely quiet since the early 1800s. It runs a long way through the center of the US, north and south right along the Mississippi River and across heavily-settled areas that are not equipped to deal with earthquakes. When it last registered a serious quake, the effects were felt as far away as Chicago and Pittsburgh.

This book will have you s
...more
Peggy
Jul 19, 2010 Peggy rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, although there was a lot of scietific stuff I didn't understand. I had read accounts of the 1811-12 New Madrid earthquakes, so this was interesting to me. It is about the faults of New Madrid becoming active again, and setting off 3 major earthquakes, the biggest is 8.4 magnitude. This devistates most of the middle of the United States. Places like Memphis, ST. Louis, Louisville and Cincinnati are almonst completly detroyed.

Scientists are afraid an even bigger quake is abou
...more
A~
Feb 05, 2016 A~ rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, pdf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leslie Mesmer
This book was about an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line.
It read like a made for TV movie. Pretty predictable.
I did enjoy the fact that the author did research the subject and actually was very informative on not only then details on the 1911-1912 New Madrid earthquake but also covered details on mines. He also covered what seismologists do and how they compute the info.
What knocked this book down to a 3 was the fact that the author would build a storyline and then just kind of drop i
...more
Krista
Jun 20, 2015 Krista rated it it was ok
A decent "disaster" novel. I was looking for some light summer reading and this fit the bill, although it dragged in parts and could have used a better editor. I noticed that a lot of descriptions and scientific definitions were repeated almost verbatim from one chapter to the next, as though the author thought the reader would forget if not constantly reminded what the geologic terms meant. The book started out strong, and I would have given it 3.5 stars, but by the end I didn't care what ...more
Stephen
Dec 27, 2013 Stephen rated it liked it
This is a good book. It can get a little choppy and super technical much of the time, but it makes a great read for someone who wants to know the technical aspects. While it is the authors' idea of what an 8.4 earthquake would do to the New Madrid fault line and not a factual report, it does give an idea of what we might be facing one day. The fact is that the New Madrid will go one day. Minor earthquakes have been felt as far as Harrison and Eureka Springs, AR. It is a good question as to what ...more
Linda
Jun 21, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
Living in the area that would be affected by this earthquake, I found this book extremely interesting. A lot of the book was way to technical for me, but I was totally involved in the unfolding of the story. It would have been a 4* except of the technical aspect. My only complaint was that there were a couple of things that didn't wrap up to suit me, one being the actions taken by the Kentucky governor.
Ernie Hungerford
Dazzling scientific details are what make 8.4 a truly great book. The plot is based in reality and clearly a lot of good research. Big midwestern earthquakes like the one in 8.4 happened in the past and there's a good chance they will happen again. This is the thrill and chill of 8.4. It's very scary and anyone who lives along the New Madrid fault line will read these pages very carefully.
Layne
Nov 21, 2012 Layne rated it did not like it
Not very good. The book couldn't decide if it's a action movie script or a text book. And the characters keep doing improbable things and they pop up in odd places in the story line. I gave up and finally just read the last few chapters.
Jennifer Morefield
Jan 09, 2016 Jennifer Morefield rated it liked it
A good story but a bit unbelievable. I don't often read survival type stories. I enjoyed the fight w/nature and battle against time. I also enjoyed learning about volcanoes. I had a hard time with a nuclear bomb being used to prevent another earthquake. Fairly good story but a bit far-fetched.
Aljan
Jan 17, 2016 Aljan rated it liked it
Mediocre. Just go and watch the movie Armageddon instead. This is the same story. Swap a killer meteor for an earthquake. Shake (pun totally intended) the characters around a bit and vwalha - 8.4. Tedious and overdone in the places when it should have been peaking.
Marie
Jan 28, 2013 Marie added it
can't rate this as I didn't finish it, too boring to be honest, too much technical jargon, and that would be ok if it was a technical journal for research by I want a novel, and this isn't one for me.
Sheryl
Jun 03, 2015 Sheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many readers seem to think the book is too technical, but I can appreciate getting an education while reading fiction. It did bounce around a bit, but I still found it very enjoyable, informative, and fast moving enough to read more than once. I've read it at least twice, and I would read it again.
Walter Moss
Jan 10, 2016 Walter Moss rated it it was amazing
Very good book, especially if you live in the Midwest and could be affected by the New Madrid fault, hopefully we don't experience that in my lifetime but it's a good book that shows what could happen if we had an earthquake here
Roberta Morris
Apr 14, 2013 Roberta Morris rated it it was ok
The book would have been much better if there weren't so many earthquake 101 lessons repeated over and over throughout most chapters. The first few and the last few chapters of the book were the best.
Cheryl
Apr 05, 2010 Cheryl rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, dearreader
Enjoyed this one, though saying you enjoyed a book about death and destruction from an earthquake doesn't seem quite right. I like to read books set in locations with which I'm familiar. The narrative is a little heavy on technical info.
Tim Dunn
Aug 07, 2011 Tim Dunn rated it really liked it
You can picture the movie that someone might make of this movie....absolutely fantastic effects, assuming you have the imagination to go along with it. Not some literary work for the ages but a good, (cliche coming) rip roaring read.
Doug Meriwether
Sep 08, 2015 Doug Meriwether rated it liked it
Interesting book to read especially since I grew up in the area it is set in. Fairly scientifically accurate up until the last few chapters when it dissolves into a weird sci-fi situation.
Margareta
Apr 11, 2010 Margareta rated it it was amazing
Earthquakes-natural disaster. This book opened my eyes to a lot of info. about Madrid seismic zone.
Sarah
Jun 06, 2007 Sarah rated it liked it
Not fabulous literature, but an entertaining adventure/thriller. Also slightly unsettling because I live in the New Madrid fault zone. . .
Julia
Dec 09, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it
This book is about another earthquake on the New Madrid fault. I found it especially interesting (and frightening) since I am from that area of the country.
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