There really are lots and lots of such novels out there, a whole subgenre of "the end comes quietly" novels. It is my personal opinion that many of them are badly written, or written only to present a particular socio-political viewpoint with little in the way of actual worthwhile reading. That's just my take. But the Kunstler novel is one that I liked very much.
What if math teachers are really pirates and want us to find X so they can get the buried treasure