It doesn't necessarily imply destruction or anything negative. Its original meaning is the point on the earth below the nuclear explosion, but it can also be used with reference to an "explosion" of activity such as commerce, industry etc.
: the point on the earth's surface directly above, below, or at which
an explosion (especially a nuclear explosion) occurs
: the central point in an area of fast change or intense activity
: the beginning state or starting point
So, describing a city as "ground zero for the insurance industry" could mean that a lot of insurance companies started there, or are based there now - like describing Broadway as the "ground zero of American theatre".
Conversely, it could mean that's where some sort of metaphorical bomb went off in the insurance industry, forcing lots of companies out of business due to a flood of unexpected claims.
The question about the book series is too opinion-based to have any worth, but FWIW I'd imagine it was some kind of thriller set around a potential nuclear explosion in a major city, OR a non-fiction book about the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.