Thursday, 14 January 2016

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

If you think William Boyd’s novel Ordinary Thunderstorms tackles the thorny topic of climate change, you’re in for a surprise. Yes its protagonist, Adam Kindred (now there’s a suggestive name), is a climatologist, but this title is a metaphor: ordinary thunderstorms are storms that have ‘the capacity to transform themselves into multi-cell storms of ever growing complexity’. Rather like this plot.

Adam arrives in London from the States for a job interview when he chances upon another scientist in a restaurant. Dr Wang leaves behind a file of documents labelled with his home address, but when Adam arrives at Wang’s flat, he finds a dying man intent that Adam keeps the file safe, and a murderer still on the loose. Adam finds himself on the run, sleeping rough and leading a continually surprising hand-to-mouth existence, while he slowly pieces together the events that led up to Wang’s death.

The reader is treated to a nail-biting plot with a blinder of an ending, and a cast of intriguing and varyingly dodgy characters. At the heart of the story is a power play in a pharmaceutical company, but story threads involving the criminal underworld, a non-conformist church and the river police keep you well amused. Boyd’s novel is brilliantly paced, his characters leap off the page and the prose is mesmerising. Definitely a book that ticks all the boxes – available in print or ebook too.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link (print copy): Ordinary Thunderstorms
Catalogue link (ebook): Ordinary Thunderstorms

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