It is May in Chelsea, London. The glittering river is unusually high on an otherwise ordinary afternoon. Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, ambles along the Embankment, admiring the view. He is pleasantly surprised to come across a little Italian bistro down a leafy side street. During his meal he strikes up a ...
It is May in Chelsea, London. The glittering river is unusually high on an otherwise ordinary afternoon. Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, ambles along the Embankment, admiring the view. He is pleasantly surprised to come across a little Italian bistro down a leafy side street. During his meal he strikes up a conversation with a solitary diner at the next table, who leaves soon afterwards. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents through which Adam will lose everything - home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, mobile phone - never to get them back. The police are searching for him. There is a reward for his capture. A hired killer is stalking him. He is alone and anonymous in a huge, pitiless modern city. Adam has nowhere to go but down - underground. He decides to join that vast army of the disappeared and the missing that throng London's lowest levels as he tries to figure out what to do with his life and struggles to understand the forces that have made it unravel so spectacularly. His quest will take him all along the River Thames, from affluent Chelsea to the sink estates of the East End, and on the way he will encounter all manner of London's denizens - aristocrats, prostitutes, evangelists and policewomen amongst them - and version after new version of himself. William Boyd's electric follow-up to Costa Novel of the Year Restless is a heart-in-mouth conspiracy novel about the fragility of social identity, the corruption at the heart of big business, and the secrets that lie hidden in the filthy underbelly of everyday city.
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IMHO William Boyd has produced a magnificent body of work until now. With "Ordinary Thunderstorms" something else has happened. The plot is the problem. Generally I have no difficulty believing in corporate greed and criminality but this just didn't seem convincing nor many of the reactions of the hero. I wanted to believe.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-12-21 Whitbread-winner Boyd (A Good Man in Africa) ventures into thriller territory with this fast-paced Hitchcockian wrong-man whodunit. While in London interviewing for an academic posting, climatologist Adam Kindred, by chance, meets immunologist Philip Wang at a restaurant. When Wang leaves a folder full of papers behind, Adam tries to return them to Wang's flat only to find the man's bloody corpse-and to leave evidence of his visit all over. Fearful of pursuing police and a persistent hired assassin, Adam flees with Wang's papers and goes underground. Meanwhile, at Wang's pharmaceutical company, the CEO uncovers a coup brewing to oust him and rush to market the anti-allergy drug Wang hadn't yet finished testing and for which the missing papers are crucial data. The disparate story lines eventually weave a competently plotted tale of corporate and criminal skullduggery that bows under the weight of improbable coincidences and stock characters. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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