Amy Reads Books

Ordinary Thunderstorms

Ordinary Thunderstorms - William Boyd 3.5 StarsI first came across William Boyd when I fell in love with the television adaptation of his novel Any Human Heart, and recently bought Waiting for Sunrise but still haven't quite gotten round to actually reading Any Human Heart in novel format. However, when I was on holiday my Mum leant me her Kindle and I found Ordinary Thunderstorms on it. I had zero idea what it was going to be about, and I did quite enjoy it, despite having no idea what was coming.Adam Kindred is a fairly innocent guy who manages to get stuck in the very wrong place at the worst possible time, finding himself becoming framed for the murder of a pharmacist who was working on the cure for asthma. When this event makes Adam go underground, the novel also begins to reveal the shady goings on at the pharmaceutics company that the pharmacist, Philip Wang, was working for. Boyd's prose is incredibly pacey, and he builds the thriller aspects of the novel really well.Boyd tells the story of Ordinary Thunderstorms through the point of views of Adam, Rita who is a police officer, Jonjo who works in private security and Ingram the hapless CEO of a pharmaceutical company. He manages to give all four of these characters a unique voice and characterisation. All of them were multi-faceted characters; for instance, I started by really feeling sorry for Adam for being stuck in such a predicament, but as the novel progressed some of his actions just made me feel incredibly frustrated as he put other people at risk with seemingly little care. Also, I really disliked Jonjo, his behaviour just came across as hideously barbaric, but with the reveal of some of his back story his character becomes an example of the numerous ex-servicemen who struggle to adjust to life in 'normal' society. My only real problem with some of the characterisation was the fact that a lot of the poverty-stricken characters were portrayed in a less than sympathetic manner.That being said, Boyd crafts the story really well, gradually building tension really well. The mystery around the pharmaceutical company interested me less than the issues that Boyd puts forward through describing the issues that are faced by many people in crippling poverty. The idea of getting so deep into a mess that you become unable to be the person you actually are is really chilling, I could not imagine having to give up my entire life and become a totally different person. Ordinary Thunderstorms is a pretty solid thriller, and its ending did not leave me feeling at all content for the characters. It has made me really very excited to reading his other novels I have.