Ordinary Thunderstorms is a novel which certainly isn’t lacking in momentum, wasting little time in diving into its fast paced narrative. With an assortment of colourful characters, drawn from all parts of London society, this is quite a different read compared to Boyd’s other novels. Though any thriller faces the potential of being labeled as being somewhat commercialised, Ordinary Thunderstorms is still absorbingly fast paced, varied and highly gripping.
The narrative follows the rapidly uncoiling life of Adam Kindred, an American climatologist applying for a new job in England. With a series of ill-fortune events immediately unfolding at a whirlwind pace, Kindred is cast from a stable career into the cruel depths of the London underground, where it soon becomes clear that his interview results are to be the least of his worries. Boyd traces the terrifying consequences of a second’s mistake in a ‘wrong-time-wrong-place’ of immense proportions, the likes of which could affect anyone caught in a similar situation. Whilst at first the novel did feel a little rushed at its onset, with Kindred seeming to settle rather quickly into his newly up-ended life, the series of imaginative characters and events that emerge throughout soon leave little time for second guessing or doubt. Kindred is indeed quickly drawn ever further into a thrilling web of confusion, violence and deceit, the likes of which will shake his very existence to its core.
From the exhaustively wealthy to the desperately poor, the overly eccentric to the sorrowfully ordinary, it is indeed this variety of characters which makes this novel as entertaining as it is. Boyd has clearly lent considerable time and research into the different dialects present within the expansive population of modern day London, using phonetics and colloquialisms to truly immerse the reader in the characters at hand. Despite being a thriller predominantly based within the cruellest dregs of London society, Boyd’s love of art, cuisine and culture are still considerably hinted at throughout. Balancing his usual literary elegance with the rougher parts of linguistics, Ordinary Thunderstorms boasts a pleasurable subtle sophistication, singling it out from among the plethora of thrillers abundant today.
Length: 403 (Bloomsbury)
Overall Rating: 4 stars
Like the sound of this? Purchase it now from Amazon.