Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd (Bloomsbury)

by Patrick O'Connor


ONE of the few decent things on British television over the Christmas period was a 1940s spy thriller called Restless, adapted from a book written by the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter William Boyd.

It was such a cracking yarn that I sought out another Boyd offering, Ordinary Thunderstorms.

Although the setting was modern day, once again there was a bagful of suspense and intrigue to keep the reader engaged.

Whilst in London for a job interview, climatologist Adam Kindred has an innocent encounter with a stranger in an Italian restaurant in Chelsea.

This sets off a chain reaction which sees Adam pursued by the police and a merciless hitman. Unbeknown to him, he has entered the murky world of pharmaceutical giants and he has to go on the run.

This leads him to the underbelly of London, a world of down-and-outs, the homeless, drug dealers and prostitutes.

With the hitman always only one just stride behind him, Adam has to reinvent himself which is no easy task in a society obsessed with data, records and form-filling.

The author skilfully maintains the pace pace throughout the book as Adam uncovers a web of deceit and greed, whilst also finding time for a spot of romance with a policewoman.

Much of the action is centred around the River Thames and the Embankment area and Ordinary Thunderstorms is a great read. Prime candidate for another TV adaptation, methinks.