Panicking, he decides, more or less, to go on the lam, settling down for the night and, it proves, many nights after on a secluded patch of waste ground near Chelsea Bridge. Then things really get dicey. By the time this story has run its obstacle-strewn course, Adam Kindred manages to acquire a couple of brand-new identities and two new homes that are at least marginal improvements over his initial open-air accommodations: he first moves in to an extremely seedy and dangerous housing estate, where he cohabits with a prostitute and her small son; later, to slightly posher digs, briefly shared with a cheerful drug fiend.
They are dark indeed. It also leads him, after a few rugged weeks, to a startling realization.
His novels are dense with fugitives and impostors, people in full, panicked flight from lives that have become too burdensome and messy. In this new novel, he seems to have set out to write a Ruth Rendell story, in which stubborn character defects turn deadly under the pressure of mistaken perception and brutal coincidence. There is a reward for his capture. A hired killer is stalking him.
Ordinary Thunderstorms - William Boyd - - Allen & Unwin - Australia
He is alone and anonymous in the huge, pitiless modern city. Adam has nowhere to go buy down - underground. He decides to join that vast army of the disappeared and the missing that throng the lowest level of London's populations 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 encounters all manner of London's denizens - aristocrats, prostitutes, priests and policewomen amongst them - and version after new version of himself.
William Boyd's electric follow up to Restless is a heart-in-mouth conspiracy novel about the fragility of social identity, the scandal of big business, and the secrets that lie hidden in the filthy underbelly of every city.
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More books by this author. Wang accidentally leaves behind a clear plastic folder. It contains work-related information and a business card, stating that Dr. It also notes that he is staying at Boleyn House on nearby Sloane Avenue. Adam telephones, and a grateful Wang accepts his offer to return the file, ending the conversation with, "There's someone at the door.
When Adam arrives at Boleyn House, the door to the flat is ajar.
Wang is in bed, alive, but lying in a pool of blood, with a knife in his side. Conscious, but badly beaten, he asks Adam to pull out the knife. In the urgency of the moment, Adam does this, blood spilling over his hands. Wang asks about the file, saying, "whatever you do, don't …" He then dies. From that moment, Adam is a hunted man, living rough under the Chelsea Bridge, unable to use his credit cards or mobile phone lest he be detected.
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His life spirals downward as the cast of characters expands. Everyone is looking for Adam Kindred: police, assorted Big Pharma nasties and JonJo Case, one of modern literature's scarier and more repellent killers. Case, whose first name could be "Nut," is a post-military hired mercenary, addicted to the rush provided by murdering and maiming.
Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd: review
His buzz is also very lucrative. The many libris personae include Ingram Fryzer, titular head of the megapharmaceutical company, who enjoys not wearing what he calls "underpants" beneath bespoke suits; his brother-in-law, Lord Ivo Redcastle, a beautiful-but-dumb Annabel's b-list airhead, and Alfredo Rilke, the Nazoid power behind Calenture-Deutz, the killing of Wang and hunting of Adam. Ordinary Thunderstorms , a thriller, possesses the twists and paranoia of the genre, with necessity transforming Adam into a creature he'd not met before, nor ever expected to meet.
Mirroring F. Scott Fitzgerald's description of madness, this newborn river-rat develops "the resourcefulness of water" - feeding, housing, clothing himself - hiding in plain sight with skills known to street people everywhere. I love reading Boyd, but, though I engaged with this book, the enormous cast and hairpin turns did occasionally produce clutter-based exhaustion. He always has a three-by-five-card-style skill for gathering up individual strands.
Here, one can sometimes see the cards.