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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two reviews in one: Hush by Kate White and Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

Isn’t it odd, how similar things often appear simultaneously? Remember that "disaster summer" at the movies, Deep Impact and Armageddon? It seems like I inadvertently read similar books near the same time too. Two such books, which I probably should review individually, (but heck..it’s my blog and I’ll double up is I want to) were Hush by Kate White and Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd.

In both of these books, the protagonists were placed in unlikely situations and then behaved in an idiotic manner. In Ordinary Thunderstorms, the hero, Adam Kindred, is in London for a job interview. Feeling good about his future, he’s having dinner alone when he strikes up a conversation with a fellow diner. Based on this chance encounter, Adam is soon on the run from the police; the primary suspect in a murder.

The main character in Hush, Lake Warren is feeling pretty low. She has just discovered that her husband, who she has only been separated from for a few months, is suing for full custody of her kids. With her kids away at camp, she is the marketing consultant at an infertility clinic. One evening, after an office get-together, she goes home with a clinic doctor who had been flirting with her. Upon waking in the morning, in a strange apartment, she is horrified to discover her one-night-stand has been murdered; his throat slashed. Based on this encounter, Lake is immersed in a game of cat and mouse with the unknown killer, and fearing she will come under suspicion by the police.

Okay, I know, it sounds like I’m really stretching to compare these two books. But they just felt similar to me. Both protagonists were, in a word, idiots. Both authors justified the characters moronic choices. I’ll admit, I’ve never woke up in an apartment with a man whose throat has been slashed while my soon-to-be ex is threatening to take my kids. And I’ve never visited London, attempted to return a forgotten file to a fellow customer from a diner, walked into his hotel room through door left ajar and found him murdered. Perhaps if these situations occurred to me, I’d be an idiot too. But I’d like to think I’d call the police in the first instance, and leave the damn file at the reception desk in the second. Supposing I was momentarily flummoxed and made all the wrong choices, and now thought I was in deep trouble. I’d still like to think I’d be smart enough to find a lawyer and talk to the police. Boyd's scenario in Ordinary Thunderstorms was a bit more plausible, but was still pretty darned surreal.

As you can tell, I wasn’t too impressed with either book. I wanted to smack Lake Warren upside her privileged spoiled head for the stupid things she did. And by the time the book concluded, I just didn’t really care who the crazy killer was. Yep, it was a little bit of a surprise, I didn’t peg the killer early on, but I didn’t really try. I just didn’t care all that much. And although Adam Kindred was a more interesting character, I didn’t have much patience with his choice to become a homeless bum in London instead of talking to the police. Both of their choices just made me think, “Really? Seriously? What the hell is wrong with these people??”

(Review copies provided by Harper Collins)

My rating (for both books) :


bermudaonion said...

I would probably be talking to the characters in those books! LOL Sorry they didn't work for you.

Cackleberry Homestead said...

I read Hush and liked it. I do agree with you that Lake made some idiotic decisions. I'm intrigued by Ordinary Thunderstorms now. Maybe I like idiotic characters ;)

Greg Zimmerman said...

I'd always wondered if Boyd was decent - I've had Any Human Heart on my shelf for a LONG time. Sounds like, from your great review, I should start with that one and skip Ordinary Thunderstorms.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! Not caring about the killer's identity is a very bad sign.

http://tearingdownvsbuildingup.wordpress.com said...

Although the plot is hardly original, White does a capable job of generating enough suspense to keep us turning the pages. In addition, she makes us care about Lake's predicament, insuring that we will stick around to see how she extricates herself from this gigantic mess. "Hush" is a quick, painless, and undemanding read, perfect for an afternoon or two of escapist pleasure.