Runaway – Peter May – Review


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“In 1965, five teenage friends fled Glasgow for London to pursue their dream of musical stardom. Yet before year’s end three returned, and returned damaged.

In 2015, a brutal murder forces those three men, now in their sixties, to journey back to London and finally confront the dark truth they have run from for five decades.

Runaway is a crime novel covering fifty years of friendships solidified and severed, dreams shared and shattered and passions lit and extinguished; set against the backdrop of two unique and contrasting cities at two unique and contrasting periods of recent history.”

3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Midas PR and this is my honest review.

Jack Mackay is contacted by an old school friend. He is dying and want’s Jack to help him travel to London to right a wrong from 50 years ago. From a time when Jack and his school friends ran away from home, headed to London with the hopes of making it big with their band. Returning home a few months later with 2 less friends, lives irrevocably changed and secrets to keep.

This is the first book by Peter May I have read though I was aware of his previous novels including The Lewis Trilogy. Runaway appealed as I liked the sound of the duel setting of 1965 and 2015. Here the characters seemed more real, the lessons of life having been taken on board. The 17 year old boys were to some extent just that. They appeared naïve, unaware of the reality that would meet them when they arrived in the capital, of the dangers of the world outside their own safe, and to their eyes, boring, world at home in Scotland. The character that came to the fore was Jack, the 1965 world is narrated by him and the 2015 world centred around him. To some extent therefore the other characters didn’t appear as well rounded. The development of Ricky, Jack’s grandson, was one thing I would have liked to see more of, especially as more came to light as to what had exactly happened in 1965.

I easily found myself transported to the 60s when the story came to those scenes. I could easily imagine the sites and sounds, the sense of freedom and opportunity that was present. However I did enjoy the 2015 story more and found myself rushing through the 60s scenes. To be fair to the author, I think this had more to do with my impatience that the story. I started the book knowing that something had happened when the runaways were in London, and that the return by the men they had become was to do with that. I just wanted to find out what had happened so we could see what would happen.

I enjoyed the final third of the book much more than the rest. I sped through the book, seeing how things slotted into place. This isn’t really a crime novel, though a crime has taken place, nor is it a mystery, though there is a mystery to ‘solve’. It’s more a story of self-discovery and righting of wrongs. I’ll be interested to read more by Peter May and will be adding the Lewis Trilogy books to my wishlist.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I read the first in the Lewis Trilogy and though it was beautifully written it was just too slow for me.


    1. janetemson says:

      I think that was the trouble with this. It was a bit slow on the build up, which is probably why I found myself reading the last part faster, given I knew things would be revealed.


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