Runaway 1

by Peter May

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 13/01/2015

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
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..
Crime & Mystery
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Quercus Publishing
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
Peter May

Peter May was born and raised in Scotland. He was an award-winning journalist at the age of twenty-one and a published novelist at twenty-six. When his first book was adapted as a major drama series for the BCC, he quit journalism and during the high-octane fifteen years that followed, became one of Scotland's most successful television dramatists.

He created three prime-time drama series, presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland as script editor and producer, and worked on more than 1,000 episodes of ratings-topping drama before deciding to leave television to return to his first love, writing novels.

He has won several literature awards in France, received the USA's Barry Award for The Blackhouse, the first in his internationally bestselling Lewis Trilogy; and in 2014 was awarded the ITV Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year award for Entry Island. Peter now lives in South-West France with his wife, writer Janice Hally.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • an exceptional read

    by on

    “Regret is such a waste of energy. You can’t undo what’s been done. But every new day offers the chance to shape it in the way you want”

    Runaway is the seventh stand-alone novel by Scottish journalist, screenwriter and author, Peter May. When seventeen-year-old Jack MacKay makes a sudden decision, in 1965, to escape Glasgow and head for London, he is surprised that his four friends are ready to drop everything and become a runaway too. Each has his own reasons, but all are convinced their band, The Shuffle, can make it big in the Big Smoke. But events don’t follow the script they have written: some months later, Jack and two of the band return to Glasgow to nurse their emotional (and physical) wounds.

    In 2015, the three lads, now in their late sixties, are brought together again by the report of a murder in London. In response to the near-death demand of one of their number, they are heading south again to face up to the shocking events that, fifty years before, shaped their lives, in Jack’s case, for the worse: “…his own sad story was so painfully stark that all the regrets of his life came flooding back to very nearly drown him. All the missed opportunities and squandered chances….. His unrealised dream of becoming a professional musician. Dropping out of university. Settling always for second best, because that was the path of least resistance. Leaving him now, in his late sixties, widowed and alone, treading the boards in the role of a non-speaking extra until it was his turn to exit the stage”

    May runs the two narratives in tandem: events in 1965 are told by Jack in the first person; those in 2015, in the third person. They have various elements in common: runaways using “borrowed” vehicles; pursuit by disapproving family; diversions off the A74; an inconvenient loss of goods and transport through theft; and a certain money belt. May perfectly evokes the feel of the times, both the sixties and the present day. His wide-eyed, naïve lads and his cranky old men are completely convincing, his pacing is faultless and his plot twists are brilliantly conceived. The banter between the characters has a genuine feel and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments on both road trips.

    May gives the reader some marvellous prose and his descriptions are beautifully evocative: “…I grew up in Glasgow in the fifties and sixties, two decades that morphed from sepia to psychedelic before my very eyes as I segued from childhood to adolescence” is one example. While readers of a certain vintage will enjoy the nostalgia, fans of May’s work will not be disappointed, and new readers are sure to seek out his backlist. Funny, moving, and thought-provoking, this is an exceptional read.
    With thanks to The Reading Room and Hachette Australia for this copy to read and review.