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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  2,990 ratings  ·  353 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
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Quercus Publishing (first published 2015)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,990 ratings  ·  353 reviews

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The final straw for young seventeen year old teenager Jack MacKay was his expulsion from school after a particular incident at a school dance. He was a member of the group Shuffle with friends Maurie, Luke, Dave and Jeff; their great love of the music of the 60s stirred a longing of their own – at fifteen Jack had formed Shuffle and they hadn’t looked back. But being expelled from school proved to be the catalyst in his life – running away from his home in Glasgow to London was his idea; his fri ...more
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
As much as it pains me to draw on the words of Forrest Gump, Peter May’s writing is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you’re going to get. From the brilliant Enzo Files series, to the China thrillers, to, the wonderful Hebridean trilogy, and the haunting standalone Entry Island, May consistently demonstrates his flexibility as a writer, instilling total belief in his characters and locations for us gentle readers. Runaway proves itself an excellent addition to his multifarious back c ...more
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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, T
Alex Cantone
‘I always thought’ (Ricky) said, ‘I don’t know why…but I always thought that, you know, old people were just annoying.’

Runaway opens in 2015 with a murder in a downmarket room in London. Few would remember the name of the aging victim, former actor, Simon Flet, except Maurie. Fifty years earlier five starry-eyed 17-year-olds playing in a band together, were runaways from Glasgow, following their dream of finding fortune in Swinging Sixties London.

Now, as he lies dying of cancer in a Glasgow hosp
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scottish-authors

This was absolutely fantastic.
The plot takes place on two separate timelines, 1965 and 2015.
As a baby boomer in his late teens in 1965 this part of the plot resonated so strongly for me. It so replicated my own life it could have been my biography. But my experience of the 1965s was a lot less traumatic than the young men in this story, I am glad to say.
Five very young men, disillusioned with life in Glasgow, decide to leave home and seek fame and fortune in London. Just a note left, for unsusp
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
A remarkable read! A well-constructed narrative that deals with two time settings, the earlier time frame – the late 1960’s – Glasgow and London and events there that had far reaching implications for all those involved and then the decision to revisit the past; in all its glory, with its downfalls, its sadness, naivety, bleakness and the loves, friendships and hope. 2015 sees the world through aging eyes and rights still have to be made, restitution paid. Crimes have been committed. The scales ...more
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hit the road, Jack...

When Jack Mackay is expelled from school, he decides to run away to London. He tells his friends, the other four members of the band he plays in, and they decide to go with him – partly to get away from problems in their own lives, and partly to seek fame and fortune. It's 1965, and London is swinging – the place to be for all aspiring musicians. But it's also a place where young people can find themselves manipulated and used, and caught up in events they can't control. And
Cathy Ryan
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beginning with a murder in 2015, both murderer and victim’s identities initially unknown, it forces three friends to face the events that determined the path their lives would take fifty years ago.

Glasgow 2015 and Jack Mackay is visiting his old friend Maurie at the latter’s request. They’ve been friends since they were boys but haven’t seen each other for years, and now Maurie is dying. He wants Jack to take him to London. Someone from their past has been murdered and Maurie knows who kille
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plutôt 4,5/5
J’évite les lectures "violentes" d’habitude mais je ne regrette absolument pas celle-ci, qui parle de nostalgie, d’amitié, de regrets, du temps qui passe et des erreurs qui nous hantent toute la vie. Je le finis la gorge serrée. Mention spéciale pour l’aspect "road trip" et le contexte des 60’s, décrit de manière très évocatrice par l’auteur - on s’y croirait !
Cleo Bannister
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, crime, dual-time-zone
Jack MacKay narrates our story, told in part in 1965 when as a young lad he ran away from Glasgow with a group of friends to see if the streets of London were paved with gold. The boys were in a band and they were determined to make a name for themselves, all eager to see the bright lights and to remove themselves from various difficult situations. The gang was made up of a Jewish boy, a Jehovah Witness, A mechanic and Jack who'd just got himself expelled from school. In 2015 three of the same g ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mystery and a nice tale of friendships. In 1965, five young Scottish lads with dreams of fortune in the music industry run away to London. 50 years later, even if terminally ill, one of them urges them to go back once again. While they reminisce their brief but intense experiences on the road so long ago, the mystery of what happened to their tight group will be revealed.
The book, as you would expect, alternates between flashbacks, where the author brings back the pop culture, music and atmos
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
Peter May is one of my favorite writers. He is always able to tell a great story. I found this book to be a very adventurous read. The characters were believable as they told their story about their runaway trip to London in the 60's fifty years ago. The plot of solving a murder that happened in the 60's and traveling together once again made for a real page-turner. Add in a little history of Glasgow and London in the 60's and present day differences and you have a very worthwhile read. I would ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
[Warning: some smallish spoilers in paras 2 and 3]

Similar to the Lewis trilogy Peter May weaves a narrative over time and space, examining the same characters at two distant points in their lives and showing how the one influenced the other. But where May exquisitely links past and present in the Lewis books, Runaway is clunky, cliche ridden and forced.

In a show of distain for his reader, no sooner do our protagonists arrive at their destination, for example, do they bump into not one, but two
Jennifer (JC-S)
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
‘I’m thinking as straight as I’ve ever done,’ I said. “I’m going and I’m going tonight.’

In 1965 Jack Mackay is seventeen. When he’s expelled from school in Glasgow after a school dance, he decides that running away to London is a good idea. Jack and his friends, Maurie, Luke, Dave and Jeff are members of a band called ‘Shuffle’, and together they decide to abandon Glasgow for musical stardom in London.

In 2015 Jack Mackay is sixty-seven, living back in Glasgow, and haunted by memories from 1965.
This is a very quick read. It's described as a thriller but it's more of a "road story" with a group of friends making a journey to London in 1965 and again 50 years later in 2015. On both trips there are misadventures, sometimes downright scary. On the second trip, 2 of the friends aren't with them, having stayed in London 50 years before. A lot happens in the last 10 pages which neatly wrap up the story and make it a thriller.
Deborah Pickstone
4.5 stars

I wavered as I began this but became utterly enmeshed. I thought the shift from the old men going back to the young bucks of the 1960s seeking individuality and back and forth through the book was an excellent device, with the addition of the young buck-that-really-wasn't attached to the old men and slowly coming alive and into focus as the story developed. I am much impressed by this storyteller.
Lino's Version
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Peter May
So do you remember where you were 50 years ago? These aging lads do – but they do not seem completely sure of how and why they have gotten to where they are.
Welcome to the convoluted world of these former band mates as we bounce between 1965 and 2015.

"Five of us had run away that fateful night just over a month before. Only three of us would be going home. And nothing, nothing would ever be the same again."

Glasgow, 1965. Headstrong teenager Jack Mackay cannot allow for even t
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it
The book begins with a murder in 2015. We don't know the identity of the killer or victim until much later in the book.

5 young men, age 17, have a band in Glasgow in 1965. They runaway from home with the hope of making a big success in the the London music scene. London is the center of a vibrant music, arts and fashion scene. ' The world changed from sepia to psychedelic'

Everything starts to go horribly wrong for them from the beginning of their road trip. Finally disillusioned, dirty and e
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Peter May has done it again. He’s created yet another thrilling read, one that pulls you in from the start until the end.

I’ve worked through most of his books now – I have Coffin Road and all except the first of the China Thrillers to catch up on (the list being longer than I’d like) – and I can honestly say I have yet to be disappointed. The Enzo Files weren’t quite what I had been hoping for, yet they were still fun. None of them have managed to live up to the brilliance of the Lewis trilogy,
Wendy Carlyle
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very different Peter May with semi autobiographical threads running through the story of five young men running away from Glasgow to London in the sixties. It took me a while to switch my head away from Lewis but I was then absorbed by the well researched sixties detail and the fates of the friends. I'm not convinced that it sustained through to the end but it is clearly a story which has been waiting to be told for some time and, in that respect, I was happy to be sitting in the van w ...more
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the second excellent book I have read in as many days. I thoroughly enjoyed the books I had previously read by this author and was eagerly looking forward to this book and wow. The book is so much more than a whodunit, it is full of great characters and lots of emotions. Peter May brings his characters to life and you feel every emotion while reading his books. I loved this book from start to finish and was sad when I actually finished it.
Tomáš Fojtik
Aug 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3
Mé hodnocení těsně po dočtení předtím, než seberu myšlenky k řádné "recenzi": Peter May na jednu stranu ukázal, že dokáže čtenáře přikovat ke knize, která je v zásadně dost nudná. Umí vyprávět příběh, přestože je příběh mimořádně strohý. Na druhou stranu od tohoto autora očekávám něco jiného; možná nespravedlivě ho mám ve škatulce autorů detektivek, nebo minimálně knih, kde je notná dávka napětí. To se zde nekoná. Je to vlastně knižní road-movie. Více později.
David Gilchrist
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me the best Peter May book to date, In places dark and intriguing. A social history. Very thought provoking and in many ways feels to be autobiographical in the writing Peter May will no doubt have left something of himself in this book. A deep well written story that shows the versatility of this author.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This one is for the men with memories of the 60's along with those dreams of making it with a band. Glasgow is where a group of teens grew up and meshed and from where they ran away to live a dream in London. There are bumps in the road and holes in their plans and resources, and from this telling I can't say there were any successes to report beyond that first youthful taste of freedom and intense feelings. After some difficult situations the group of friends returns to Glasgow minus two - one ...more
Antonina Kozłowska
Rok 1965. Pięciu nastolatków zakłada zespół muzyczny i postanawia uciec z Glasgow do Londynu, ale od samego początku wszystko idzie źle. 50 lat później, gdy w gazecie pojawi się artykuł o pewnym morderstwie, starzejący się i schorowani uczestnicy tamtej wyprawy wyruszą jeszcze raz, po swoich śladach sprzed lat, tropem tragicznych i zagadkowych wydarzeń z przeszłości.
Nie mam pojęcia czy to jest dobry kryminał, nie znam się :) ale na pewno jest to świetna książka o dorastaniu, przyjaźni, miłości -
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
The year is 1965 in Glascow Scotland. Jack MacKay has been expelled from school. He decides to run away to London. His band mates named The Shuffle decide to run away with him. This decision changes their lives forever. They experience more in a little over a month than most people would experience in a life time.

The year is 2015. A grisly murder has occurred in London. Maurie who is terminally ill tells Jack as he want to return to London as this murder was tied to their time there. He knows wh
Pamela Scott
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: peter-may
I was given an advance review copy by Midas Public Relations in exchange for an honest review.

This was my first time reading Peter May. I now have an author to add to my list of must read’s.

I loved Runaway.

I liked the way Peter May structures Runaway. The story moves back and forth between 1965 and 2015. I liked the sense of anticipation and tension this created. May gradually drip-feeds what happened to Jack and his friends in 1965 rather than revealing everything in one go. I had to keep rea
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was not as I had anticipated at all, but it is an excellent read. I have read and loved the Lewis trilogy and Entry Island, which all combined crime with fascinating social history, and whilst Runaway follows a similar formula, the social history is very much to the fore. The story takes place in two timeframes- 1965 and 2015, and both are equally good, which I don't always find to be the case. In 1965 we read a coming of age story about a group of boys seeking fame and fortune. In 2015 we ...more
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zprvu jsem si nebyla úplně jistá, kam děj povede a jestli mě zachytne za žebro. Připadal mi malinko naivní, psaný takovým jednodušším jazykem. Ale postupně se ukazovalo, že naivita k celému příběhu nezbytně patří. Útěk je vzpomínkou jednoho z protagonistů na krátký úsek dlouhého života. Krátký, avšak pro každého z nich velice zásadní a určující. Román o rozhodnutích, které umějí převrátit celý život. Nakonec silný příběh, na který nezapomenu (snad vyjde i jako audioknih, zopakovala bych si). Jak ...more
Janet Barclay
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an almost random grab off the library shelf, so I didn't know what to expect. A couple of chapters in, I didn't think I was going to like it, but it was one of those books that the further into it I got, the more absorbed I became in the story.

An interesting look at how our views change - and how they remain the same - as we age, coupled with a well-told story.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Runaway by Peter May 1 17 Jun 15, 2015 10:35AM  
  • Strange Loyalties (Jack Laidlaw, #3)
  • The Dead Shall be Raised & Murder of a Quack (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #4-5)
  • Petrified (Cetin Ikmen, #6)
  • Rumpole Misbehaves
  • Shadows of Sounds (Lorimer #3)
  • Dorothea's War
  • Landed Gently
  • Panic Room
  • And the Land Lay Still
  • The Light of Day
  • Railway to the Grave (The Railway Detective #7)
  • Devotion (My Dear I Wanted to Tell You #3)
  • Ash Island (The Belltree Trilogy, #2)
  • Tell No Tales (DI Zigic and DS Ferreira, #2)
  • Keeping the World Away
  • If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes From Trump's America
  • The Vanished Hands (Javier Falcon, #2)
  • Snapshot (Narey & Winter, #2)
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“I don’t think of myself as old. In my head I’m still the boy I was at seventeen. I just can’t do the things I did back then, and I get a shock when I look in the mirror. But I don’t see me as you do. In fact, I can look at fellas ten years my junior and think of them as ‘old boys.’ I look at attractive young women and delude myself that they might still fancy me. It’s just a matter of perspective.” He” 1 likes
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