Runaway by Peter May

‘Runaway’ is a standalone novel by Peter May about 5 teenage boys who ran away from Glasgow to London in 1965 and how the events of 1965 still affect their lives 50 years later.

1965 was an exciting time for music. Jack Mackay and four friends have a fairly successful band called ‘The Shuffle’. When 17 year old Jack is expelled from school, he decides to run away to London rather than face his parents. For a variety of reasons, the other members of the band decide to join him. They all naively thought that they would be good enough to get a recording contract.

Their trip is pretty eventful. Initially they are chased by two of the fathers, then all their money is stolen and finally they lose their transport. On the way they rescue the cousin of Maurie – one of the band members from her abusive drug dealer boyfriend.

But when they finally get to London things don’t go the way they planned. And when their life in London completely falls apart, three of the boys make their way back to their families in Glasgow.

Now, 50 years on, Maurie is dying and feels the need to finish something he started 50 years ago. The three remaining band members along with Jack’s 22 years old grandson Ricky, head back to London.

The trip has some interesting parallels. They are chased by one of their disapproving children, and their money and transport are stolen. They eventually get to London to right a 50 year old wrong.

The story is narrated by Jack and moves between the past (1965) and the present (2015). Initially the boys were too young and naïve to understand the consequences of their actions, now they’re too old to care. For Jack, the event of 1965 led to a life of mediocrity. He wants a better life for his grandson Ricky.


This was an excellent book to read. I always love Peter May’s writing. There have been a few good ‘old men’ books lately – Derek B. Miller’s ‘Norwegian by Night’ and Ruth Rendell’s ‘The Girl Next Door’ and I’ve enjoyed the older person’s perspective even though I don’t consider late 60s to be particularly old (I’m sure my mid-80s father would agree).

While some of the events of 1965 seemed a bit unlikely, it seemed like a reasonably good portrayal of what was going on at the time.

I’m enjoying Peter May’s books and I look forward to the next one.


Book Published 2015


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