Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Runaway – Peter May

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

Having loved all the previous books I’ve read by Peter May, The Lewis Trilogy and Entry Island I was thrilled to be offered this talented writer’s newest offering Runaway.

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 group of friends are on a mission to grant one of their number his dying wish, to return to London to right a wrong from many years before. In both time periods they meet a number of challenges, some of them almost farcical in nature and some that put intolerable strain on their friendship.

It appears that we are in a time where writers are making older people their focus rather than the bit parts that they have traditionally been given, I’m thinking of Elizabeth is Missing and The Girl Next Door which I read last year, and Peter May really gets across how getting older can be a cause of regret, he doesn’t gloss over unachieved ambitions but neither is this book all doom and gloom, giving a good balance by illustrating that there is a sense of the perspective gained by getting older as well as that old truth that in their minds the group may be older but they still feel the same as they’ve always done, just perhaps a little slower. Life’s lessons are delivered to Rick, Jack’s grandson who has been torn away from his twilight lifestyle gaming to act as the driver for the 2015 adventure.

At first I found the narrative style, particularly of the 1965 trip off-putting as it is told by Jack looking back at this time and this inevitably means that some of the views felt way too old for the boy he would have been. There are political statements made about a range of issues including social housing, food banks, unemployment amongst others which made me feel like an elderly Uncle was lecturing me which I found disconcerting. As the story progresses and we find out the part the man who has been brutally murdered in 2015 played in the episodes from 1965, the narrative clicked and story felt more natural. The story is rescued from being entirely from a male perspective with a cousin of one of the group joining them in London. Peter May is a master at drawing a range of believable characters, and that is true in this book too with each member of the group drawn distinctly, I especially loved Jeff and his turn of phrase. As the book draws to a close there were a number of surprises for me as my conclusions proved way off the mark, as usual.

This is a semi-autobiographical novel featuring some of Peter May’s own escapades in London back in the sixties, and it certainly reads like an autobiography, although hopefully the crime committed is fantasy. As such there are references to the music of the time along with details of clothes worn that pertain would add a feeling of nostalgia if only I’d been born then.

I would like to thank the publishers for allowing me to read Runaway and for any of Peter May’s fans that may have been in a band and who lived during this time of change, this is a must read. Runaway is due to be published on 15 January 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (January 12)

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
• What are you currently reading? What do you think you’ll read next? What did you recently finish reading?

We are now more than a third of the way through January so how many of you who made bookish resolutions have kept them? I don’t make resolutions and I certainly wouldn’t publish them as in no way do I want to be held accountable for my failings. However I do want to read more of the books I’ve chosen for myself this year rather than allowing them to disappear further down the TBR pile.

So how have I done so far? Well I’ve read 4 books, 1 Novella and 1 short – out of those 4 books were review copies, the novella was A Hank of Hair and I bought this copy in September 2014. The short, Broadchurch: The End is Where It Begins which doesn’t really count as towards any total being just 17 pages long was purchased and read on the same day!

My other reading has been done on-line where I have been browsing The Proceedings of the OLD BAILEY 1674 to 1913 which is absolutely fascinating!!  The link I have provided is about a fourteen year old girl consorting with soldiers against her mother’s wishes. The mother has her charged with stealing a shawl in what appears to be revenge for her disappearance. I started by browsing randomly, there are multiple search terms you can use, and  have been shocked by the number of charges there are for bigamy, it appears that in the absence of easy access to divorce men and women just remarried hoping that their previous marriage wouldn’t be discovered!

I am currently reading another review copy Alice And The Fly by James Rice

Alice and the Fly
Blurb

This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It’s about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it’s about love. Finding love – in any of its forms – and nurturing it.
Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition’s caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I’ll flood out all these tears and it’ll all be ok and I won’t be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can’t think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories – Herb’s death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah – but none of these are what caused the phobia. I’ve always had it. It’s Them. I’m just scared of Them. It’s that simple. Goodreads

I have recently finished Runaway by Peter May

Runaway

Blurb

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. Goodreads


My review will be posted later this week.

Next I am planning to read another recent purchase, probably Taunting The Dead by Mel Sherratt

Taunting The Dead

Blurb

Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, D.S. Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.
Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.
As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim. Amazon


How is 2015 shaping up for you in 2015?

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (December 19)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

This week I’m going to start with my favourite find courtesy of the lovely Quercus publishers. Earlier this week a copy of Runaway by Peter May plopped through my letterbox, you may have heard the squeals of delight!

Runaway

Blurb

The decision for five teenage boys to leave their homes in Glasgow in 1965 and head to London is led by Jack Mackay when he is expelled from school. His friends need little incentive to run away from their abusive families and dead end jobs to pursue fame and fortune as a band. However, the boys find their dreams to be devastatingly different from reality, and within less than twelve months of their departure, only three of them return home, their lives irrevocably damaged.
Fifty years later in 2015 a brutal murder takes place in London and the three men, who are now in their sixties, are forced to return to the city to confront the demons which have haunted them and blighted their lives for five decades.
Runaway is a gripping crime novel spanning two cities and half a century. This extraordinary work by Peter May, explores how aspirations and expectations shape us and the pivotal yet changeable role that friendships have in our lives. Quercus

Runaway is inspired by events in Peter May’s own life. The leading character Jack Mackay is based on Peter’s own experiences of being expelled from school at the age of 16 in the mid sixties. After enduring 3 months in a dead end job, Peter told his 3 band mates that he was leaving home for London and they immediately decided to join him. Much like the characters in the book, Peter and his friends found surviving London unrelentingly difficult and after some time, broke, hungry and filthy, Peter and his friend Stephen returned home without the record deal that they had dreamt of but having learned a lot of life lessons. Due to be published 15 January 2015.

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Crooked House by Christobel Kent which is due to be published on 8 January 2015.

The Crooked House

Blurb

Alison is as close to anonymous as she can get: with no ties, no home, a backroom job, hers is a life lived under the radar. She’s a nobody; she has no-one and that’s how she wants it.
But once Alison was someone else: once she was Esme Grace, a teenager whose bedroom sat at the top of a remote and dilapidated house on the edge of a bleak estuary. A girl whose family, if not happy, exactly, was no unhappier than anyone else’s – or so she thought.
Then one night a terrible thing happened in the crooked house, a nightmare of violence out of which Alison emerged the only witness and sole survivor and from which she has been running ever since. Only when she meets academic Paul Bartlett does Alison realise that if she’s to have any chance of happiness, she has to return to her old life and confront the darkness that worked its way inside her family and has pursued her ever since. NetGalley

A Fifty Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot is a non-fiction memoir spanning decades.

A Fifty Year Silence

Blurb

In 1948, after surviving World War II by escaping Nazi-occupied France for refugee camps in Switzerland, the author’s grandparents, Anna and Armand, bought an old stone house in a remote, picturesque village in the South of France. Five years later, Anna packed her bags and walked out on Armand, taking the typewriter and their children. The two never saw or spoke to each other again, never remarried, and never revealed what had divided them forever.
A Fifty-Year Silence is the deeply involving account of Miranda Richmond Mouillot’s journey to find out what happened between her grandmother, a physician, and her grandfather, an interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials, who refused to utter his wife’s name aloud after she left him. To discover the roots of their embittered and entrenched silence, Miranda abandons her plans for the future and moves to their stone house, now a crumbling ruin; immerses herself in letters, archival materials, and secondary sources; and teases stories out of her reticent, and declining, grandparents.
The author reconstructs how Anna and Armand braved overwhelming odds and how the knowledge her grandfather acquired at Nuremberg destroyed their relationship. As she does so, Miranda wrestles with the legacy of trauma, the burden of history, and the complexities of memory. She also finds herself learning how not only to survive, but to thrive – making a home in the village and falling in love. NetGalley

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a story set during the World War II

The Nightingale

Blurb

FRANCE, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France… but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can… completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others. NetGalley

Lastly from Bookbridgr I have a copy of Gone by Rebecca Muddiman, a book I picked after having enjoyed her debut novel Stolen.

Gone

Blurb

250,000 people go missing in the UK every year. 91% of those reported to police are found within 48 hours. 99% of cases are solved within a year. And 1% stay gone. Eleven years ago, troubled teenager Emma Thorley went missing. The police assumed she was a runaway. But now a body with Emma’s ID on it has been found in woods near Blyth. DI Michael Gardner knows he didn’t take Emma’s disappearance seriously enough back then, and is determined to make up for it now. But when he and DS Nicola Freeman start to reinvestigate, they discover that nothing is as simple as it seems. As news of the discovery travels, the past will come back to haunt all those involved. Because there are consequences when good people do bad things, and some secrets cannot stay buried for ever… Bookbridgr

What did you find to read this week?