As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Quercus, 15 January 2015. ISBN: 978-1-78087-455-5
They say your past will catch up with you; whether or not it’s true,
the past’s way of casting a shadow on the present can make great fiction.
May’s new novel Runaway explores this premise, by taking three
Glaswegians of mature years (claim it though he does, sixty-seven is not old!)
on a trip down Memory Lane.
is no ordinary trip, but the past which casts a shadow over Jack, Dave and
Maurie wasn’t ordinary either. Fifty years ago they and two friends ran away to
London to seek their fortune as a rock group: something many young lads dreamed
of in the 1960s, but few had the courage to do. And in each case, it proved to
be the only interesting part of a mundane life.
perilous journey they undertake is triggered by a news report of the murder of
a man they encountered during their teenage adventure. Jack and Dave had put
the episode to the backs of their minds, give or take the odd regret about
missed opportunities; Maurie, dying of cancer and now with only weeks, possibly
days, to live, knows more than he told at the time, and is desperate to put the
record straight while there’s still time.
the resulting novel is crime fiction in any real sense is open to question.
Crime takes place; aside from the murder, drug dealing, robbery, illegal
abortion, car theft, violence, even an attempt at sexual abuse, all play a part
in the fifty-years-ago sections, but only as part of the background. To a far
greater extent it’s a coming-of-age novel, which evokes the Swinging Sixties in
London in a way which brought a nostalgic lump to my throat.
May’s extensive screenwriting background stands him in good stead here. Not
only is he adept at letting the dialogue tell the story; he also ensures that
the characters’ speech patterns are distinct from each other. As 1960s
tearaways, they are engagingly cocky on the surface, a tangle of insecurity
underneath. In the present-day sections, you can imagine meeting all three of
the elderly, sorry, mature, protagonists down the pub; in fact, anyone
under 25 should be forced to do just that, just to prove that age only withers
the outside, and the person underneath remains hale and still ripe for
times Jack, the narrating character, is inclined to get carried away on a tide
of quasi-political musing; mid-20th century housing policy,
Thatcherian economics and the north-south divide all get a hearing. But he does
it with a light touch, and in such a way that his strong left-wing opinions are
less polemic and more part of who he is.
fiction? Only up to a point; we do find out who committed the murder, though
it’s no great surprise. Cracking good read, with a great page-turning story,
characters who live and breathe and a background you can touch and smell?
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Peter May is one of Scotland's most prolific television
dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and
script editor on prime-time British television drama. He is the creator of
three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest rated
serials in his homeland before quitting television to concentrate on his first
love, writing novels. The first book in the Lewis Trilogy, The Blackhouse, set
in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.was the winner of France's Cezam Prix Litteraire. The
follow-up, The Lewis Man, was winner
of the French Newspaper Le Telegramme's 10,000 euro readers' prize for the best
book of 2011 as well as Les Ancres Noires 2012.The trilogy concludes with the publication of The Chessmen.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.