Saturday 16 December 2017

Thrillers: The past that comes back to haunt

Peter May
Quercus, hdbk, 432 pages, £19.99
Available with free P&P on or by calling 091 709350

Death of a Liar
Death of a Liar
Runaway by Peter May

Myles McWeeney

Glasgow in 1965 does not offer much opportunity to spirited young people, so when 17-year-old Jack Mackay is expelled from school, he has little difficulty in persuading his four best friends to abandon their abusive families and dead-end jobs to run away to swinging London in a 'borrowed' van to pursue fame and fortune as a band.

They see themselves as the new Beatles, but soon find that the gritty reality of life on the streets of London is devastatingly different from their dreams, and far more dangerous.

Less than 12 months later, only three of them, including Jack, return home, their lives irrevocably damaged by the corruption and violence they experience as their dreams become nightmares.

Some 50 years later, in 2015, a brutal murder is committed in London and the three men, now well into their 60s and in failing health, are forced to return to the city to confront the evil that has haunted them and blighted their lives for five decades.

Glaswegian-born Peter May, a former award-winning journalist and television scriptwriter and the author of the bestselling Lewis Trilogy, has based this absorbing, cleverly constructed and genuinely suspenseful mystery on events that occurred in his own teenage years when he too ran away to London and ended up busking in the tube stations.

Highly recommended.


Death of a Liar

M C Beaton

Constable, hdbk, 224 pages, £18.99

Available with free P&P on or by calling 091 709350

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth lives in Loughdubh, a remote and sparsely populated part of the Scottish Highlands. He has little to do until his autumnal peace is shattered by a hysterical call from a villager who claims she has been raped. Hamish discovers she is lying, but when her tortured body is later discovered, he finds himself in the middle of a serious crime wave and must use all his native wit to solve an international conspiracy.

The 30th Hamish Macbeth is as wonderfully light and witty as its many predecessors.

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