Covering the new Peter May in the FT: Forty-five years ago, crime writer Peter May ran away to London from Glasgow after being expelled from school. Busking and sleeping rough on the streets of the capital, he ended up filthy and starving, before an uncle put him on the train home. In his new book, May channels that experience into a typically lacerating narrative (it starts with the flaying of a human body). Five teenage friends from Scotland (led by Jack Mackay) take a shot at a musical career in London, but, within a year, three have returned, damaged. Years later, a savage killing obliges the three men — now in their 60s — to return to England and come to terms with a grim, decades-old secret. This is Peter May not quite at his considerable best, but still stretching the parameters of the crime novel; it is as much a disquisition on friendship and the fragility of dreams as it is a thriller.

Runaway, by Peter May, Quercus hardback, RRP £16.99, 432 pages

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