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on 12 August 2013
.I enjoyed this book to the point of wanting it to go on and on. However I was quite dissapointed with the ending which left me wanting to know more.
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on 12 January 2014
This review was originally published on somethingyousaid.com

Runaway Town is the second novel from Jay Stringer, whom I've previously had the pleasure of interviewing. It's the follow-up to his blistering debut Old Gold and continues the adventures of part-Romani ex-cop gangland detective Eoin Miller. Runaway Town sees Eoin drawn even deeper into the dealings of the Gaines family, a organised crime family operating in the industrial wasteland of Wolverhampton, in the UK's West Midlands.

Eoin is asked to investigate a series of rapes on teenage immigrant girls and, knowing how little help an outsider can expect from the legitimate authorities, he can't help but get drawn deeper and deeper into the case. The more he looks the deeper he becomes embroiled in a world of corruption, racism and revenge including being forced to face some uncomfortable truths about his own family's past.

This second instalment in a planned trilogy ups the stakes considerably from Stringer's impressive debut. The writing is more confident and assured and there is a righteous political anger beating at the heart of this excellent novel.

Stringer is developing into one of the most exciting new British novelists out there and his brand of social pulp fiction stirs the brain as well as the heart. A very exciting and very British strain of noir crime fiction has been steadily growing over the last few years and Jay Stringer is one of its finest proponents. I cannot wait to see where the final instalment in Eoin Miller's story takes us.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After reading Jay Stringer's first novel about Eoin Miller, the gypsy detective from the Midlands, and not being really impressed but liking some aspects of the book I was interested to see if this second novel was an improvement. Eoin is an ex-policeman whose continuing desire to right the wrongs of his local West Midlands community is still strong and has led him to work for the shadier side of the underworld, where he is recruited to work for a club owner and notorious gangland boss. This leads him into a number of cases of rape of young immigrant girls and thus he becomes embroiled in an investigation that leads to uncomfortable revelations that are a little to close to his own past for comfort.

I like the premise of a crime novel set in the less familiar landscape of the towns of the West Midlands and the sense of place is quite well handled, and Stringer can string a sentence together (he is an obvious devotee of American noir fiction) but ultimately I could not warm to our 'hero' whose constant introspection and seeming self-pity became a little tedious. The story was quite slow to get going and the lack of tension made for a less than exciting read. Stringer seemed to introduce new characters at every turn and I ultimately found myself becoming quite confused.
I feel that a little less emphasis on the chief protagonist's self-pity and a bit more action would have improved this story no end, as ultimately I didn't care much about any of the characters.
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on 20 August 2013
This is the second Stringer novel I've read. Eoin Miller is half-gypsy and a former policeman who now does some work for a crime gang.

The gang's leader calls him to help as a number of illegal immigrants are raped and unable to turn to the police given their status. There are also a number of other story threads, including family ordeals, to keep the reader engaged.

This is a short novel and it is pretty well-written. Eoin is very troubled but remains likeable even though he lives on the edge and goes beyond it quite often. (In truth, this view may have been fed by my residual interest in the character from the first book.)

I didn't regard this as strong as the first novel mainly, perhaps, because we still had too many of Eoin's demons to deal with. There were also a lot of characters and relationships to come to terms with. And although I was interested in outcomes, there wasn't any real tension to drive my interest.

In short, a satisfactory rather than outstanding read. 7/10
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Eoin Miller continues to live dangerously with the Gaines and Mann gangs vying for his operational skills (or his blood). Setting up a drugs-bust for the Gaines family ended with Channy Mann's brother dead and Miller stabbed, intensifying the animosity between the rival Wolverhampton (Black Country) mobsters. Miller is taken out of his comfort zone with the latest task incumbent on him, a rape investigation. This opens a can of worms with widespread repercussions that involve radical politics, ethnic and religious groups, immigrants and attendant violence. Miller struggles with his personal search for purpose, unable to maintain stable relationships with colleagues, wife (now a DCI on the back of her ex-cop husband's drug exposure), his family nor capable of dispelling his inner demons. Flashbacks and nightmares of fires plague him through his childhood gypsy (Romani) life. Continually moving and running away, he is happiest coaching football for local youths or attending his beloved Wolves team matches where he has some affiliation.

Jay Stanger doesn't let the pace drop from the opening pages. His characters are diverse, their descriptions clearly developed with the dialogue often snappy, witty with dry humour and touches of sarcasm. His representation of the locality with its clubs and pubs are realistic (brought up there) and his acceleration into the dynamic incidents that enter the narrative up the tension and excitement, being quite conceivable. Well-written and thoroughly enjoyable. A short read with memorable characters and events. Look forward to further publications.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 March 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The author describes his work as “social pulp” and it fits the contents of a mixture of urban crime, mystery, and social fiction. We follow a half-gypsy, hero ex-cop with gangland connections and a dirty past who is trying to get back on his feet after the events in the first book in the series, Old Gold, left his organs reorganised and his social status somewhat unstable.

In this installment he is pulled out of his semi-self-imposed drugged-up withdrawal from the real world at the request of a gangland boss who would like him to help solve the unreported rapes of young immigrant girls. Other events impose on the investigation and soon not only he but seemingly also his family is in danger and he must try to clear it up before it’s too late.

An entertaining ride that is well written and suits a lazy day on the sofa or a wait in the airport.

3.5 stars.
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on 24 September 2013
This novel is a follow up to Old Gold by the same author.
I bought the first novel because of two things: one, the story is based in the Black Country, Wolverhampton and two: it sounded a good story, and it was. The sequel, Runaway Town, has the same characters and the same style of prose, which I really liked, apart from the American spellings, which don’t really work in a novel based in the heart of England! Can you imagine Peaky Blinders written with American spellings?
The story is okay, not particularly gripping, arguably no better – or worse – than Old Gold, but the characters are brilliant in my opinion and I just enjoy reading Jay’s style of writing.
If you have read Old Gold then buy this. If not, buy Old Gold first then follow up with Runaway Town. If you know the Black Country, Wolverhampton area, it’s a must read.
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on 10 April 2013
My first introduction to this author and I wasn't left disappointed. Eoin Miller, an ex-cop, is reluctant to get caught up again with the female boss of the Gaines family. Unfortunately she doesn't give him a choice. Told to look into a series of rapes that the victims are unable to report to the police, he eventually tracks down the man responsible. Reporting him to the police will set off a catastrophic chain of events, which is why the victims were unable to report the rapes themselves. See what happens next in this thoroughly gripping read.
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on 30 March 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a fan of Jay Stringer's previous story (Old Gold) about Eoin Millar and so jumped at the opportunity to read this one. However there was also a sense of dread - I was not at all sure that any sequel could live up to Old Gold. Fortunately I was wrong. Set in the Black Country in the Midlands again and with the same characters plus a few new ones around, Runaway Town sees Eoin dealing with a number of interlocking problems, the solution to some of them are in direct conflict to each other. For the part gypsy, ex cop, involved in aspects of gangs, this story takes Eoin on a continuing journey concerning his past coupled with some very up to date current themes. As a warning the book does contain some moderate violence although perfectly appropriately for me.

I really like the atmosphere created by Jay Stringer in his books. He captures the feel of a rather bleak post industrial location which is now rather seedy and has a number of gangs operating in it. In Eoin he creates a (very) world weary "gumshoe" type character set very firmly in the towns of the Midlands. This is bare dark story which - for me - maintains an sharp edge throughout. Maybe not top literary stuff but a damn good read to me (again). I would recommend people to read Old Gold before this as some aspects from the previous book are developed but it is not really essential to the story. I'd love to see these stories on the TV as long as no one tries to sanitise them - think The Bridge - BBC Series 1 [DVD] or Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] rather than Midsomer murders please. Hope the next one is as good.
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on 10 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This was quite good though I much preferred the first book in the series. The author can certainly write but the story just didn't seem to hang together very well. The dialogue and most of the characters seemed quite realistic and true to life.
The self- pity of the protagonist did get quite repetitious. I would still read the next book in the series though.

If I was able to, I would rate this at three and a half stars.
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