33 Great Scottish Fiction Titles of 2017

Covers of some of the included books
Category: Reading

Looking purely at the book side of things, 2017 was a ripsnorter of a year in Scotland. We saw some brilliant debuts that made a huge impact, the return of beloved characters for yet another thrilling adventure, timely stories that directly addressed hot-button issues, and stunning new releases from long-established authors. Here, we round up a handful of titles that kept us enthralled. Stay tuned for a follow-up of poetry books!

If this list has inspired you to pick up some of the books, please hop on over to Books from Scotland's Twitter page during Book Week Scotland and join their ScotBookFlood. Inspired by the unique tradition of book gifting in Iceland, Jólabókaflóð (which translates roughly as 'Christmas book flood'), ScotBookFlood will celebrate Scottish-Nordic/Icelandic literary links and encourage thoughtful book gifting for loved ones in the run-up to Christmas. Publishing Scotland is encouraging everyone to tweet the titles of Scottish books they'll be reading or gifting, using the hashtags #ScotBookFlood and #BookWeekScot or by tweeting @scottishbooks.

 

*Denotes a debut author

 

Just for the Thrill Of It

Want You Gone by Chris Brookmyre

Want You Gone by Chris Brookmyre

Chris Brookmyre's new Jack Parlabane thriller follows young Sam Morpeth, who has a hard enough life without also having to deal with an online blackmailer who draws her into a trap. Meanwhile, Jack's career as a journalist is back on track, but success has come at a moral cost and a debt is being called in. Thrown together by the same enemy, Sam and Jack are about to discover they have more in common than they realise. 

Beneath the Skin

Beneath the Skin by Sandra Ireland

A compelling thriller that follows a taxidermist with a secret, a soldier with nothing left to fight for and a mother protecting her son, all of whom are battling demons from the past.

Shattered Minds by Laura Lam

Shattered Minds by Laura Lam

Former San Franciscan  now based in Edinburgh, Laura Lam, follows up her 2016 release False Hearts with the start of a new series. It is set in a bleak near future and introduces Carina, a female 'Dexter' with a drug problem and a conscience. After a failed brain-mapping experiment with Sudice Inc., Carina is left craving killing and violence. She fights this impulse by taking Zeal, an addictive drug that lets her satisfy her dark urges in dreams. She wants to be left alone to self-destruct but new information about Sudice Inc. forces her to stand up and fight. 

Cross Purpose

Cross Purpose by Claire MacLeary

A surprising, gritty, darkly humourous tale of an ex-cop's widow who takes over his detective agency and gets far more than she bargained for.

Insidious Intent cover

Insidious Intent by Val McDermid

Tony Hill and Carol Jordon return to chase down a terrifying serial killer.

Long Drop cover

The Long Drop by Denise Mina

In Denise Mina's elecrifying read, mild-mannered William Watt spends 12 hours drinking his way through Glasgow pubs in the company of the man he believes slaughtered his family.

 

A Touch of Fantasy and Sci-Fi

goblin

Goblin by Ever Dundas*

Ian McEwan’s Atonement meets Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth in this extraordinary debut. Goblin is living in war-torn London, and after witnessing a shocking event retreats into an imaginary world, taking comfort into the abandoned pets she rescues. Decades later, an unwanted phone call forces her to return to the city and relive the past.

city of circles

City of Circles by Jess Richards

An entrancing love story between two circus performers, and a Lewis Carroll-esque odyssey through the magical city of Matryoshka.

growing season

The Growing Season by Helen Sedgwick

A journalist and an activist find something fishy about a seemingly ideal future technology.

Empire Games by Charles Stross

Empire Games by Charles Stross

Time Out has described Edinburgh-based author Charles Stross as, 'One of the defining phenomena of twenty-first century science fiction.' In his new novel Empire Games, Stross revisits and expands on the world he created in his Family Trade series. The story follows Rita Douglas, whose latent genetic abilities make her a prime recruitment target for the Department of Homeland Security. Once activated, Rita's genetic code will give her the ability to visit alternate timelines to do battle with assassins travelling between alternate worlds to deliver death on a mass scale. 

 

Short Story Collections

that was a shiver

That Was a Shiver, and Other Stories by James Kelman

Intimate new stories from the Booker Prize-winning author; this book was shortlisted for the 2017 Saltire Fiction Book of the Year award. Sparky, touching and brilliantly daring, these stories uncover human feeling in the ordinary and the everyday, and are a reminder of Kelman’s exceptional talent.

hings cover

Hings by Chris McQueer*

From the streets of working class Scotland, and on occasion, a little beyond our solar system, comes one of the country's most hilarious debut writers. Putting surreal and witty twists on the everyday, Chris McQueer creates recognisable characters you will love and want to avoid like the plague.

 

Books That'll Make You Laugh (and Maybe Cry)

spandex and the city

Spandex and the City by Jenny Colgan

A mild-mannered, unlucky-in-love publicist is embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be 'Ultimate Man' - a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day. Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?

No good deed cover

No Good Deed by John Niven

When the beggar he gives money to thanks him by name, Alan realises he's found one of his closest childhood friends. Determined to help the man get back on his feet, Alan takes him home, and that's when things start to get a bit crazy...

Mary's the name cover

Mary's the Name by Ross Sayers*

Forced to flee to Skye after her grandfather is implicated in a robbery, eight-year-old Mary reveals her quirky outlook on life in a story that will capture your heart and leave you in tears of laughter... and sadness

 

Most Mysterious

Accident cover

The Accident on the A35 by Graeme Macrae Burnet

The Booker-shortlisted author and former New Writers Awardee returns with the story of a traffic accident that is not all it seems

   
Wages of sin

The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh*

An irresistable mystery set in 1890s Edinburgh, featuring a female medical student-turned-detective who's unexpectedly drawn into a murder mystery

 

YA Adults will Love Too

Welcome to Nowhere cover

Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird

A powerful and beautifully written story about the life of one family caught up in civil war by the award-winning author Elizabeth Laird, shortlisted for the Scottish Teenage Book Prize

state of grace

The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

A heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.

between the lies

Between the Lies by Cathy MacPhail

Judith Tremayne is missing. She just seems to have vanished, until Abbie, a school nobody, receives a message: 'I want to come home'. Why would popular Jude contact loner Abbie? Will she stay missing? A tense teen thriller packed with sensational twists.

Trespassers cover

Trespassers by Claire McFall

Tristan and Dylan have escaped the afterlife. Now they must face the consequences. The stunning sequel to the truly original, award-winning Ferryman.

 

Literary Roundtable

ashland and vine

Ashland and Vine by John Burnside

A grieving alcoholic working on an oral history project finds herself drawn into - and healed by - the stories related by an elderly subject

Memory and Straw cover

Memory and Straw by Angus Peter Campbell

Gavin, who works in artificial intelligence, embarks on a deep dive into his family's origins

Dalila cover

Dalila by Jason Donald

A young woman escapes a brutally violent past, only to find that her refuge might not be as safe as she'd hoped

Sewing Machine cover

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

The stories of an early 20th century worker in a Singer factory  and a modern-day man just trying to sell his grandfather's flat intertwin as both find thieir lives unexpectedly turned upside down.

squeeze cover

The Squeeze by Lesley Glaister

Travelling between Edinburgh, Romania and Oslo, The Squeeze follows a trafficked teen and a Norwegian businessman whose lives intertwine, for better and for worse.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*

Gail Honeyman's much-anticipated first novel was released this year and caused a sensation, becoming a bestseller and having the film rights snapped up by Reese Witherspoon's production company. Join in on oddball Eleanor's life, which is shaken out of its torpor by a random act of kindness.

Wait for Me, Jack by Addison Jones

Wait for Me, Jack by Addison Jones

After writing four novels and a collection of short stories under a pseudonym, Addison Jones puts her own name on Wait For Me, Jack. It tells the tale of Jack and Milly who marry in 1952 near San Francisco and build a complex life together against a backdrop of 20th century tumult, and despite their own infidelities and American Dream nightmares. 

memorial device

This is Memorial Device by David Keenan*

A love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and early 80s as they were temporarily transformed by the endless possibilities that came out of the freefall from punk rock.

midwinter break

Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty

MacLaverty's first novel in sixteen years focuses on a retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, who travel to Amsterdam for a long weekend to do some sightseeing and generally take stock of what remains of their lives and their relationship.

flesh of the peach cover

Flesh of the Peach by Helen McClory

An intense journey into and out of rage and grief, via sex and violence, following 27 year-old artist, Sarah Browne and set mostly in the American Southwest.

angel in the stone

The Angel in the Stone by R L McKinney

Calum is trying hard to live a quiet life, but the arrival of his estranged daughter starts bringing simmering resentments to the surface, and a family driven apart by silence must confront its secrets.

2020 cover4

2020 by Kenneth Steven

Kenneth Steven imagines a Britain being riven between the forces of intolerance and the liberal ‘mainstream’. Giving voice to the full gamut of voices across the political and social spectrum, he taps into the current hot topics of immigration, intolerance and the future of Brexit Britain.

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