28 Scottish Novels to Look Forward to in 2018

Scottish novels to look forward to in 2018
Category: Reading

We have read through a stack of publisher catalogues to bring you some of the most exciting Scottish novels hitting book shops and libraries in 2018.

Scroll down to find heavyweight authors Welsh, Gunn, Smith, Boyd and Rankin adding some ballast to a frisky year packed with exciting debuts and much anticipated follow-ups.

If you have some book tokens left over from the festive period, shepherd them throughout the year. If you are friendly with your local librarians, start applying subtle pressure on them to order these titles. Whatever you do, make 2018 the year of reading Scottishly.  

Please note: this preview was compiled using publisher's spring catalogues. Many more exciting novels will be announced later this year. If you don't spot a Scottish novel you can't wait to read in our list below, channel your ire into posting about it in the comments for others to find. 

January

Miss Blaine's Perfect and the Golden Samovar by Olga Wotjas

Miss Blaine's Perfect and the Golden Samovar by Olga Wojtas

@OlgaWojtas | Saraband

Former journalist Olga Wojtas delivers on the promise she showed as a 2015 New Writers Awardee with this "cosy crime" homage to Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. In it, our hero is Shona, an impeccably educated and accomplished martial artist, linguist and musician - and hater of Muriel Spark's most famous work. Selected by her tutor to travel back in time for a dangerous mission to 19th-century Russia, Shona must think on her feet to survive. We can't wait to cosy up with this crime caper already described as: "Anna Karenina written by P.G. Wodehouse."

Find out how being a journalist has aided Olga in her fiction writing

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

@MartinJStewart | Penguin

Following hot on the heels of his heralded, YA Book Prize-shortlisted debut Riverkeep, Troon-based author Martin Stewart returns with a new pageturner that Penguin describe as reminiscent of Stand By Me and Stranger Things. Like Stand By Me, a group of young friends make their way to a forest during a hot, close summer. Once there they find a mysterious box that will change their lives, forever.  

Read Martin Stewart's top tips for editing your own work.

The Photographer by Craig Robertson

The Photographer by Craig Robertson

@CraigRobertson_ | Simon & Schuster

Ex-journalist-turned-Sunday-Times-bestselling-author Craig Robertson's previous novel, Murderabilia, was longlisted for the 2017 Theakston's and McIlvanney prizes. In his latest crime thriller, during a dawn raid of a suspected criminal DI Rachel Narey discovers a disturbing collection of images of people who have no idea they are being photographed. Could the subjects already be victims? Can Narey piece the clues together in time? 

 

February

Home by Amanda Berriman

Home by Amanda Berriman

@MandyBerriman | Doubleday

Amanda Berriman was born in Germany, grew up in Edinburgh and now lives in the Peak District. Her debut novel, already described as "heart-stopping" by Kit de Waal, is told through the voice of four-and-a-half-year-old Jesika. She lives in a flat with her mum and brother Toby. She knows a lot for her age. For instance, she shouldn't draw on the peeling wallpaper. What she doesn't know is that her brother's cough is only going to get worse and that their landlord is threatening to evict them.

The Long Take by Robin Robertson

The Long Take by Robin Robertson

Picador

This unclassifiable work from Scone-born poet Robin Robertson is a deeply intriguing prospect. Described as "a noir narrative written with the intensity and power of poetry," it tells the tale of Walker, a D-Day veteran, seeking healing for PTSD in some of America's greatest cities. As he pieces his life back together, his country is coming apart, riven by paranoia, social and race division, corruption and the collapse of inner cities. Can a good man, brutalised by war, find his way back to kindness or will America return him to violence?  

 

March

Sal by Mick Kitson

Sal by Mick Kitson

Canongate

Canongate's Communications Director met Mick Kitson at a wake and three months later a manuscript for Sal landed unexpectedly in her lap. Back in the day, Kitson formed prolific '80s pop band The Senators with his brother Jim. These days he leads a quieter life in Fife as an English teacher. His debut novel, Sal, tells the tale of its eponymous a 13-year-old who has run away with her younger sister Peppa, armed with survival knowledge gleamed from YouTube videos. Think a modern day Huck Finn set against the poetic and harsh beauty of Scotland's wilderness and you'll be excited as we are about this release.

Dead Men's Trousers by Irvine Welsh

Dead Men's Trousers by Irvine Welsh

@IrvineWelsh | Jonathan Cape

Renton has finally found success in life, but it rings hollow, and even Begbie is now an acclaimed artist. Fortunately for us, neither can fully escape Leith's orbit. When they reunite with Sick Boy and Spud in Edinburgh against the sunshine-on-Leith-kissed backdrop of Hibs' pulsating Scottish Cup victory over Rangers in 2016, things start to unravel, fast, and one of them won't survive the debauchery. Find out who finishes Welsh's latest Trainspotting saga wearing dead men's trousers. 

Read Irvine Welsh's Author Confessions.

Kin by Snorri Kristjansson

Kin by Snorri Kristjansson

@SnorriKristjans | Jo Fletcher Books

There was Tartan noir. Then Scandi noir arrived. Now it's time for some bloodthirsty Viking noir. Iceland-born, Edinburgh-based author Snorri Kristjansson is no stranger to writing popular Viking tales. Already in print is his Valhalla Saga fantasy series, but now readers can experience crime 970AD style with this, the first installment of his new Helga Finndottir series. Skol!

The Walrus Mutterer by Mandy Haggith

The Walrus: Mutterer by Mandy Haggith

@CyberCrofter | Saraband

Achmelvich's Mandy Haggith launches the first volume of an imaginative new historical trilogy this spring. Journey back to Northern Britain during the Iron Age to meet Rian, a carefree young woman known for her healing and cooking skills. When Rian is enslaved by a powerful trader she must travel from the Sub-Arctic to the Mediterranean on a perilous voyage to find walrus ivory and amber.

The Accidental Recluse by Tom McCulloch

The Accidental Recluse by Tom McCulloch

@TomAMcCulloch | Sandstone Press

The publishers behind runaway success Babylon Berlin, Sandstone Press, bring us Tom McCulloch's third novel this spring. Named an Amazon Rising Star for his 2011 debut, The Stillman, the Oxford-based Scot's latest offering tells a tale full of sibling intrigue. Jonny Jackson has just turned 75. He's famous but his brother Duke was the true hero. When JJ returns from his self-imposed exile in Japan, his security team starts to worry that his brother's ghost may be ready to haunt him one last time.

Peacock's Alibi by Stuart David

Peacock's Alibi by Stuart David

@Looperama | Polygon Books

Songwriter, novelist and Belle & Sebastian co-founder Stuart David grew up in Alexandria on Scotland's west coast - once described as looking like 'a town that's helping the police with their inquiries'. His memoir on Belle & Sebastian (In the All-Night Café: A Memoir of Belle and Sebastian’s Formative Year) gained much critical acclaim, so expectations are high for his crime debut.

Photo by Sinead Grainger

Mayhem and Death by Helen McClory

@HelenMcClory | 404 Ink

One of Scotland's hottest new writers teams up with the country's hottest new publisher to bring us a new collection of short stories. To celebrate Helen McClory's new book, 404 Ink will repackage and re-release her debut collection, On the Edges of Vision - the winner of the 2015 Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award. Okay, we know, it's not a novel. But you must agree that it's too exciting a collaboration to leave off our 2018 preview!

April

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

@KirstyLogan | Harvill Secker

The rise and rise of Glasgow's Kirsty Logan continues this April. After securing a New Writers Award in 2009, Kirsty's first book, The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, won her the Scott Prize, and her first full-length novel, The Gracekeepers, won the Lambda Literary Award. In The Gloaming, Logan introduces us to Mara, and her island full of stories and magic. Mara's parents - a boxer and a ballerina - moved to the island to escape a troubled past and to bring their children up somewhere safe from harm. But the island has a price for Mara's family in this magical tale exploring the realm between fairy tales and real life. 

Read Kirsty Logan's tips for creating atmosphere in your writing.

The Blood by E S Thomson

The Blood by E. S. Thomson

Constable

E. S. Thomson puts her PhD in the history of medicine to good use again in this intriguing new literary thriller - the second novel in the Jem Flockhart series after the release of the William McIlvanney-shortlisted Beloved Poison in 2016. The Blood is a seamen's floating hospital on the Thames in Victoria London; an old hulk where where prejudice, ambition and murder seethe beneath a veneer of medical respectability. Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain find themselves on board after a man leaps to his death into the Thames, driven mad by poison and fear. On shore, a young prostitute is found murdered. Could the cases be linked? Early fans of the Jem Flockhart series include author Kirsty Logan: "ES Thompson's Jem Flockhart books are the best I've read in years. Jem is just my kind of heroine: scarred, smart, complex, and unapologetically queer".

Things Bright and Beautiful by Anbara Salam

Things Bright and Beautiful by Anbara Salam

@Anbara_Salam | Penguin

Half-Palestinian and half-Scottish, Anbara Salam grew up in London but it was the experience of six months she spent living on a South Pacific island that inspired her first novel, Things Bright and Beautiful, already chosen by Stylist magazine as a "must-read of 2018". Salam's claustrophobic 1950s-set novel focusses on the life of a missionary and his wife who travel to a South Pacific island with the hope of bringing good to its people. Instead, they fear losing their own souls. We can't stop looking at the beautiful cover and can't wait to read what's inside.

In the Cage where your Saviours Hide by Malcolm Mackay

In the Cage where your Saviours Hide by Malcolm Mackay

@Malcolm_Mackay | Apollo

If there is a book with a better title in 2018, we haven't found it yet. Stornoway's Malcolm Mackay is a next-gen star of Tartan Noir, winning the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award in 2013 for only his second novel. In the Cage where your Saviours Hide sounds like his most ambitious project yet. Mackay reimagines a Scotland where the infamous Darian project succeeded and a flourishing country remained independent through 1707 and beyond. Its glory days are very much in the past, however, and crime is rife. In this seedy land, Darian Ross is a young private investigator whose father, an ex cop, is in prison for murder. He takes on a case brought to him by a charismatic woman, Maeve Campbell, and is drawn into a case of money laundering, corruption and murder.

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland

@22_Ireland | Polygon

Sandra began her writing career on a local newspaper but quickly realised that fiction is much more intriguing than fact. In Bone Deep she explores what happens when you fall in love with the wrong person. Told in alternative chapters in a dual narrative, she describes the world of Mac, a woman determined to keep her past from her only son, and the enigmatic Lucie. Underpinning this are echoes from the past and an abandoned water mill, haunted by two long-dead sisters, who were rivals in love and are ready to point ghostly fingers at the present. 

 

May

The Valley at the Centre of the World by Malachy Tallack

The Valley at the Centre of the World by Malachy Tallack

@MalachyTallack | Canongate

‘The thing he felt ending was not just one person, or even one generation; it was older, and had, in truth, been ending for a long time … It was a chain of stories clinging to stories, of love clinging to love. It was an inheritance he did not know how to pass on.’

Since his 2014 New Writers Award, Malachy Tallack has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting new literary voices in Scotland. In his debut novel, Malachy uses his native Shetland as a setting for this tale of community and isolation, about what is passed down, and what is lost between the cracks.

Read Malachy Tallack's piece 'The Magic of an Island', written during his Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in France.

Faultlines by Doug Johnstone

Faultlines by Doug Johnstone

@Doug_Johnstone | Orenda

Author, drummer for the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers, captain of Scottish Writers FC and holder of a PhD in nuclear physics, renaissance man Doug Johnstone returns with his ninth novel this May, and his first with Orenda Books. Faultlines sounds like a thrilling slice of speculative crime fiction set in a reimagined Edinburgh. Auld Reekie reeks of sulphur when a tectonic fault opens up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth. On a clandestine trip there, to meet her lover and boss, volcanologist Surtsey instead finds his lifeless body and has to decide whether to report the crime and risk exposing their affair or stay quiet and always wonder how he died.

Watch Doug Johnstone take on Val McDermid and Stuart MacBride at Cluedo in our special event recorded for Book Week Scotland.

The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham

The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham

@AlisonBelsham | Trapeze

From the moment literary agent Jenny Brown heard about Alison Belsham's idea for a new tattoo-inspired thriller at a Bloody Scotland pitching event, she knew the author's crime debut was going to leave an indelible mark on her readers: "[The Tattoo Thief] was a winner, a future bestseller. It’s been thrilling working with Alison and seeing that one-page pitch grow into the most exciting crime debut for years." Belsham takes us to a Brighton underworld where a serial killer is "stealing" the tattoos of their victims. Following the inky clues is the uneasy pairing of tattoo artist Marni Mullins, and newly promoted Detective Inspector Francis Sullivan.

 

June

Caroline's Bikini by Kirsty Gunn

Caroline's Bikini by Kirsty Gunn

Faber&Faber

Back in 2012, Times Literary Supplement called Kirsty Gunn's bagpipe-inspired, James Tait-winning The Big Music: "One of the finest novels of the past decade." Hopes are understandably high, therefore, for the University of Dundee's Professor of Writing Practice and Study's new novel on one of the most timeless narratives of all: unrequited love.

 

July

Isla Dewar

It Takes One to Know One by Isla Dewar

@IslaDewar1 | Polygon Books

Crail's Isla Dewar found huge success in 1996 with her second novel, Women Talking Dirty, which was turned into a film starring Helen Bonham Carter. In her latest novel, we meet Charlie Gavin and Martha Walters. Charlie was abducted as a baby and has spent his life trying to find himself, opening a missing persons bureau in the process, to help others do the same. Single mum Martha takes a job at the agency out of convenience. The office is near her house and it can't be too heartbreaking or involving. Or can it... ?

 

August

All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

@OneNightStanzas | Hodder & Stoughton

In a year where we're all excited about reading the new Kate Atkinson, a new Kate Atkinson also arrives. That's the promise Hodder & Stoughton are making about the fiercely talented 2012 New Writers Awardee Claire Askew. They say fans of Atkinson's work will blaze through Askew's crime debut. The premise is enough to raise our anticipation levels to breaking point. Ryan Summers walks into Three Rivers College and kills twelve women, then himself. As the truth disappears from those seeking it, Askew's debut promises to leave readers questioning their assumptions about the people they love, and reconsider how the world reacts to tragedy.

In a writing rut? Follow Claire Askew's advice on how to keep the words flowing.

The Polish Detective by Hania Allen

The Polish Detective by Hania Allen

Constable

Born in Liverpool, Hania Allen has lived in Scotland longer than anywhere else. Of Polish descent, her father was stationed in St Andrews during the war and spoke so fondly of it, Hania decided to study in the town. In The Polish Detective, Hania introduces a new detective to Dundee in the shape of Polish-born DS Dania Gorska. In her first case of this Tayside-set series, Dania must solve a mysterious triple murder with connections to a druidic cult.

 

Autumn

New Rebus book for 2018

[Untitled] by Ian Rankin

@BeathHigh | Orion 

Ian Rankin delighted his many fans worldwide when he confirmed he was writing a new Rebus novel, to be published in autumn 2018. The news came during Rebus 30, a year of celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the first Rebus book, Knots & Crosses. We patiently await the title and details of Marchmont's most famous fictional resident's 22nd outing.

 

September

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Doubleday

Any year Kate Atkinson publishes a new novel is an exciting year for Scottish fiction, with Costa Book Prize wins for A God in Ruins, Life After Life and Behind the Scenes at the Museum already on her mantelpiece. Transcription tells the story of Juliet Armstrong. Recruited as a young woman by an obscure wartime department of the secret service, Juliet joins the BBC in the aftermath of war, where her life begins to unravel. Can she finally come to terms with the consequences of idealism?

William Boyd Author

Love is Blind by William Boyd

Viking

Born in Accra, Ghana in 1952 to two Fifers, author and screenwriter William Boyd CBE is one of Britain's most celebrated novelists, with a career spanning over 35 years, in which time the Scot has sold an estimated 1.62 million printed books. Love is Blind is Boyd's first full-length novel since 2015's Sweet Caress. It tells the tale of a young Scottish musician who heads to late-19th century Paris to find himself, and is swept up in an obsessive love affair that takes him to Russia and back.

 

November

The Second Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith

The Second Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith

@McCallSmith | Polygon

One of Scotland's most prolific and popular authors (his books have sold 25 million copies and are translated into 46 different languages) will see out the year with his follow up to 2016's My Italian Bulldozer. Hapless food writer Paul Stewart once again finds himself trapped in a series of hilarious misunderstandings, this time facing off against the second worst restaurant in France. 

 

Hungry for more Scottish fiction? Check out our round-up of 33 brilliant Scottish novels from 2017

Go back in time to see our previews of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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