33 Scottish Novels to Look Forward to in 2019

33 Scottish Novels to Look Forward to in 2019
Category: Reading

A new year can only mean one thing: new books to get excited about. 

During an epic trawl of publishers' catalogues, the 33 new Scottish novels listed below caught the eye, but this list could have been 50 strong.

With new releases from the bestselling Ali Smith, Leila Aboulela and Chris Brookmyre rubbing shoulders with hotly-anticipated debuts from P. M. Freestone, Alan Trotter and Elizabeth Macneal, we are in for a heady mix of the established and new.

Be sure to make space on your bookshelves, replace the bulb on your bedside lamp, and stock up on bookmarks. 2019 is going to be lit'. 

Please note: this preview was compiled, in the main, using publisher's spring catalogues. Many more exciting novels will be announced later this year. If you don't spot the Scottish novel you are most excited about, below, we'd love to hear about it. Please tweet us @ScottishBkTrust or email hello@scottishbooktrust.com


February's Son by Alan Parks

February's Son by Alan Parks


The Times memorably described Alan Parks's Detective Harry McCoy as, "so noir he makes most other Scottish cops seem light grey." In McCoy's second outing, bodies with grisly messages scrawled on their chests are piling up in 1970s Glasgow. New drugs on the streets are causing rival gangs to push hard for control, and the city's endemic corruption is doing nothing to calm the situation. Can Harry recover from the battering he took in Bloody January to find the killer? 

Follow @AlanJParks on Twitter.  

A Daughter's Shame by Audrey Reimann

A Daughter's Shame by Audrey Reimann

Ebury Press

Now based in East Lothian, mother to three, grandmother to 10, and foster mother to 25, Audrey Reimann already counts comedian Sarah Millican as a fan and will surely gain more fans in 2019 with A Daughter's Shame; a novel which sees the author returns to her Macclesfield roots. In a town whose cotton and silk industries were hit hard by the Second World War, we meet Lily Stanway. She never knew her father and knows even less about the tensions and ties between her mother and the members of two prominent Macclesfield families. When she falls for a man she shouldn't, and finds herself 'in trouble', her family's secrets start to unravel.

For the Good Times by David Keenan

For The Good Times by David Keenan

Faber & Faber

Anyone who took a psychedelic tour through the post-punk scene of 1980s Airdrie courtesy of David Keenan's This Is Memorial Device will never forget it - and will be quick to recommend to friends. Keenan's second novel travels over the Irish Sea, and back in time, to 1970s Belfast. It follows Sammy and his friends, working out of an IRA-run comic book shop, as they plunge into a long dark night of military terror, sectarian violence, occult visions and religious intensity in a novel which promise to unpack any dewy-eyed Troubles romance.

Follow David Keenan, aka @ReverseDiorama, on Twitter. 

The Man with No Face by Peter May

The Man with No Face by Peter May

Quercus Publishing

Take a break from the real-life European drama of the spring with Peter May's Brussels-set thriller. It's 1979. A double assassination is witnessed by a young autistic girl who can recall every detail about the killer except his face. Jaded Edinburgh journalist Neil Bannerman is called upon to protect the young witness, uncover a conspiracy, and unmask a killer at the heart of European politics. 

Follow @AuthorPeterMay on Twitter.



Murder in the Merchant City by Angus McAllister

Murder in the Merchant City by Angus McAllister

Polygon Books

Polygon snapped up Angus McAllister's second novel after his self-published, tenement-life satire Close Quarters became a word-of-mouth hit. Murder in the Merchant City takes us to 1990s Glasgow, a city where ancient and modern, and rich and poor, live side by side. A young single mother named Annette Somerville earns her living in a high-class sauna, but keeps her personal and professional life strictly separate. When a serial killer starts knocking off the sauna's most regular customers, however, Annette has some difficult decisions to make. 

Follow @McAllisterAngus on Twitter.

Muscle by Alan Trotter

Muscle by Alan Trotter

Faber & Faber

Box is sitting smoking a cigarette when a man called _____ arrives in his city – thrown from a moving car. They start to
work together, breaking hands, extracting promises, and easing their flow of regret. But the arrival of detective Mike Swagger sweeps Box and _____ into a play that isn't their own, and it doesn't look like it will end well. Can Box do anything to alter his fate or is he just dumb muscle?

Everything about Edinburgh-based Alan Trotter's (who himself works at Canongate) debut novel is intriguing. Said to echo the writing of Anthony Burgess and Kurt Vonnegut, Faber & Faber describe Muscle as, "Drunk on cinematic and literary influence... a slice of noir fiction in collapse." We can't wait to unpack it. 

Follow @AlanTrotter on Twitter.

Shadowscent by P.M. Freestone

Shadowscent by P.M. Freestone

Scholastic (US release date: autumn 2019)

We couldn't be more excited to read New Writer Awardee P.M. Freestone's debut YA novel Shadowscent - the first release in a hotly-anticipated duo. Freestone takes us to Aramtesh, an empire where scent has power. When disaster strikes and the crown prince lies poisoned, long-suppressed rivalries threaten to blow this empire apart. It's up to Rakel, a poor village girl with a talent for fragrances, and Ash, the prince's loyal bodyguard, to find an antidote. To succeed, this unlikely pair must unravel cryptic secrets, as well as buried truths from their own pasts, in an adventure that will ignite your senses.

Follow @PM_Freestone on Twitter. 

Cold as the Grave by James Oswald

Cold as the Grave by James Oswald


All eyes are on a rowdy protest as it makes way down Edinburgh's Royal Mile, apart from those of Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean. In his line of sight is a dead end mews; a door ajar. Inside lies a mummified body, untouched for decades. The room in which the body lies is cold as the grave and the story of how it got there is more complicated that DCI McLean could ever imagine. Fans of farmer-cum-crime-writer James Oswald will be eagerly awaiting the 9th installment of his Inspector McLean series. 

Follow @SirBenfro on Twitter


Spring by Ali Smith

Spring by Ali Smith


Inverness-born Ali Smith returns in 2019 with the third installment of her 'once-in-a-generation masterpiece' Seasonal Quartet. The first of the standalone yet inter-connected novels, Autumn, made the Man Booker Prize shortlist, and Winter was shortlisted for The 2018 Orwell Prize. Details of the plot are light on the ground but Spring will come in March. The leaves will open in many expectant hands. The dawn will break cold but deep in our imaginations things will grow.

Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela

Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela

Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Born in Cairo, raised in Khartoum, and now happily settled in Aberdeen, Leila Aboulela is one of Scottish fiction's freshest and most exciting voices. Her latest novel follows three women, facing very different challenges, as they take a road trip through the Scottish Highlands. On their journey, they are visited by the Hoopoe, a sacred bird, whose fables from Muslim and Celtic literature compel them to question faith, femininity, love, loyalty and sacrifice. Anticipation is high for the three-time Women's Prize for Fiction longlisted author's latest novel, described by Patricia Duncker as, "a Scottish-Arabic Canterbury Tales."

The Dollmaker by Nina Allan

The Dollmaker by Nina Allan


The Isle of Bute's Nina Allan is quietly building a reputation as one of the most exciting talents in literary fiction, and her third novel is RiverRun's literary lead this spring. 

Dollmaker Andrew Garvie strikes up a correspondence with the mysterious Bramber Winters through a magazine ad, and soon falls in love. His heart takes him on a trip to meet Bramber but he is fraught with worry. He hasn't told his new love about his visit or that he has dwarfism. During his journey, Bramber's letters continue in all of their dark charm...

Publisher Jon Riley says, "Nina Allan's sublime novel shows the imagined and the desired becoming real. It is quite thrillingly original storytelling which embraces the light and the dark, loneliness and love, beauty and terror."

Cala by Laura Legge

Cala by Laura Legge

Head of Zeus

Dual Scottish/Canadian citizen, and 2016 PEN International New Writers Award winner, Laura Legge makes her fiction debut this spring with a wondrous tale about a coven of witches, set in the Outer Hebrides. In a novel about the pains of not having a country, and how dark beauty can grow in sunless places, Legge's witches scrape out a pagan existence at a farmstead known as Cala. The youngest of their number, Euna, becomes sick of the witch's scavenged seaweed diet and begs food from local fisherman Aram. Easily seduced by the first man she's laid eyes on, Euna's transgressions force her to flee the dark Hebridean sisterhood into the bright lights of the modern world. 


Down to the Sea by Sue Lawrence

Down to the Sea by Sue Lawrence


The multi-talented cookery and historical fiction author Sue Lawrence returns in March 2019 with a thrilling dual timeline novel, which already counts Kirsty Wark and Lorraine Kelly as fans. In modern day Edinburgh, Rona and Craig have bought a large Victoria do-er upper in Newhaven. They plan to renovate it before opening its doors as a luxury care home but something isn't quite right with the place, especially when the sea mist swirls.

In 1890s Newhaven, Jessie has been forced into the poor house by recently widowed, and deeply superstitious, fishwives. A strange fellow inmate inspires Jessie to pick away at the poorhouse's truth. A truth that could have profound and dangerous consequences in the future. 

Follow @SueHLawrence on Twitter.

The Amber Seeker by Mandy Haggith

The Amber Seeker by Mandy Haggith


We are excited to get our hands on the second installment of Robin Jenkins Literary Award-winner Mandy Haggith's 'The Stone Series'. In an intergenerational tale set in 320BC, Haggith will take the reader from the Arctic to the Mediterranean as we rejoin the characters she introduced in The Walrus Mutterer last year.

Follow Mandy Haggith, aka @CyberCrofter, on Twitter.

Outcasts by Claire McFall

Outcasts by Claire McFall

Kelpies Edge

Claire McFall has sold over 2-million copies of her Ferryman series, worldwide, and the film rights to Hollywood. Her popular trilogy will draw to a hotly-anticipated close this spring. In Ferryman and Trespassers, Tristan and Dylan escaped death and conquered destiny. Finally, there is nothing to stop them from being together. Or is there? Every action has a consequence. Their escape to the real world has caused an imbalance in the afterlife, and two sould are owed.  

Follow @McFall_Claire on Twitter. 


Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Little, Brown

Chris Brookmyre returns from his stint as one half of Ambrose Parry with a brand new standalone thriller in 2019. To Amanda, a new nanny, the Temple family seem to have it all. Like any family, however, darker secrets and strong emotions ripple beneath all the bright smiles and warm hugs. The events at a family reunion, in the Portuguese villa where little Niamh Temple died 16 years ago, give Amanda enough reason to suspect one of the Temples is hiding something terrible. And suspicion itself is a terrible thing. 

Follow @CBrookmyre on Twitter.  

You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr

You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr


Damian Barr gained many fans with his memoir Maggie and Me, picking up the Sunday Times Memoir of the Year award along the way. Anticipation levels for his debut novel are, therefore, understandably high. The setting is South Africa. The year is 1901; the height of the Boer War. Sarah van der Watt and her son are forcibly removed from their farm and taken to Bloemfontein Concentration Camp where the English promise they will be safe.

The setting is South Africa. The year is 2010. Willem is a teenager, and an outsider. He just wants to be left alone with his books and his dog (don't we all). But Willem's mum is worried about him. Worried enough to send him to New Dawn Safari Training Camp where they promise 'to make men out of boys'.

Follow @Damian_Barr on Twitter.


Metropolis by Philip Kerr

Metropolis by Philip Kerr


In 2018, the literary world lost Philip Kerr far too soon. Before he passed, this prolific author gave the world one last Bernie Gunther tale to enjoy; the detective's origin story. In 1920s Berlin, with four years of bloody trench warfare in his recent memory, Bernie isn't callow enough to believe a promotion out of the vice squad is truly an opportunity to leave behind a world of criminal gangs, perverse sex clubs and corruption. When a series of murders occur - so brutal they even shake a city where nothing is truly verboten - Gunther must take risks to solve the case as the Nazi party's dark tendrils creep through The Grey City. 

The Unnatural Death of a Jacobite by Douglas Watt

The Unnatural Death of a Jacobite by Douglas Watt

Luath Press

Linlithgow-based poet, historian and novelist Douglas Watt will take readers on a 1689 thrill ride through Scotland in this book. A young lawyer's body is discovered, murdered, in Edinburgh. But what was the motive? An office rivalry? His criminal connections? Or could it be his political activity as a Jacobite? MacKenzie and Scougall are sent to investigate as Bonnie Dundee builds a Highlands army in a bid to crush government forces, and restore James Stewart to the throne. 

Follow @DougieWatt1 on Twitter.

Surgeons' Hall by E.S. Thomson

Surgeons' Hall by E. S. Thomson


The fourth installment of E. S. Thomson's 'highly atmospheric and darkly gothic' Jem Flockhart series will whip us from Burke & Hare's Edinburgh to the dissection tables of London's most notorious anatomy school. With her previous three novels (Beloved Poison, Dark Asylum, The Blood), E. S. Thomson has already racked up a CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger longlisting, and shortlistings for the Saltire Prize and the William MacIlvanney Crime Book of the Year Award - to sit alongside her PhD in the social history of medicine. Will you have the guts for Surgeons' Hall?

Follow @ES_Thomson on Twitter.



Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Ink Road

Originally from Las Vegas, and formerly of the US Navy, Akemi Dawn Bowman now calls Scotland home. Her debut YA novel Starfish made a big splash on both sides of the pond - described as 'The best YA debut of the year' by Paste Magazine' - so expectations are sky high for Summer Bird Blue. Rumi Seto has no idea what to eat, where to go or who to love. The only thing she is sure of is that she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea. When Lea dies suddenly in a car accident, Rumi's mother sends Rumi to live with an aunt in Hawaii so she has space to process her grief. With the help from new friends, Rumi tries to piece her life together, and complete the song she and Lea had begun. 

Follow @AkemiDawn on Twitter. 


Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Orenda Books

Ian Rankin is an early fan of Fun Lovin' Crime Writers drummer Doug Johnstone's 10th novel. The doyen of Edinburgh Tartan Noir described Breakers as, "Doug Johnstone's best book yet. An unsparing yet sympathetic depiction of Edinburgh's ignored underclass, with terrific characterisation. Tense, pacy, filmic." The story centres on 17-year-old Tyler. He already has enough problems caring for his younger sister and drug-addict mum but his older siblings nevertheless coerce him into breaking into rich people's homes. When his brother stabs a homeowner, leaving her for dead, events take a darker turn. They become nightmarish when it emerges the woman is the wife of Edinburgh's biggest crime lord.

Follow @Doug_Johnstone on Twitter. 

Conviction by Denise Mina

Conviction by Denise Mina

Harvill Secker

When her husband runs off with her two kids, and best friend, Anna McDonald becomes obsessed with a true crime podcast. All alone in a dark house, Anna becomes convinced she knew one of the victims in the mysterious case the host describes. She even thinks she knows what might have caused a yacht full of bodies to sink to the bottom of the Med. As her past and present lives collide, Anna must decide to risk it all to solve the crime no-one else can explain. Conviction is Denise Mina's first novel since the outstanding The Long Drop scooped the Gordon Burns and William McIlvanney prizes. 

Follow @DameDeniseMina on Twitter. 

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal


Writer and potter Elizabeth Macneal threw publishers into a spin with her 2018 Caledonia Novel Award-winning debut novel. Sophie Jonathan from Picador finally emerged from a 14-way auction clutching the rights to publish The Doll Factory in the UK, describing it as, "one of the most heart-stopping, gripping books I have ever read. This is a novel of myriad themes... that demands discussion and debate. The Doll Factory deserves to be a sensation, and I cannot wait to publish it." Set in a vividly drawn 1850s London, on the eve of The Great Exhibition, it tells the tale of Iris, a young woman who aspires to be an artist, and the man whose obsession may destroy her world for ever. Paula Hawkins and Ian Rankin are early fans and we can't wait to play with this book.

Follow @esmacneal ‏on Twitter. 

Tiger by Polly Clark

Tiger by Polly Clark


Writing a book is always a harrowing journey. This is especially true when your research takes you to the remote forests of far east Russia to track the Siberian tiger. That is how committed former zookeeper Polly Clark was to her second novel, Tiger, described as a 'mesmerising literary novel set between the UK and Siberia about mothers, daughters and the wild side of female nature'. A resident of Helensburgh, Canadian-born Clark drew praise from Margaret Atwood and Louis de Bernières for her Myslexia Prize-winning debut Larchfield. And we're sure readers will be prowling the aisles of bookshops and libraries to get their claws into her new release, this May. 

Follow @MsPollyClark on Twitter.


Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson


Jackson Brodie fans have had to wait almost a decade for the 5th installment of Kate Atkinson's bestselling, adapted-for-TV series. The tough-shelled, soft-centred private investigator will return to his Yorkshire roots as Atkinson reveals some of Brodie's complicated life, and the tragic past that helps him connect with life's lost and dysfunctional souls. 

A Line of Forgotten Blood by Malcolm Mackay

A Line of Forgotten Blood by Malcolm Mackay

Head of Zeus

The Isle of Lewis's Malcolm Mackay is a rising star of Tartan Noir, gaining notoriety for his thrilling books and incredibly long titles. In A Line of Forgotten Blood, his eighth novel, Mackay returns to setting and characters he introduced in 2018's In the Cage Where Your Saviours Hide. 

Scotland has been a proudly independent country for centuries but the country's success is turning sour. In the windswept, corruption-rotted city of Challaid, PC Vinny Reno discovers his ex-wife, Freya, has gone missing. He turns to private detectives Darian Ross and Sholto Douglas for help. They discover a collision between Freya and a wealthy banking family, and so much more.  

Follow @Malcolm_Mackay on Twitter. 


The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland


Carnoustie resident Sandra Ireland's intriguing third novel is a contemporary tale which sets itself the task of exploring 'patriarchal power, coercion and emotional abuse, set against the backdrop of an ancient Scottish folktale.' Ellie Rook has forged a new life overseas, desperate to escape her 'kid from the scrapyard' reputation. But one phone call is all it takes to bring her home. Her mother has fallen from a notorious waterfall, which, according to local legend, once claimed the life of a regicidal warrior queen. The tragic incident forces Ellie to explore the old folktale further as she confronts disturbing truths about her family, and the woman she has become.

Follow @22_ireland on Twitter.

Butterflies by Jemma Wallace

Butterflies by Jemma Wallace


Edinburgh-based single parent Jemma Wallace won the 'One in Four' competition, which included a publishing contract with Trapeze Book, an imprint of OrionSet up to recognise that one in every four UK families are headed by a single parent, the competition sought an aspiring author with experience of single parent life. The judges were deeply impressed by Wallace's multi-generational novel, which focuses on two women from the same family as they embark on profoundly different, yet similarly stigmatised, single parenthood journeys in 1953 and 2012. 

Follow @Jemma_L_Wallace on Twitter. 



Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee

Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee

Harvill Secker

The son of Indian immigrants to the west of Scotland, a young Abir Mukherjee's life changed forever when, aged 15, his friend made him read Gorky Park. From that moment on, Abir wanted to write crime fiction; an ambition he's richly realised. This year, the 2017 CWA Historical Dagger Award-winner will release the latest addition to his Sam Wyndham mystery series, set in 1920s India - a period of Anglo-Indian history Mukherjee felt had been forgotten. If you've not yet met Captain Sam Wyndham and his super sharp Indian Sergeant, Surrender-not Banerjee, you have plenty of time to catch up on this award-winning series before the summer.  

Follow @radiomukhers  on Twitter.

The Wrong Side of Kai by Estelle Maskame

The Wrong Side of Kai by Estelle Maskame

Ink Road

Not many people can claim to have written six books, and sold one-million copies of them in 19 territories, by the tender age of 21. Peterhead's Estelle Maskame is one of them. Fans of her wildly successful DIMLY (Did I Mention I Love You) series - not to mention Estelle's passionate online 'family' of 151k Twitter and 18k Instagram fans - will be desperate to read the YA phenomenon's latest release. The Wrong Side of Kai is a tale of online bullying that promises to be 'brutally honest about how teenagers actually act and speak.'

Follow @EstelleMaskame on Twitter. 


Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Vampire Menace by Olga Wojtas

Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Vampire Menace by Olga Wojtas


2015 New Writer Awardee and former journalist Olga Wojtas quickly assembled a cult following with her comic crime debut Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Golden Samovar. Compared to the likes of P. G. Wodehouse, Blackadder and the Marx Brothers, Wojtas's second novel will reacquaint readers with intrepid librarian Shona McMonagle.

An accomplished linguist and martial artist, the time-travelling McMonagle journeys to the sunlight-starved mountain village of Sans-Soleil, in France. Its residents are reeling from a series of unexplained deaths and they soon draw our hero into a full-blown vampire hunt. Can Shona solve the mystery, and save her own skin, before returning to present-day Morningside Library? We can't wait to find out. 

Follow @OlgaWojtas on Twitter.


The Stone of Destiny by Caroline Logan

The Stone of Destiny by Caroline Logan


From her home in the Cairngorms, biology teacher Caroline Logan is perfectly located to explore Scottish myths and legends, which she promises to do with her YA debut. A mark on Ailsa's face brands her as a changeling in the eyes of others. It's maybe why she has chosen a secluded life. But when she rescues two selkies from bloodthirsty raiders, Ailsa's world shifts. With the help of the Prince of Eilanmor, she must journey north to capture The Stone of Destiny before the malignant creature on her tail captures her. 

Follow Caroline Logan, aka @BearPuffBooks, on Twitter. 


Be sure to fill your to-read pile with all the book recommendations in our 2018 preview. 

Subscribe to our monthly e-updates for book lovers