My Top Ten Novels of 2017

Just in case you’re interested, here are my favourite novels of 2017. I reviewed almost all of these in The Big Issue magazine, but their website has glitched and lost most of them, which is kind of annoying. Anyway, I loved ’em all. Enjoy!

Don Winslow, The Force (HarperCollins)51WODpqSBRL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
A total tour de, ahem, force, this depiction of corruption in the NYPD is astonishing from start to finish.

Sebastian Barry, Days Without End (Faber)
Such a remarkable narrative, joyous and deeply troubling, with real heart, set in the wild west but unlike any Western story you’ve ever read.

Denise Mina, The Long Drop (Harvill Secker)
Just the smartest and most evocative piece of writing, set in 50s Glasgow and based on a true story. Won every prize going, and rightly so.


Michael Farris Smith, Desperation Road (No Exit)
Hardbitten rural American noir written with real empathy for the disenfranchised underclass it depicts. This was the first I’d read from this guy, it won’t be the last.

Lilja Sigurdardottir, Snare (Orenda)
Terrific smuggling thriller set in Iceland from a brilliant writer, new to me. Written with pace and energy and a really dark sense of humour.

 Matt Wesolowski, Six Stories (Orenda)
Ultra-sharp crime writing in this debut, constructed like a truecrime podcast, dripping with menace and rural horror.

Image result for anneliese mackintosh so happy it hurtsMeg Howrey, The Wanderers (Picador)
Deep and intriguing book about the irresistible urge to go into space and explore. Thoughtful and meditative, but also somehow compelling.

Louise Welsh, No Dominion (John Murray)
Final part of Welsh’s fantastic post-apocalyptic trilogy, this was uncompromising stuff, examining how to remake society once it’s all broken down.

Anneliese Mackintosh, So Happy it Hurts (Cape)
First full novel from a brilliant short story writer, and it was tremendously engaging. Written as a mash-up of styles and formats, it dealt brilliantly with mental health and alcoholism while still being funny as hell.

51V8b32xsxL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgChris Brookmyre, Places in the Darkness (Orbit)
Space noir from Scotland’s finest, as he delivers a typically high octane thriller set on a space station, which also tackles issues of genetics, memory and identity. Smart bastard that he is.


About Doug Johnstone

I write things
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