J.J. Toner

Goodreads Author

Dublin, Ireland



Douglas Adams, Robert Harris, Chuck Wendig, James Thurber, RA Lafferty ...more

Member Since
May 2011


After 27 years working with computers in a variety of industries: Oil exploration, pharma, hospitals, manufacturing, shipping etc., I retired early and began to write. I've been writing full time since 2007, and have completed hundreds of short stories and self-published 7 novels.

The Black Orchestra, a WW2 spy story set in Berlin.
The Wings of the Eagle (Black Orchestra #2)
A Postcard from Hamburg (Black Orchestra #3)
The Gingerbread Spy (Black Orchestra #4)

The Serpent's Egg (Red Orchestra WW2 spy thriller)

Irish detective thrillers:
Houdini's Handcuffs (Ben Jordan #1)
Find Emily (Ben Jordan #2)

My latest publications are 2 short novellas featuring Kriminalkommissar Saxon in pre-war Munich. Zugzwang and Queen Sacrifice and 2 short SF stories call

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J.J. Toner Thanks for the question, Karen. Honestly, I don't know the answer. It's an all-consuming passion; I work hard to improve with each book that I…moreThanks for the question, Karen. Honestly, I don't know the answer. It's an all-consuming passion; I work hard to improve with each book that I publish, and I have the feeling that I wouldn't last long if I stopped. (less)
J.J. Toner Yes. Wouldn't have it any other way. :)
Average rating: 3.94 · 1,420 ratings · 113 reviews · 26 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Black Orchestra (Black ...

3.92 avg rating — 410 ratings — published 2013 — 11 editions
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A Postcard from Hamburg (Th...

3.83 avg rating — 240 ratings — published 2015 — 6 editions
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The Wings of the Eagle

3.87 avg rating — 241 ratings — published 2014 — 7 editions
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The Serpent's Egg (The Red ...

3.95 avg rating — 109 ratings — published 2016 — 2 editions
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The Gingerbread Spy (The Bl...

3.93 avg rating — 109 ratings
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Houdini's Handcuffs (Ben Jo...

4.11 avg rating — 44 ratings — published 2011 — 7 editions
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3.71 avg rating — 48 ratings — published 2015 — 2 editions
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The Black Orchestra Boxset ...

3.86 avg rating — 28 ratings — published 2015
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Find Emily (Ben Jordan, #2)

4.04 avg rating — 23 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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Bird Watcher

4.50 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2011 — 2 editions
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More books by J.J. Toner…

Words 101 : Ago

Grammar 101. AGO Reading and editing other people’s work, there are some issues that crop up over and over. Here’s one of my favourites: The word AGO means before now. It shouldn’t be used in the past tense. When King Charles I lost his head he had been crowned only 24 years ago. This is […]
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Published on October 08, 2018 09:10
The Black Orchestra The Wings of the Eagle A Postcard from Hamburg The Gingerbread Spy
(4 books)
3.89 avg rating — 1,028 ratings

The Serpent's Egg
(1 book)
3.95 avg rating — 109 ratings

Houdini's Handcuffs Find Emily
(2 books)
4.09 avg rating — 67 ratings

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Liberty Boy by David Gaughran
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This is a wonderful historical novel. A love story, set against a background of the brutal and unjust way the British ruled over the Irish in 1803. The main character makes a living from a stall in a Dublin market (the "Glib") until the British erect ...more
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Destroyer by Chris  Fox
Destroyer (Void Wraith, #1)
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Unrelenting by Marion Kummerow
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More of J.J.'s books…
Groucho Marx
“From the moment I picked up your book until I put it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.”
Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx
“I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.”
Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx
“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

Declan Burke
“An erect building is a shackled slave. I hear the mutinous grumbling of vertical buildings. I hear the grinding frustration of those compelled against their will to remain standing. A building is energy crucified against space and time.”
Declan Burke, Absolute Zero Cool

Robert   Harris
“Of all human activities, writing is the one for which it is easiest to find excuses not to begin – the desk’s too big, the desk’s too small, there’s too much noise, there’s too much quiet, it’s too hot, too cold, too early, too late. I had learned over the years to ignore them all, and simply to start.”
Robert Harris, The Ghost

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message 5: by Jim

Jim Wills Many thanks for reviewing "A Few Men Faithful." I wasn't aware that it appeared on Goodreads until quite recently. I agree entirely that the confusion about the Civil War continues and will probably never be resolved. Perhaps the more recent flurry of books dealing with it will help. At the time of researching the novel, I was guided to a degree by Michael Hopkinson's "Green Against Green," though it's always wise to consider political bias in such works. Found it at the bookstore in Collins Barracks.

I'm pleased you regard my research as "diligent," but this also includes period idiom. There are many transcriptions, to pick one example, of Michael Collins speaking informally. He had quite a few "Englishims" due to ten years in London, but he was also quite fond of "boyo" and "yerrah," usually before a wrestling session. The "now don't piss yerselfs" line I lifted whole from Coogan's "Michael Collins," where there are many such idiomatic transcriptions. These are just two examples. I've read deeply in contemporary accounts and letters, plus many, many books. The upshot is I do believe the idiom can be truly rendered without slipping into anything near stage-Irish "caricature."

On a more personal note, my mother's ill health when I was a child meant that I would spend months at a time with my maternal grandparents. They left County Tyrone in 1919. Their speech patterns, idioms and sentence structures were my main template: "Are ye gettin?", "yer man", "wet the tay" all come immediately to mind.

Regarding the ballads, I was very conscious that my audience would not all be Irish or even Irish in North America, Australia, etc. With the exception of "Glory O," I was well aware that the other songs would not be familiar to the majority of readers and that they would fill in some early historical blanks (1798,e.g.) without interrupting the story unduly. As well, I wanted to make it clear that during these years the troops had three things to do for amusement: drink stout, write letters and sing among themselves to minimize the boredom. Letter writing is out today; I don't count emails. Singing the old songs, especially obscure ones, is out except in session pubs. Only the stout remains. As far as I was concerned, it was a bit of verisimilitude with side benefits. However, I'm not the least surprised you would skip over them.

All this is neither a challenge nor a criticism of your review. Not in the least; thanks for taking the time and mulling it over. I did, however, feel a bit of clarification was in order.


VampireNovelFan Thanks for the friendvite, J.J.! Best of luck with your writing!


message 3: by David

David Fleming J.J. Thanks for adding me as a friend. Your writing and background sound interesting. I also aim to write fun SF.

Harlequin Books Hello J.J. Toner, it is a pleasure to meet you. If you ever have any questions about Harlequin or our books, please feel free to ask.

Kim S, Harlequin Books ambassador

Kelly/yllektra Thanks for adding me! :)

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