J.J. Toner

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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 publish…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: 4.04 · 1,829 ratings · 190 reviews · 44 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Black Orchestra (Black ...

3.95 avg rating — 469 ratings — published 2013 — 11 editions
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A Postcard from Hamburg (Th...

3.85 avg rating — 266 ratings — published 2015 — 6 editions
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The Wings of the Eagle

3.92 avg rating — 261 ratings — published 2014 — 7 editions
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The Gingerbread Spy (The Bl...

4.03 avg rating — 158 ratings2 editions
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The Serpent's Egg (The Red ...

3.99 avg rating — 128 ratings — published 2016 — 2 editions
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3.71 avg rating — 51 ratings — published 2015 — 2 editions
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Houdini's Handcuffs (Ben Jo...

4.15 avg rating — 47 ratings — published 2011 — 7 editions
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The Black Orchestra Boxset ...

3.89 avg rating — 38 ratings — published 2015
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Find Emily (Ben Jordan, #2)

4.08 avg rating — 24 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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Liberation Berlin

4.55 avg rating — 11 ratings
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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)
3.93 avg rating — 1,192 ratings

The Serpent's Egg
(1 book)
3.99 avg rating — 128 ratings

Houdini's Handcuffs Find Emily
(2 books)
4.13 avg rating — 71 ratings

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The Road to Liberation by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger
"From Midwood’s terrific The Aftermath to well-crafted Liberation Berlin by JJ Toner and all the other talented authors gracing these pages with compelling stories this is simply a great compilation. Raw and heartbreaking words from Kummerow’s story t" Read more of this review »
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The Road to Liberation by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger
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Six exceptional stories commemorating the ending of WW2. Marion Kummerow's Stolen Childhood is a heart-wrenching tale of two sisters torn apart in a concentration camp and their struggle to come together again. Rachel Wesson's When's Mummy Coming sho ...more
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The Poseidon Network by Kathryn Gauci
"Review of; POSEIDON NETWORK by Kathryn Gauci

Larry Hadley, a newspaper correspondent leading a double life of an agent for Britain’s Special Operations Executive known as SOE, had been tasked to assist with helping the Greek resistance movement code-" Read more of this review »
The Poseidon Network by Kathryn Gauci
"A very compelling read.
For lovers of World War II, spies, espionage, Resistance, double agents suspense, and much much more, this book is a must-read.
Beginning in Cairo during 1942, the story is told from the perspective of SOE agent Larry, who is " Read more of this review »
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The Darkest Hour by Roberta Kagan
The Darkest Hour
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More of J.J.'s books…
“Ballymartle was another crossroads village. In the drizzle, it looked to me like a miserable place, but it had one thing that lifted my spirits: it had a railway station. We found a bench in a dilapidated shelter and sat down to wait for a train. Sunlight filtered through the drizzle and flooded the scene. Stretching as far as we could see on all sides were pale birch trees glistening, misshapen and tall, like thin, grey giants frozen in a hundred-year argument. For the first time since we landed on the beach, I began to relax. I closed my eyes. A voice called out after a while, and I opened my eyes. A man stood in a field beyond the opposite platform. I waved to him. “When’s the next train?” The man lifted his cap and scratched his head. “You could be in for a bit of a wait. The last one went through here ten years ago.”
J.J. Toner, The Black Orchestra Boxset - Books 1 - 3

“Be careful when ye fight monsters, lest ye become one.”
J.J. Toner, The Black Orchestra Boxset - Books 1 - 3

“people that we did see were hurrying with purpose toward warm destinations, pushing plumes of breath before them.”
J.J. Toner, The Black Orchestra Boxset - Books 1 - 3

“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

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

“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

“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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