Daily News columnist Mike McAlary has been in the trenches as a journalist since journalists, well, dug trenches. He knows New York and the myriad characters the city throws up from the asphalt and in "Sore Loser" we get a peek at quite a few of them, culled from McAlary’s immediate imagination perhaps, but doubtless based on the countless characters he has encountered in the years leading up to his Pulitzer Prize win for commentary earlier this year. This is McAlary’s first novel and it introduces the reader to a newly minted street hero, NYPD Deputy Inspector Mickey Donovan. Needless to say, there are dead bodies all over the town with Donovan in hot pursuit of the bad guys in this fast-paced book. 296 pages, hardcover. William Morrow, $24.
A lavish production that is indeed fitting given the fact that the Celts spawned a culture that was itself lavish — and lasting. Juliette Wood is based in the Department of Welsh at the University of Cardiff and has written extensively on the story of the Celts, both factual and mythical. 144 pages, hardcover. Stewart, Tabori and Chang, New York, $27.50.
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THE DEER’S CRY
In this eighth book of the Keltiad fantasy series, Kennealy-Morrison goes back to the distant days when Keltia was not yet, and weaves the tale of how it came to be. Keltia was the far-distant world to which the Kelts fled in the Year 453 by the Common Reckoning. 360 pages, hardcover. HarperPrism (a division of HarperCollins), $24.
DRINKING FROM THE SACRED WELL
This book, from one of the world’s leading Celtic scholars, weaves together the stories of 12 Celtic saints who lived from the third to the seventh centuries, and who were part of a remarkable flowering of spirituality that was both Christian and pagan. 276 pages, hardcover. Harper San Francisco, $18.