Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg

The great Scottish half-back line of Calvinism, violence and hypocrisy combine to form a novel of devastating power and profundity.

Young Adam by Alexander Trocchi

Trocchi could be called a crime novelist in the same way that PG Wodehouse could be described as a Marxist polemicist. But Young Adam was a novel. And it is centred on an awful crime. It is brilliant in execution, dark in nature.

The View from Daniel Pike by Edward Boyd

Originally a television series and marshalled into a book with the help of Bill Knox, this may be a personal indulgence but it has at its sentimental heart the incarnation of a Glaswegian Philip Marlowe, just as tough but twice as funny.

Laidlaw by William McIlvanney

A book that changed everything for many. A detective novel that played with the formula to say something about the search for good by the imperfect and the discovery of evil by the unfortunate.