1. Of the 19 Ian Rankin novels, my favourite is Black and Blue. DI John Rebus is the hard drinking, heavy smoking Edinburgh detective who shows scant regard for his bosses. Often macabre and always sinister, the underworld characters are larger than life and leap from the pages. A serial killer operating in the 1960s was never caught. And then in the 1980s the killings start again. Rebus’s conduct has him removed from the enquiry, but he will not be brought to heel.

The Forbidden Zone

The Forbidden Zone

2. Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) has written five superb crime novels in the Cormoran Strike series. They are less ‘hard-boiled’ than Rankin’s work, but there is an intelligence and richness to the story telling that is second to none. If I had to choose one it would be The Cuckoo’s Calling. The relationship between Strike, a mentally and physically hurt war veteran turned private investigator, and his secretary, Robin Ellacott is brilliantly portrayed. They both bring their personal baggage to work but there is an underlying chemistry that keeps threatening to boil over. After a famous actress falls to her death from a balcony, the police call it a suicide. Strike’s tenacity for detail and Robin’s fast, focussed thinking brings new information to light. Did she slip or was she pushed? It keeps you guessing to the end.

3. Another great detective series features DI Nick Dixon penned by Damien Boyd. These are set in and around Somerset. I would recommend Dead Lock, one of the most exciting novels I have read. This was my first DI Nick Dixon and I was hooked. The authors experience in criminal law and the Crown Prosecution Service, bring an authenticity to the police investigations. Dixon doesn’t mind who’s toes he steps on in pursuit of the truth. Early on a cold Somerset morning, a ten year old girl is reported missing by her father, a violent alcoholic. Her mother, a drug addict, is found unconscious, and her mother’s boyfriend has disappeared. As the hunt for the girl gathers pace, a second girl goes missing. Dixon identifies local suspects, but one by one they show up dead. It is a race against time to find the missing girls and solve the case before all the suspects are silenced.

4. Peter May is the author of many crime novels with my favourite being The Lewis Man, the second of the Lewis Trilogy. He paints a dramatic and yet romantic portrait of the Isles of Lewis. You can feel the rain on your face, smell the heather, and hear the ocean crashing against the cliffs. In this story, Fin Macleod returns to Lewis, leaving behind his wife and his career as a Detective Inspector in Edinburgh. His plans to rebuild his parents' derelict cottage are interrupted when an unidentified corpse is recovered from a peat bog. The only clue to its identity is a DNA match to a local farmer, a man who has claimed to be an only child. Drawn into the investigation, he uncovers lies and deception at every turn. Someone wishes to keep the truth hidden.

5. Last but not least I have chosen is The Farm by Tom Rob Smith. It is in the style of Scandi Noir and is a compelling read. The book has stories within stories, which gradually unravel to confound the readers expectations. Daniel, receives a call from his English father living in Sweden, to say that his Swedish mother is having a psychotic breakdown. She then calls him claiming there is a conspiracy to get her incarcerated. A teenage girl has gone missing and she knows who’s involved. Daniel heads to Sweden and gets embroiled in Swedish folklore, sinister neighbours, and a wall of silence. It is a page turning, thrilling novel with many surprises.

The Forbidden Zone and Break in Communication by Jon Gliddon are out now. www.jongliddonauthor.com

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Being able to set puzzles for others to solve is a fantastic thing to be able to do, although I always end up worrying that the mysteries in my stories are too easy to solve and too hard to work out. It’s odd to feel both at once, but I often do feel that way as when I’m immersed in the story, I don’t have the objectivity that distance brings... to read more click HERE