In the theme of Bloody Scotland’s 5th anniversary, Mark Billingham has listed his top 5 crime novels for us. How many have you read?

maltesefalcon1930_629THE MALTESE FALCON (1929) by Dashiell Hammett

Still a cracking read nearly ninety years on from its publication, this was the novel that kickstarted the hardboiled movement. Fizzing, fat-free prose, an incredible cast of characters and, in Sam Spade one of the most iconic sleuths of all time.



RED DRAGON (1981) by Thomas Harris

I bought this at an airport, and didn’t put it down even when I was eating. Hannibal Lecter’s first appearance became the template for a legion of inferior imitations and though filmed twice – once well and once badly – the book still affords the most powerful glimpse into a world where monsters are made flesh.




NIGHT DOGS (1996) by Kent Anderson

The most powerful cop novel ever written. Hanson, a damaged Vietnam vet, struggles through the summer of 1975 to exorcise his demons Portland streets that have themselves become a combat zone. Makes Joseph Wambaugh look like a scriptwriter for Midsomer Murders.




THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY (1955) by Patricia Highsmith

In Tom Ripley, Highsmith created the ultimate anti-hero. A chilling depiction of a con-man, serial-killer, and, ultimately, a very American anti-hero.





THE BIG BLOWDOWN (1996) by George Pelecanos

Though happy to call himself a mystery writer, Pelecanos’ ‘tale of Washington’s immigrant community from the early thirties through to 1959, has an epic sweep. Young men take hard decisions in a city which goes to war and then struggles to recover from it. Gripping and heartbreaking in equal measure.



mark-bil-top-5-300x200Mark Billingham will be appearing at Bloody Scotland in 3 events:

Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre, Friday 9th Sept, 8:30pm
Mark Billingham and Peter Robinson, Saturday 10th Sept, 12:15pm
Mark Billingham and My Darling Clementine, Saturday 10th Sept, 8:15pm

Die of Shame by Mark Billingham is published by Little, Brown £18.99