There's more to Tartan Noir than trailblazers like McDermid and Rankin, according to fellow crime author Denzil Meyrick.

There is no doubt that Scottish crime fiction – or Tartan Noir (not my favourite epithet) – is burgeoning. It’s hard to travel 50 miles in any direction in our nation without finding a spot inhabited by a fictional detective.

From misted glens and snow-capped peaks, to the underbelly of our cities, remote islands, fishing villages and behind the twitching curtains of leafy suburbs, you’ll find a Scottish sleuth hard at work.

The authors’ names trip off the tongue: Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Quintin Jardine, Denise Mina and many more. And no wonder! They are the trailblazers, fabulous writers all, who have sold millions around the world.

But what about when you’ve put the latest book from your favourite crime writer down? What do you do then? The answer is a simple: read one by somebody who isn't quite as well known. But who?

Well, here are a few of my favourite authors. They have different styles, write on varying subjects and settings, but all are fabulous exponents of the craft. Collectively, they are the best Scottish crime writers you may not have read, but will definitely love.

Douglas Skelton

Having spent two days as a taxi driver and two hours as a wine waiter, mercifully Skelton settled on plying his trade as a journalist. Indeed, he wrote a number of true crime titles prior to turning his hand to fiction. Skelton was also one of those responsible for uncovering the truth behind Glasgow’s Ice Cream Wars, which led to the release of the late Thomas "TC" Campbell.

From his gritty Davie McCall series, through two Dominic Queste novels , his work brims with beautiful prose, well wrought characters, dark humour and superbly crafted plots. His latest, Thunder Bay, is a study of the dark past of a small island off the coast of Scotland. A twentysomething female journalist shines a light on strange goings-on and closely guarded secrets. He describes it as a change from the "kick-in-the-door" approach to something more lyrical. It works, too. The novel was recently long listed for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Book of the Year, his second nomination.

A rapidly growing number of fans are already clamouring for the next in the series, The Blood Is Still, due out in the spring.

Caro Ramsay

Caro Ramsay studied in London for four years prior to opening Scotland’s biggest multidisciplinary clinic. But she’s also a fine, fine writer. Her first novel Absolution earned her a New Blood Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association. The suffering of Strangers, the eleventh in the Anderson and Costello series, is a glimpse of surrogacy gone wrong. It’s closely followed by Mosaic, a take on the country house mystery theme.

Ramsay has been compared to "Ruth Rendell at her best". High praise indeed. There is little doubt she continues to be one Scotland’s best.

Neil Broadfoot

Like Skelton, Neil Broadfoot has a background in journalism and more recently PR and communications. His first novel Falling Fast gained him a shortlist for Bloody Scotland’s Scottish Book of the year and the Dundee International Book Prize.

His latest series – the first of which is No Man’s Land – is set in Stirling and features Connor Fraser. Broadfoot writes tense, catch-your-breath books. They’re almost impossible to put down. But there is subtlety too, with Brexit and the independence debate at the heart of it all. It earned him a McIlvanney long list this year. This series continues with No Place to Die. If you like thrillers with a heart and a brain, this is for you.

Theresa Talbot

You have most likely heard Theresa Talbot’s voice booming from your radio as she briefs the nation on the exigencies of traffic and travel on BBC Radio Scotland. She tells me she presented the radio spin-off of The Beechgrove Potting Shed, but won’t say what happened in there.

But TT doesn’t shy away from the darker side of life in her novels. The first, The Lost Children, addresses the vexed subject of abuse of young women within the Magdalene Institutions. In her latest, The Quiet Ones, she examines the horrors faced by boys at the hands of football coach Harry Nugent. Here again, Talbot squares up to real-life events via the prism of fiction.

Her books draw you in because of the many parallels with actual crimes and the way she is able to concoct believable, thought provoking tales. The harrowing nature of the subject matter makes her an important figure within Scotland’s crime writing community. The historical abuse faced by so many somehow seems much more visceral on the pages of a novel than it may come across in a news report. A writer who makes you sit-up, take notice and care.

Michael Malone

Brought up in Ayrshire, Michael Malone (or Malky Maloney as he’s known in Kintyre for reasons too complex to list here) is an author and poet. He has over two hundred poems published in magazines and brings this poetic style to his books. Like Theresa Talbot, he deals with some of the most painful issues faced by society, but from a tighter perspective - that of the family unit. In The Absence of Miracles, Malone tells the story of John Docherty a thirtysomething teacher who finds a hidden family secret when clearing out the loft of his mother’s home when she is forced into residential care following a stroke. The novel highlights the dilemma faced by those left helpless and bewildered when they realise the life they thought they had isn’t necessarily real. Malone is the master of twists, turns and the unexpected, with the skill to keep things grounded. So much so, that the reader can picture themselves in the very circumstances described. Superb storytelling from a master of his craft.

Alex Kane

Alex Kane (Emma Kennedy) is one of the brightest young writers to have emerged in recent years. Having signed with two publishing houses that subsequently collapsed, she is also the model of tenacity and determination. Now on the road to success with new publisher Hera, these personal qualities are mirrored in her work. What She Did, her latest, sees three women united by one devastating secret. Alex’s books twist and turn so much your head will spin. She is often compared to Martina Cole, but in my estimation at least, her novels have real soul and punch that mark her out as not just one to watch but a writer who has already arrived.

Gordon Brown

When he’s not presiding over the Bloody Scotland crime festival of which he is a founder member, being a DJ on local radio, or immersed in his day job as a strategic planning consultant, Gordon Brown is writing crime novels.

His protagonist, Craig McIntyre, has the ability to change the way people behave by his sheer presence. This makes for fascinating reading that is definitely different, something for which we all strive. Highest Lives, the fourth in the series does not disappoint. With the ultimate in illegal narcotics hitting the streets of LA, only McIntyre can save countless lives. It’s also high time Brown’s originality and inventiveness were celebrated. Look out for his new series coming soon from Polygon.

Denzil Meyrick's Kintyre-set DCI Daley novels have sold more than two million copies. The seventh in the series, A Breath on Dying Embers, was long-listed for the McIlvanney Prize and is out now.