Alert readers will already have spotted that Oh Marina Girl is an anagram of Graham Lironi, a fact that will feel considerably creepier after reading this novel in full.

That anagrammatical title is the final flourish of a story in which fiction and reality blend into each other until they're impossible to disentangle.

This is a literary thriller, in that it's as much about puzzles, games and storytelling as about crime. It follows Morgan (his name is used only once - blink and you'll miss it), the letters editor of a Glasgow-based newspaper. He was once married, with a son, but there's tragedy in his past that he keeps even from his colleagues. On a particular morning, he receives an anonymous letter from someone who claims to be holding a hostage who will be killed if his demands are not printed on the front page next day. The letter writer cites the case of Craig Liddell, a recently murdered book reviewer (yes, you read right), to show he's serious.

What's happened to spark off this new threat is that the paper has run a scathing review of a novel which took the abortion debate as its main theme. A reader wrote a letter defending the novel, which was printed. And now that reader is being held hostage and the paper is being warned never to print such opinions again. Morgan's particular horror is that, as well as being the recipient of these frightening messages, everything he learns about this affair points back in his direction. In several ways, some of which he can work out, while others are beyond him, he's implicated up to his neck.

As a mystery, it's an unconventional thriller but one that keeps its readers guessing at every stage of the game. On the one hand, Lironi is constantly reminding us that we're reading a work of fiction. The detective, Pardos, doesn't ring true for a second, and the grand explanation, when it comes, is delivered in such formal, stilted speech that can only be a deliberate way of reinforcing the artificiality of it all. There's even a character called Guy Fall, for goodness' sake. On the other hand: Lironi's own penchant for anagrams? The murdered book reviewer? Oh Marina Girl leaves the creepy feeling after reading the final page that you've brought something nasty from between its covers back into the real world with you ...