Art in Life and Vice Versa in Hull, UK,
Luckily, I downloaded JUST WHISTLE first, before this delightful writer's more predictable procedural, REPRISAL (which I purchased next). JUST WHISTLE is a masterpiece. It takes into account the traditions of hard-boiled crime fiction, including the detective who is somewhat isolated from even himself. In this novel, the remarkable Robins is playing with the genre, and manages to keep alive the straightforward crime procedural in a recognizable, gritty port city, Hull, UK, while exposing the case -- that is to say, his novel -- as a fiction. I cannot do service to his technique by explaining how. You must read it. If nothing else, it is a lesson in literature and why we love to read and write fiction. In an interview, Robins confesses he is a late-bloomer, having first worked in the environment he portrays - a very good thing. He also claims not to have been in a creative writing program - perhaps also a good thing. He did read a "how-to" by Stephen King, and while I am not a King fan, I can guess his playfulness might have found its inspiration there.