Lehane is gone, baby, gone to Little, Brown

Little, Brown has fought off com­petition from four other publishers to acquire the rights to the next two titles by American author Dennis Lehane. Deputy publisher David Shelley bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Sarah Nundy, deputy managing director at Andrew Nurnberg Associates, sold on behalf of Ann Rittenberg of Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency.

Lehane's previous nine novels, including Shutter Island and Mystic River, have been published by Transworld in the UK. Both novels, along with Gone, Baby, Gone, have been made into films.

Shelley said: "He has actually been one of my favourite authors and it has always been a dream of mine to publish him and, when the opportunity came up, I jumped at it. It's like a dream come true. We've got fantastic plans on how to break him through to the next level."

Rittenberg said Shelley was "so persuasive" and "so passionate" in his pitch for the book. She added: "The most important thing in publishing is an individual editor's passion for a writer's work, it's what drives this industry."

The first title in the deal is Moonlight Mile, the 6th and final Patrick and Angie detective novel. The book will be published by Little, Brown in spring 2011. The second book in the deal is a follow-up to Lehane's ­2009 novel The Given Day. The book will follow previous protagonist, Danny Coughlin's younger brother, Joe, as a gangster in the 1920s.

The full terms of the deal were undisclosed, however Rittenberg said: "It's a sum that reflects Little, Brown's enthusiasm for Dennis' work."