Wm Heinemann publishing director Jason Arthur has bought four novels, described as a "second LA Quartet", from crime writer James Ellroy. Arthur acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Abner Stein for a six-figure sum.
The four novels will be set in Los Angeles during the Second World War and will "seamlessly cohere" with the previous quartet and the more recent Underworld USA trilogy, the publisher said, taking major and minor characters from those books and spotlighting them as younger people. Together, the 11 novels will highlight 31 years of American history in "an unprecedented and ambitious manner".
Arthur said he was "extremely excited to have acquired what promises to be a monumental and sensational work", adding: "I can think of no other contemporary writer as daring as Ellroy—he transcends genre and is truly one of the best novelists writing today. In satisfying complexity and ambition he is unmatched."
Windmill will publish the paperback edition of Ellroy's latest novel, Blood's A Rover, in June 2010, alongside American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand, the other two novels in the Underworld USA Trilogy. This will begin the repackaging of Ellroy's entire backlist by Windmill. Meanwhile Perfidia, the first book in the new deal, will be published as a Wm Heinemann hardback in late 2012.