Mark Smith at Zaffre, the new adult fiction imprint at Bonnier Publishing, has sold US rights for L S Hilton's Maestra in a seven-figure pre-empt to Putnam.
Maestra is the first of three psychological thrillers set in the art world, and has already been optioned by Columbia Pictures for a film adaptation.
Putnam senior editor Tara Singh Carlson acquired US rights. Zaffre has already closed foreign rights deals in three territories and has offers in 13 more.
Maestra by follows the story of Judith Rashleigh, who works in a London auction house by day and an insalubrious bar at night, who ends up in a battle for her life after stumbling across a conspiracy.
Singh Carlson said: “I couldn’t take my eyes off of heroine Judith Raleigh. She’s sexy, smart and very, very bad in all the best ways. It reminded me of a female Talented Mr Ripley, set in the glamorous and decadent worlds of London, the French Riviera, the Italian coast and Paris. I was mesmerised.”
Zaffre is publishing Maestra in the UK in January 2016. Putnam will publish later that spring.