Viper strikes: Catriona Ward moves to new Serpent's Tail imprint

Viper strikes: Catriona Ward moves to new Serpent's Tail imprint

Catriona Ward has moved to Serpent's Tail's new crime and thriller imprint, Viper Books, signing a two-book deal that includes a new twisty, gothic thriller, The Last House on Needless Street.

Editor Miranda Jewess acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Last House on Needless Street and one other title from Jenny Savill at Andrew Nurnberg Associates. 

Viper, which launched last month, will publish The Last House on Needless Street in spring 2021 in hardback.

Pitched as "immersive" and "redemptive", while delivering "twist after twist", The Last House on Needless Street tells the story of Ted, who lives at the edge of the wild forests of the American Northwest, his only company a disapproving cat, Olivia, and his 11-year-old daughter, Lauren. The blurb reads: "Ted has always been strange—but Olivia’s unease grows as her owner’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic. A mysterious woman, who believes Ted had something to do with her younger sister’s disappearance many years before, moves into the abandoned house next door. When Lauren goes missing, suspicion turns to terror."

Jewess said the book was unlike anything she's read in her career, calling it "a real game-changer of a novel that hoodwinks the reader time and time again with incredible flair".

"Cat Ward has written a gothic thriller that will have crime lovers crying out with glee as she twists the genre into knots, and readers will press it into the hand of their closest friend and demand that they read it too, because they will be desperate to talk about it. We're thrilled to have Cat and her wonderful book on the list,” she said.

Ward published her début Rawblood with Orion's W&N after it bought rights for a five-figure sum in 2014. Little Eve (also W&N) followed in July 2018 and it went on to win the Shirley Jackson Award this year.

Commenting on the new deal with Viper, Ward said: “The moment Miranda described her vision for The Last House on Needless Street I knew the book had found an editor who understood the story and characters exactly as I do. I can’t wait to start working with her and the rest of the team, and I'm so excited to be joining the Viper adventure.”