Constable has acquired two standalone titles from award-winning crime writer Craig Russell, the first of which, Where the Devil Hides, is set in a castle-top asylum for the criminally insane in 1930s Czechoslovakia.
Krystyna Green, publishing director at Constable, called the book a "Gothic masterpiece", having acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Andrew Gordon of David Higham Associates.
In Where the Devil Hides, an asylum holds only six patients - the "Devil's Six" - the most dangerous in Central Europe. The plot follows protagonist Viktor Kosarek, a young psychiatrist, who is keen to try out some newly acquired techniques on the most dangerous of these subjects - against a backdrop of fear and mistrust in the local villages, where a killer who is assumed to have some connection with the asylum wreaks murderous havoc.
"I remember when Craig first hit the crime writing scene with Blood Eagle (Arrow) and I was hooked from there," commented Green. "I am absolutely thrilled that, 13 years later, I am in a position to have acquired this outstanding Gothic masterpiece with its references to Jack the Ripper and Tales of Hoffman and its stories within stories, and I think it’s so fitting that Craig has come to us with a novel that is more than the natural successor to Constable’s most famous published title, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I am hugely excited to be publishing this next year."
The acquisition news comes ahead of this year’s Bloody Scotland festival where Russell has been shortlisted for the William McIlvanney Prize for the third time, having won the award in 2015 with The Ghosts of Altona (Quercus).
Russell added: "I am over the moon to be working with Krystyna on Where the Devil Hides. It’s an ambitious novel and her energy, enthusiasm and commitment for the book more than matches that ambition. As far as I’m concerned, Where the Devil Hides is in the best hands possible."
Constable will publish Where the Devil Hides in October 2018, with the paperback coming out in the following year.