Atlantic imprint Corvus has signed a "completely compulsive" psychological thriller by Jennifer Hillier in a "hotly contested and fiercely fought auction".
Susannah Hamilton, editor at Corvus, acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights to Jar of Hearts, and a second untitled novel, by Hillier at auction from St Martin’s Press.
A "chillingly compelling" tale of murder, betrayal and the terrible secrets of the past that live on despite all attempts to silence them, Jar of Hearts focuses on the fall-out from a single night, 20 years before the story starts.
The blurb reads: "Geo’s world has come crashing down; Calvin, her ex-boyfriend, has been revealed as the deadly serial killer the Sweetbay Strangler. Geo is convicted, devastatingly, of helping him to cover up a long-unsolved murder – that of her best friend, Angela.
"Aged 35, Geo is released from prison to try and start over. But while Geo did her time, Calvin escaped from custody and went on the run. And now someone has started killing people, using the same markers as the old murders… As dark secrets are revealed, uncovering more buried deep within, is it too late for anyone, Geo included, to survive the truth?"
Hamilton described the title as "page-turning" and "completely compulsive", adding: "Jar of Hearts had me at page one and never let go. An utterly addictive, immersive read. I loved it!"
Hillier said: "I am delighted to be working with the wonderful team at Corvus to bring Jar of Hearts to the UK market. I’ve never been more excited to release a book, and I was absolutely thrilled when I got the news that Corvus would be publishing Jar of Hearts in the UK. Thank you for believing in this book."
Will Atkinson, managing director of Atlantic, added: "Jar of Hearts is such a gripping and exciting read! It deserves to be a bestseller in the UK and beyond – and we will fight tooth-and-nail to make that happen."
Corvus will publish Jar of Hearts in June 2018 in trade paperback and e-book, with a paperback to follow later that year.