Waterstones crime buyer Joseph Knobbs is publishing a debut series of crime novels with Transworld Publishers, under the pseudonym Joseph Knox.
Transworld won rights to the series following a “highly competitive” 10-way auction.
The series, set in a "sprawling, twilight northern city”, will introduce readers to Aidan Waits, a disgraced young detective, who is caught stealing drugs from evidence and subsequently blackmailed into going undercover. When an MP’s daughter runs away from home, Waits is sent to track her down and finds himself "at the centre of a storm". Uncovering the motives of those involved, he’s thrown forwards - through politicians, police and drug lords - towards "a truth he doesn’t want to know".
Publisher Bill Scott-Kerr acquired volume rights in three books from Antony Topping at Greene Heaton. The first title, Sirens, will be released in Spring 2017.
Scott-Kerr said: "Every editor dreams of discovering a great new voice, and Joseph Knox’s is emphatically that. It is so rare to be presented with such fully formed and assured a vision for a book and an ongoing series. So when Sirens came in on submission, it was no surprise that everyone here fell in love with it immediately. I am so excited about launching Joseph’s career – he has talent in abundance and it is a real privilege to be starting his journey as a writer with him."
Knox, a crime and thriller buyer at Waterstones, said: "Sirens is a secret I've been keeping for years, writing around bar jobs and book selling, and it’s a relief now that the word’s out. The novel grew out of night-walking around Manchester and seeing a whole other side to the city. My endless thanks to Antony Topping, Bill Scott-Kerr and Transworld for believing in it."
Topping added: "Sirens is a fantastically assured debut crime thriller by a significant new writing talent. And the best of it is that this is the first of a series and we can look forward to meeting protagonist Aidan Waits time and time again. I have every confidence that Aidan Waits and his creator, Joseph Knox, will become two of the best known names in contemporary crime fiction. I can’t wait for Transworld to get publishing.”
Sirens will be published as a Doubleday hardcover in Spring 2017.