HarperCollins in the UK and HarperCollins US imprint William Morrow have snapped up The Woman in the Window, a debut psychological thriller in the vein of “Rear Window", which has already had film rights sold to Fox 2000.
The manuscript was submitted under the pseudonym A J Finn, and it transpired only following an offer on the book that the author is by one of William Morrow's own staffers: vice president and executive editor Daniel Mallory.
Julia Wisdom, HarperCollins UK publisher for crime and thrillers, acquired UK rights from Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown.
A North American deal was negotiated for William Morrow by Jennifer Brehl, s.v.p., executive editor and director of editorial development and Jennifer Joel of ICM Partners after an eight-house auction. Foreign language rights have now also sold in 18 countries to date with another half dozen negotiations currently underway. Fox 2000 preempted the film rights and e.v.p Greg Mooradian will oversee for the studio.
The novel is about an agoraphobic woman separated from her husband and daughter who spends her days chatting online to strangers, watching old movies, drinking too much wine and keeping tabs on her neighbours. But when she observes a shocking act of violence through her window, her precariously constructed world begins to crumble. What did she really see? What has she imagined? And how can she escape danger when her own demons keep her trapped and vulnerable inside her house?
Mallory has been at William Morrow since 2012. Prior to joining Morrow, he was publisher of Sphere at Little, Brown UK.
Brehl said: "I love listening to a new voice telling a story, and A J Finn’s voice and story were like nothing I’d ever heard before – so creepy, sad, twisty-turny, and cunning. Imagine my surprise – and delight – when I learned that A J was none other than Dan, someone with whom I’ve discussed all sorts of books, especially crime, suspense, and thriller novels. He’s already known as an esteemed editor; I predict a long career as a brilliant novelist, too."
Wisdom said: "The Woman in the Window was a revelation. I started it one afternoon and couldn’t stop until I’d read the devastating final chapters in the small hours of the morning. It is a brilliant Hitchcockian psychological suspense novel - atmospheric, dark, frightening, twisty - narrated by a woman whose own tragic story provides a powerfully emotional counterpoint to the thriller plot. To discover that it had been written by a friend and long-standing colleague, Dan Mallory, was also extraordinary – he’s certainly been steeped in the crime and thriller genre for years, and this shows in the quality of his remarkable debut. Everyone at HarperFiction is very much looking forward to joining forces with Morrow in the US to make The Woman in the Window a massive hit, and I’m personally really looking forward to working with Dan on this and future novels."
Elizabeth Gabler, president for Fox 2000, added that it was "extremely rare and gratifying" to find a piece of literature that offers such "rich and complex characters and provides such an exceptional tapestry for adaptation to film".
Mallory said he was "immensely gratified" by the response to The Woman in the Window, and "couldn’t be happier" to be published by Morrow in the US and HarperFiction in the UK.
"HarperCollins is a terrific employer as well as a world-class publishing operation," he added.
- Gollancz acquires 'heart-punch' novella collection from Joe Hill
- Fourth Estate signs PRH editor's 'dazzling' debut for six figures
- Borough scoops editor's debut following five-way auction
- HQ snaps up Elle deputy editor's take on 'womanhood and blackness'
- HarperCollins buys three crime novels from McTiernan in seven-figure deal