HarperCollins acquires Sharkey memoir about murderer brother

HarperCollins acquires Sharkey memoir about murderer brother

HarperCollins has acquired a book by journalist Alix Sharkey exploring his experience growing up with a brother now imprisoned for the murder of teenager Danielle Jones.

Mudlark editorial director Joel Simons acquired world English rights from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown for My Brother the Killer. The book will publish on 22nd July 2021, with executive editor Sara Nelson at Harper Books publishing alongside in the US.

On 18th June 2001, Danielle Jones was abducted, sparking the largest and most expensive investigation ever mounted by Essex Police. Her body was never found but the following year, her uncle by marriage, Stuart Campbell, was jailed for her abduction and murder and given a life term in prison, having concealed a decades-long history of sexual violence against teenage girls.

The synopsis explains: “Part true crime biography, part memoir, My Brother the Killer chronicles the events that shaped a bright little boy into a recidivist criminal, and ultimately into one of Britain’s most notorious killers. This harrowing first-person account by Campbell’s older sibling Alix Sharkey takes readers on an intimate journey through their violent childhood and troubled teens, explaining how their deep personal bond dissolved as they chose radically different paths. While Alix became a successful journalist, Stuart would achieve national infamy during one of the UK’s most notorious and unusual murder trials.

"Examining his younger brother’s secret life and the cultural attitudes that allowed his deviant behaviour to flourish unchecked, Sharkey also details the hideous crime that—having snuffed out one young life and shattered many others—brought the two brothers face-to-face again. Along the way he poses some terrifying questions: what happens when you discover a deadly sexual predator in your family? And can any man explain — or atone for — his brother’s heinous crimes?”

Sharkey began his writing career at i-D magazine, eventually becoming co-editor. Over more than three decades he has filed hundreds of features on crime, popular culture and fashion for the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph, as well as various UK and international magazines.

He said: “Over the last 20 years many people asked me to write this story. But as long as there was still hope that my brother might come clean, I had always resisted. That moment has now long passed, and it is time for a reckoning. This book is my attempt to get at the truth, and to offer Stuart one last chance at some measure of redemption, by finally ending the suffering of his victim’s family.”

Simons added: “This book completely shocked me when I first read it and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind ever since. There’s an enigmatic power at its heart that will stay with you long after you put it down – a narrative tension that touches on family, shared histories and how you can never really know anyone, whatever the relation. I look forward to working with Alix on publishing this insightful and important book.”