Harvill Secker buys 'stunning' literary thriller debut

Harvill Secker buys 'stunning' literary thriller debut

Harvill Secker's editorial director for crime and thrillers Jade Chandler has bought UK and Commonwealth rights to a "stunning" literary thriller from debut US author Tanen Jones.

The Stand-In was acquired from Lorella Belli at the Lorella Belli Literary Agency Ltd on behalf of Erin Harris and Melissa Sarver White at Folio Literary Management, and will be published in February 2020.

The novel follows the story of estranged sisters Leslie and Robin Voigt who must reunite in order to claim a substantial inheritance from their recently deceased father. However, there’s a problem: Leslie tracks down her sister, only to find her dead. A chance encounter brings Leslie together with aspiring actress Mary, and they strike a risky bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week, and in exchange, Mary will receive Robin’s half of the cash. But once Mary steps into the life of a dead woman, she quickly discovers Leslie is not the person she claims to be.
"A tangled web of deception and betrayal, The Stand-In’s dramatic twists and shocking conclusion leave the reader chilled to the bone," promises Harvill Secker.

US rights have been sold to PRH imprint Ballantine, with auctions for other territories ongoing.

Chandler said: "I was completely hooked from the opening line of Tanen’s outstanding debut novel. The story she weaves is clever, complex and utterly chilling, with huge twists that I didn’t see coming. If you loved The Girls by Emma Cline, or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, then this is for you. I’m delighted to be publishing Tanen Jones from the start of what promises to be long and lustrous writing career."