Headline has acquired S R White's "extraordinary" crime debut Hermit in a pre-emptive deal.
Editorial director Toby Jones bought world rights to Hermit and a sequel in a pre-emptive deal struck with Hattie Grunewald at Blake Friedmann. It is set to be a major launch title for Headline in early 2021.
"Taking place over just 12 hours, Hermit sees detective Dana Russo unravel the murder of a local shopkeeper in rural Australia. Dana must interrogate the prime suspect, Nathan Whittler – an almost silent, desperately awkward man who appears to have been living off grid, with no human contact, for 15 years," said Headline. "Without conclusive forensics linking him to the killing, it’s a race against time to extract a confession. But over a series of seven intense interviews, Dana must herself open up – despite the past traumas it will force her to confront – to persuade Nathan to reveal himself."
Jones said: "Hermit is an astonishing, character-driven debut: compulsive, exquisitely layered, charged with an electric atmosphere. Like the best thrillers, the breathless suspense propels you from page to page while the dazzling, perceptive writing addresses profound questions. Within minutes of starting the novel, we all knew we were in the presence of a major new talent."
S R White, who worked in a UK police force for 12 years and now lives in Queensland, Australia, said: "I'm thrilled to be joining Toby and his team in the publication of Hermit. Bringing Dana Russo to life has been a labour of love, and I know it's in great hands with Headline. I look forward to sharing Dana with readers."
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