Gollancz has acquired a Hitchcock-inspired novel from Adam Roberts called The Real-Town Murders, plus another untitled sequel.
Commissioning editor Marcus Gipps bought the world rights directly from Roberts to publish 24th August in trade paperback and e-book.
The first book, a near-future conspiracy thriller, was inspired by a scene Alfred Hitchcock wanted to film for "North by Northwest".
The plot centres on Alma, a private detective, who must dig into a conspiracy to work out how a dead body appears in the boot of a freshly-made car in a fully-automated factory.
It is set in a near-future England, a country that is desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. The blurb reads: "Most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, but the country is decaying. Alma is one of the few not to access the Shine. Her partner is ill and has to be treated without fail every four hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the five-minute window her lover will die."
Roberts said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be publishing again with Gollancz: not only the best SF list in Britain, the best in the world. In this novel I've tried to play fair with an impossible murder and a couple of near-future science fiction technologies, but I wrote the whole book under the tutelary spirit of Alfred Hitchcock, and what I came to realise, as I was going along, is that he's a much trickier customer than many people realise. I hope the SF puzzle and its working-out plays fair, for all that. I think it's my most ingenious so far."
Gipps said: "A new Adam Roberts project is always a delight, and this is a wonderful introduction to his work. We can’t wait for people to read this blend of Hitchcock and SF."