Hodder & Stoughton has acquired Stay Home, a "twisty, timely" commercial thriller from Point Blank publishing director Jenny Parrott (pictured), who will be writing under the name Ava Pierce.
Senior commissioning editor Eve Hall struck the deal for world rights with Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown, to publish the book in September 2020.
Stay Home tells the story of two women whose dark secrets are brought to the surface in the locked-down London of 2020.
"As well as the overrun NHS, the closed-up shops and the parents juggling home working and homework, the more personal, secretive parts of some people’s lives have been thrown into disarray by this Covid world," reads the synopsis. "Secrets that are kept even from those closest—affairs, addictions, habits and horrors." Told in two women's voices, it is pitched as, "a commercial thriller that explores those dark parts of people’s lives, while at the same time leading us on a twisty race to find a killer".
Hall said: "I’m so excited to be working with Jenny on this exciting thriller about secrecy, betrayal and murder set in this entirely new world we’ve found ourselves living in. Jenny is a marvellous writer and I know readers are going to actually enjoy being able to stay home and read this cracking novel."
Parrott works on Oneworld's literary crime imprint, Point Blank, and has also written Second World War sagas under the pseudonym Kitty Danton. She said: "This is my first foray into writing in the area I publish in, as normally I write WW2 sagas under pen-names for Orion and HQ, and I am thrilled to be doing this with Eve. The chaos of the last few months has very much got me thinking about just what might happen if a woman already clutching a secret that could shatter her world should then stumble upon a second, deadly secret—would she decide to act, or to protect herself in the strange world of lockdown? And if there were another, unknown woman with her own sinister agenda added to the mix, then where would the reader place their bets?"