HarperFiction has snapped up Dog Rose Dirt, the first thriller from award-winning fantasy novelist Jen Williams.
Publishing director Natasha Bardon acquired UK & Commonwealth rights in a two-book deal from Juliet Mushens. German rights went to Fischer in a four-way auction, US rights to Crooked Lane Books, and there is currently an offer in Spain.
Dog Rose Dirt is a standalone thriller about a woman who discovers her late mother had been secretly corresponding with a serial killer for decades. It will be published in the UK in Spring 2021. The deal sees Williams leave long-time publisher Headline after six SFF novels.
"When prodigal daughter Heather Evans returns to her family home, it’s for an unhappy reason: her mother Colleen has killed herself, and Heather must pick up the pieces. Sorting through her mother’s belongings Heather makes an alarming discovery – carefully preserved letters from the notorious serial killer Michael Reave," reads the synopsis. "The Red Wolf, as the press dubbed him, has been in prison for over twenty years, serving a life sentence for the gruesome and ritualistic murders of several women across the country, although he has always protested his innocence. The police have had no reason to listen, yet Heather isn’t the only one to suddenly have cause to re-examine the Red Wolf murders – the body of a young woman has been found, dismembered and placed inside a tree, the corpse planted with flowers. Just as the Red Wolf once did."
Bardon said: "I’ve loved Jen’s work for some time. Her fantasy lends itself to a wider commercial audience and I couldn’t wait to see what she’d do in the crime thriller space. I wasn’t disappointed. The story Jen spins is packed full of twists and suspense. I can’t wait to share it with her existing fans and soon-to-be-huge-fans alike."
Williams, the author of the Copper Cat trilogy and the award-winning Winnowing Flame series, added: "I’m a huge fan of the thriller genre, and it’s always been a secret dream of mine to write a book that walks some of these darker paths. I’m over the moon that Dog Rose Dirt has found such a perfect home with the brilliant Natasha Bardon at HarperFiction, and I’m very much looking forward to all the work to come."