Trapeze's commissioning editor Sam Eades has pre-empted a debut writer's killer crime series for a six-figure sum within 48 hours of receiving the manuscript.
Eades bought former paramedic Daniel Cole's novels as part of a three-book deal with Sue Armstrong at Conville & Walsh, for UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada. Just prior to this, TV rights were snapped after fierce competition by Sid Gentle whose new drama adaptation of The Durrells has just aired on ITV to critical acclaim.
The series will introduce readers to "controversial" detective Nathan Wolfe, reinstated to the Met Police after months of psychological assessment following accusations of a shocking assault. In the first in the series, Ragdoll, Wolfe is called to a crime scene by former partner, Detective Emily Baxter, who leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet – a corpse that will become known in the press as the ‘ragdoll’. With six victims to identify, the stakes are raised when Wolfe’s ex-wife, reporter Andrea Hall, is anonymously sent photographs from the crime scene along with a list of six names - and the dates on which the ‘Ragdoll Killer’ intends to murder them. The final name on the list is Wolfe’s.
Eades said: "In just 48 hours the prospect of publishing Daniel Cole and his Nathan Wolfe series has electrified everyone at Orion, from the assistants to the m.d, and from here in London to our colleagues on the other side of the world. We all have a favourite character, from series lead Wolfe to the flawed but brilliant Emily Baxter and new copper on the block detective Alex Edmunds. With a cracking hook and addictive storytelling that delivers the power and pace of the best thriller writing, there is no doubt that Ragdoll is going to be huge. We’ve got Ragdoll fever, and cannot wait to introduce readers to the next superstar of the crime fiction world in Daniel Cole."
Katie Espiner, m.d. added: "Believe the hype: this is an outstanding debut. Pulse-racing, read-through-your-fingers, can’t look away stuff. I haven’t felt the hairs stand up on the back of my neck like this on picking up a crime debut for years and years. I know we can launch him with a bang straight onto the bestseller lists."
Armstrong said that as an agent, "there’s nothing more exciting than finding an exceptional debut in the Talent Pool (aka ‘slush pile’)."
"So when Ragdoll arrived on my desk unsolicited, I knew instantly that I’d found something special and couldn’t believe what I was reading was a debut," she said. "For me, Daniel not only brings a breath of fresh air to crime fiction but also a very distinctive and energetic charm that gives Ragdoll its magnetic appeal. I can't imagine a better home for Daniel than with Sam Eades and her fabulous team at Orion's new imprint, Trapeze."
Ragdoll will be published by Trapeze in January 2017 in hardback, e-book and audio.