The newly launched Liverpool Literary Agency has signed its first deal, signing Jack Byrne with Northodox Press, a publisher "catering to readers of crime fiction with the authentic voice of northern England".
Byrne's Under the Bridge is the first in a four-part series, The Liverpool Mysteries, which follows reporter Anne and student Vinny, as they become involved in a story of unions, crime and police corruption after human remains are discovered at a construction site.
Northodox commissioning editor Ted O'Connor bought world English language rights for the thriller from Clare Coombes, co-founder of the Liverpool-based agency.
Coombes said: “I loved the contrasting characters of Anne, a young and ambitious reporter on her first assignment, and Vinny, a history graduate, plagued with the need to expose Liverpool’s historical truth to right wrongs committed in the past. Combining crime, race and class distinctions within the plot, and using historical and contemporary settings, this book is gripping and thought-provoking and will captivate readers from the first page.”
O'Connor added: "For Northodox Press' first novel publication we wanted something where the north of England wasn't just a location, but something integral to the plot. Under the Bridge almost portrays Liverpool as a character with vivid descriptions of murky docklands and the real locales that help drive the story. It also helps that this is a really absorbing page-turner of a mystery!"
The agency, which launched last month, pledges to link northern writers from under-represented backgrounds to independent publishers operating in the north of England and the "big five" publishing houses.
Under the Bridge will be published in spring 2021.