MacLehose Press has snapped up an Italian debut thriller that has sparked deals in 30 countries.
English language rights to La Sostanza del Male (The Substance fo Evil) by Luca D’Andrea sold to Christopher MacLehose at MacLehose Press in the UK in a pre-empt deal and to Jonathan Burnham at HarperCollins in the US at auction.
D’Andrea’s thriller, pitched as "Joël Dicker-meets-Stephen King", has been described "one of the fastest-selling properties at the London Book Fair" by Piergiorgio Nicolazzini at Piergiorgio Nicolazzini Literary Agency (PNLA). He has handled all negotiations selling to 30 countries within a month.
The book is set in the Dolomites Mountains where a triple, heinous murder remained unsolved, and a trail of violence and misfortune is haunting an isolated community in the mountains of South Tyrol.
MacLehose, said: “With the force of an avalanche in his own mountains of the South Tyrol, a young Italian writer’s debut thriller has taken the whole world of publishing by storm. Editors spend their lives hunting for storytellers. The emergence of a real writer with a genius for narrative is a cause for celebration: his story is as magnificent as his mountains.”
Burnham at HarperCollins, US, added: “La Sostanza del Male is a completely original experience: the reader is immediately immersed in a very particular place, with its own unique atmosphere and its currents of danger, both physical and psychological. This is a novel which grips relentlessly, surprises the reader, and delivers the intense pleasure that comes from a reading a book by a writer who knows how to cast a very powerful narrative spell. I cannot wait to publish this in the US.”
International rights were sold with early submission of the original manuscript in Italian and an outline in English, well before first release of the book in Italy, scheduled for June 2016 from Einaudi/Stile Libero with a "major" promotional launch.
Negotiations are also underway for film and TV rights, according to PNLA.