Pan Mac imprint Mantle has scooped the “compulsive” debut novel from journalist Anna Wharton in a two-book deal.
Editor Josie Humber acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, and non-exclusive European rights to the novels from Sue Armstrong at C&W. First book, The Imposter, is set for publication in early 2021.
Its synopsis explains: “The Imposter is a propulsive thriller about choosing another life, even if it isn’t yours to take. Chloe Hudson, a local newspaper archivist, becomes obsessed with the cold-case of a girl who went missing 25 years ago. When the parents of the missing girl advertise for a lodger, Chloe sees it as the perfect opportunity to find new evidence and finally help solve the case. But as the lies mount up, it won’t be long until they are all in too deep.”
Humber said: “As soon as I started reading The Imposter, with its compulsive, sinister prose and a protagonist that you will willingly follow into the darkest of situations, I knew I had to bring Anna to Mantle. She masterfully ramps up the tension as we see Chloe, a lonely young woman, get deeper and deeper into a trap of her own making. The final pay-off blind-sided me – it’s the type of twist that pulls the rug from under you and makes you rethink everything you have just read. I’m so excited to see readers’ reactions as they reach that final page.”
Wharton has been a print and broadcast journalist for more than 20 years, writing for newspapers including the Times, Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine, Grazia and Red. She was formally an executive editor at the Daily Mail and has ghost-written four memoirs including Somebody I Used To Know by Wendy Mitchell (Bloomsbury) and Orwell Prize longlisted CUT: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today by Hibo Wardere (S&S).
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled that The Imposter has found a home with Mantle. Josie has shown such enthusiasm for the story right from the get-go, so I'm really excited to see what she and the team have planned for the book. Sue has been the most brilliant agent, always encouraging and extremely patient.’
Armstrong added: “I first saw Anna’s work at Faber Academy and was instantly swept up in the complicated and intriguing world of Chloe Hudson. In The Imposter, Anna has created a unique page-turner that is as compelling and darkly unsettling as it is smart and thought-provoking."