Orion Fiction has acquired two novels by debut crime author Clare Empson, the first of which is an "intensely dark" thriller called Him.
Francesca Pathak, senior commissioning editor at Orion Fiction, bought world English rights from Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown. Italian rights were snapped up in a pre-empt by Mondadori and German rights sold in a "significant" two-book six-figure deal to Blanvalet following a "hotly contested" auction.
Him, Empson's first book and first book in the deal, is pitched as "Big Little Lies meets 13 Reasons Why". It opens with Catherine, a woman in hospital who has experienced something so traumatic, she has become mute. The novel then flashes back to Catherine at university and the first time she met "Him" - Lucian, and the moment her life started to unravel.
Pathak welcomed Empson to the list, adding that her protagonist's "checkered past" with Lucien was "compelling, absorbing and intensely dark".
Empson is a journalist with a background in national newspapers, including at the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Express, and freelance for The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and Tatler. She currently works as editor/founder of "experiential" lifestyle website, called Country Calling. She said: "I'm so thrilled that Him will be published by Orion next summer. Francesca really connected with the story and the characters and I’m so looking forward to working with her."
Orion Fiction will publish as a hardback in Summer 2018.