Pan Macmillan has acquired a debut psychological thriller The Girlfriend by BBC drama development executive Michelle Frances.
Editorial director Trisha Jackson has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the "domestic noir" novel from Gaia Banks at Sheil Land, with a second title also under contract. Rights have already been sold in Germany, Russia and Estonia.
The Girlfriend is pitched as a "relentlessly-paced" thriller, and a perfect book club read. It is about subtle sabotage, retaliation, jealousy and fear - examining the mother–son–daughter-in-law relationship in "a chilling new light".
The plot introduces Laura who has a successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband and a kind, handsome, talented 23-year-old son, Daniel. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young beautiful and smart, but hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. She comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms. . . . but Laura suspects she’s bad news.
Jackson commented: "This is a wonderfully chilling study of domestic noir based on the fall-out following an unforgiveable lie, which I devoured in one sitting. It looks at the potentially charged relationship between boyfriend, girlfriend and ‘his mother’ which most women can identify with, and locates it in an extreme but believable setting."
Gaia said: "I was so impressed with Trisha’s immediate enthusiasm and vision for Michelle’s novel. Pan Macmillan excel in the publishing of crime fiction and thrillers and they are the ideal home for The Girlfriend."
Pan Macmillan will publish The Girlfriend in Spring 2017.