Pan Macmillan has won a six-figure auction for Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, an author previously published by Amazon Publishing.
Editorial director Julie Crisp acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the book from Alexis Hurley at Inkwell Managements, after seeing a 140-page partial.
The book was pre-empted in the US by Molly Stern at Crown for a seven-figure deal, and film rights have been optioned by Sony Pictures for $1.25m, after they beat five other film studios.
Crouch has previously written a number of books, some self-published, and wrote the Wayward Pines series, published by Amazon Publishing imprint Thomas & Mercer, which is being made into a television programme for Fox in America.
Dark Matter follows Jason Dessen, a 40-year-old physics professor living with his wife and son in Chicago. One night, after an evening out, he is kidnapped at gunpoint by a masked man, driven to an abandoned industrial site and injected with a powerful drug.
When he wakes and returns home, it is to an empty house. He begins the search for his family, but once he finds his wife, she may not know who he is.
Pan Macmillan has described Dark Matter as “The Time Traveler’s Wife written by Stephen King”, and as “part lightning fast thriller, part enduring love story” which explores “the mysteries of existence and what makes us human”.
Crisp said: “Sometimes you get a script in that you know has that sought-after ‘it’ factor. People just can’t stop talking about it. Dark Matter has everything to appeal, fast-paced action scenes, a fabulous mystery, and a love story which keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens.”
Dark Matter will be published in summer 2016.