Bloomsbury imprint Raven Books has fought off competition in a five-publisher auction to buy a thriller by Alice Clark-Platts, as part of a six-figure two-book deal.
Alison Hennessey, editorial director of Raven Books, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to The Flower Girls from Ariella Feiner at United Agents.
The plot begins 19 years ago, when sisters Laurel and Primrose – dubbed The Flower Girls by an appalled media – abducted and murdered a toddler in a case that horrified the nation. Ten-year old Laurel was sentenced to life imprisonment while six-year old Primrose began a new life with a new identity. Neither girl has seen each other since the trial. But then Primrose’s original identity is exposed to the public just as Laurel comes up for parole.
Hennessey described The Flower Girls as "one of the most tense, edge of my seat thrillers I’ve read". She said. "Alice’s book is smart, suspenseful and shocking; I tore through it, reading through my fingers, completely enraptured and horrified in equal measure. The Flower Girls spread through Bloomsbury like wildfire, with everyone here desperate to read and talk about it".
Clark-Platts said: "I am thrilled to be joining Alison and the team at Raven Books at Bloomsbury. Their passion for publishing beautiful, eery and thought-provoking books is hugely exciting. I can’t think of a better home for The Flower Girls."
Alice Clark-Platts is a former human rights lawyer who worked at the UN International Criminal Tribunal in connection with the Rwandan genocide. Previously published by Penguin, she is the author of the police procedurals Bitter Fruits and The Taken, the latter of which was shortlisted for the Best Police Procedural in the Dead Good Reader Awards 2017.
Audio, Greek and Norwegian rights have been sold and United Agents has received multiple offers from other foreign territories.
Raven Books will publish The Flower Girls as a lead title in spring 2019, supporting publication with a "standout" marketing and publicity campaign. Clark-Platts’ next book will follow a year later.