Severn House has bought its first title since being acquired by Canongate in September, a "compelling" novel of domestic suspense.
Kate Lyall Grant, publisher at Severn House, acquired world rights in The Last Night Out by Catherine O’Connell from Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary Agency.
The plot follows Maggie Trueheart, who wakes up after drinking too much at her bachelorette party to find a stranger in her bed. To make matters worse, a phone call brings the devastating news that her dear friend, Angie Lupino, was murdered some time after they parted ways the night before.
Lyall Grant said: "Fast-paced and suspenseful, involving a cast of intriguing and convincing characters, all of them with fascinating back stories, The Last Night Out, with its many unexpected twists and turns, kept me racing through the pages, desperate to uncover the various secrets that Maggie, Kelly, Suzanne, Carol Anne and Natasha are concealing. This gripping page-turner combines the suspense of Ruth Ware’s In A Dark Dark Wood (Harvill Secker) with the appealing, complicated characters of Marian Keyes, but with a unique perspective that is Catherine O’Connell’s own. I loved it!"
O’Connell said: "As a writer, I frequently have people approach me saying they have a great story idea for me. I respond by telling them I'll run out of life before I run out of stories. The Last Night Out and Maggie, the fallen bride to be, was inspired by a nightclub tour business my husband and I ran in Chicago in the late 80s called the Party Bus. The vast majority of our clientele was women attending hen parties, or bachelorette parties as we call them in the states, and I never failed to be amazed at the shenanigans that took place on that bus and in the clubs. So putting aside the murder that takes place in the book, The Last Night Out is truly art imitating life or truth being stranger than fiction.
"I am exceptionally proud that Severn House will be bringing The Last Night Out to the marketplace. With their international reach, hands-on enthusiasm and commitment to great writing, I couldn't have hoped for a better match."
The Last Night Out will be published by Severn House hardback in May 2018, with the paperback forming part of a new list in Spring 2019. German rights have already been pre-empted by Doris Janhsen and Steffen Haselbach at Droemer Knaur.