Silvertail has signed Ravenhill, a "stunning" debut novel from a "brilliant new voice in crime fiction", John Steele.
Described as an "explosive thriller", the title is set in the "violent Belfast underworld" and follows Jackie Shaw, a young tearaway running with paramilitaries in 1993. It then revists his story 20 years later.
The blurb reads: "He treads a fine line keeping psychotic hard-man Rab Simpson in check while sleeping with gang leader Billy Tyrie’s beautiful wife on the side. When a bomb claims nine lives, he is given the role of getaway driver in a planned reprisal killing, a key role in a major operation. But Jackie may not be who he seems... 20 years later, Jackie returns to the city for his father’s funeral after disappearing in mysterious circumstances. He wants to mourn then leave, but when figures from his past emerge, he is left with no choice but to revisit his violent former life."
Humfrey Hunter, publisher at Silvertail, said: “I remember reading Stuart Neville’s debut, The Twelve (Vintage), in a kind of blissed-out wonder because it was so good, and I felt the same when I went through Ravenhill for the first time. The praise John Steele and Ravenhill have already received from the likes of Tony Parsons, Colin Bateman and Ruth Dudley Edwards are well deserved.
"He is a brilliant storyteller and an authentic voice, as well as a grafter who has already finished the first draft of the third book in this series, before the first has even been published. I couldn’t be more excited about Ravenhill and John; it is an incredibly accomplished first novel from a writer of rare talent with a great future ahead of him.”
Steele was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1995, at the age of 22 he travelled to the United States and has since lived and worked on three continents, including a 13-year spell in Japan. Among past jobs he has been a drummer in a rock band, an illustrator, a truck driver and a teacher of English. He now lives in England with his wife and daughter.
Ravenhill is his first novel and a second Jackie Shaw book, Seven Skins, has already been signed by Silvertail Books for publication. He is currently writing a third, set in northern Japan.
Silvertail holds world rights to the title which wil publish on 31st August 2017.