Sphere bags LaManna's 'addictive' thriller in four-way auction

Sphere bags LaManna's 'addictive' thriller in four-way auction

Sphere has acquired a "sharp, twisty and addictive" thriller from US writer Gina LaManna in a four-way auction to publish in early 2020 as a superlead title.

Lucy Dauman, commissioning editor at Sphere, bought UK and Commonwealth rights for Pretty Guilty Women, plus a second book, from Sarah Manning at the Bent Agency. US rights were sold at auction in a six-figure deal to Shana Drehs at Sourcebooks from Jenny Bent on behalf of Sarah Manning, and German, Hungarian and Serbian rights have also been snapped up. There are currently auctions in Italy, France, Poland and the US for audio rights, with more deals expected in the lead up to Frankfurt Book Fair.

The book features four very different women, brought together to celebrate "the wedding of the year" at the luxurious Serenity Spa & Resort on the Californian coast. 24 hours later, each end up confessing to the same murder.

The blurb describes: "Among them, Ginger Adler is an overworked mother of three who’s barely holding the family together. Lulu Franc is a wealthy retiree with four ex-husbands and a fifth on the way. Betsy Brown harbours a dark secret, which she’s become expert at forgetting with the help of a bottle of wine, and Kate Adler is a powerhouse lawyer with her life in order – except for one little problem that won’t go away. Twenty-four hours later, these four women confess to a murder, each insisting they acted alone. Why would they confess to the same crime? Only they know the answer – and they’re not telling."

Dauman said the book was "everything" she had been looking for, remarking on its "killer hook, satisfying twists and a brilliantly realised cast of characters who I have just fallen in love with". "I’m delighted to be publishing Gina LaManna and I can’t wait to introduce Ginger, Betsy, Lulu and Kate to readers everywhere," she added.

La Manna said: "It is an absolute dream come true to be signing with Sourcebooks and Sphere, and to be partnering with Shana and Lucy to bring Pretty Guilty Women to publication. This novel explores the depths of female friendships, the truths we love to ignore, and the cost of the little lies we tell ourselves. I'm beyond thrilled this story has found its perfect home."