Sphere has acquired three new novels from Mark Billingham for Little, Brown, the first of which will be a new Tom Thorne novel and the crime writer's 20th novel to date publishing in 2020.
Sphere Fiction editorial director Ed Wood did the deal for world rights excluding US and Germany with Sarah Lutyens at Lutyens & Rubinstein.
Billingham said he was "thrilled" by the three-book deal; Little, Brown was the publisher that signed his first Tom Thorne novel and it has been his publisher home ever since. According to Little, Brown, Billingham has now sold more than 650,000 copies of his debut Sleepyhead alone, which first introduced readers to hero Tom Thorne, while this year the author passed a major five million copy milestone in sales for Little, Brown UK overall.
"Mark is the original maverick crime writer and one of Little, Brown’s most important authors in any genre," praised Wood. "He’s also an author writing at the absolute top of his game. In 2019, Their Little Secret is going to terrify and enthral readers, and we have some huge surprises lined up for his twentieth year – a landmark new book, big audio plans, rights sales – the lot."
Charlie King, Little, Brown m.d., said: "Everyone at Little, Brown is incredibly proud to have published Mark Billingham since the start of his career. He is one of the very finest in the business, and his novels just get better and better. Hitting five million copies sold and publishing his twentieth novel are two special very special moments, and two major milestones for the trade. Here’s to the future."
Billingham’s next paperback, The Killing Habit, publishes in March, and a new novel Their Little Secret in May.