Sceptre editor Francine Toon has written an “outstanding gothic thriller” debut, Pine, to be published by Doubleday.
Doubleday Ireland editorial director Fiona Murphy acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada from Emma Paterson at Aitken Alexander for publication in Doubleday hardback in January 2020.
Set in the Scottish Highlands, Pine tells of Lauren and her father Niall live alone in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out and onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she has gone. “In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary,” the publisher said.
Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.
“Francine Toon creates an unshakeable atmosphere of desolation and dread. In a place that feels like the end of the world, she unites the gloom of the modern gothic with the pulse of a thriller,” Sceptre said.
Toon has been with Hodder & Stoughton since joining as an intern in 2008, and was promoted to editor at its literary imprint, Sceptre, three years ago. Her poetry has also been featured in publications such as 3AM Magazine and the Sunday Times.
She said: “I am thrilled to have my novel published by Doubleday, a talented team who have shown so much enthusiasm and care in their plans for Pine. I am greatly looking forward to working with Fiona Murphy and the experience and insight she will bring to the publication - it's very exciting.”
Murphy said: “Already an established poet and editor, Francine Toon proves that she’s an equally talented novelist with this exquisitely haunting debut novel. Set in an isolated village in the Scottish Highlands with a glorious cast of dysfunctional characters, and tantalising hints of Scottish myth; Pine has all the ingredients of a modern gothic. We are thrilled to be launching it on the Doubleday list.”