Trapeze has acquired a high-concept thriller, The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham, who won a pitching event at the Bloody Scotland festival.
The novel, set in a Brighton underworld, is about a serial killer who targets victims to “collect” their tattoos.
Belsham said she came up with the idea during a trip to Berlin to get a tattoo. She said: "A tattoo is something you have forever. No one can take it away from you. But what if someone did? That night, as I lay on the crisp white hotel sheets leaving the outline of my new tattoo in indelible black ink, my story came to me."
Editorial director Sam Eades, who acquired world rights (all languages) from Jenny Brown at Jenny Brown Associates, praised the book's “clear commercial hook”, saying its lead character "gives Lisbeth Salander a run for her money”.
The first in a planned series, The Tattoo Thief introduces readers to tattoo artist Marni Mullins, and newly-promoted Detective Inspector Francis Sullivan, who together form an uneasy partnership to track down a killer targeting victims who have body art from world-renowned tattooists.
Belsham caught her agent's attention after outlining the book during a Pitch Perfect event at Bloody Scotland.
Brown said: "From the moment Alison pitched her idea for The Tattoo Thief at Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect event, I knew, along with everyone else in the room, that it was a winner, a future bestseller. It’s been thrilling working with Alison and seeing that one page pitch grow into the most exciting crime debut for years. And in Sam Eades, who championed The Tattoo Thief from the very start, we have the ideal publisher to launch Alison’s writing career and take her incredible book to the widest possible audience."
Trapeze will publish in March 2018 in export trade paperback, e-book and audio with the mass market paperback in Summer 2018.