Trapeze has signed a crime series set in the Channel Islands by debut author Lara Dearman.
Sam Eades, senior commissioning editor at Trapeze, struck a two-book deal at auction with Sophie Lambert at Conville & Walsh for UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada. German rights were pre-empted overnight by Goldmanns and there is currently a three-way auction in France. The first book in the series The Devil's Claw will be published in November 2017.
The Devil's Claw follows journalist Jennifer Dorey and DCI Michael Gilbert, who pair up after the discovery of a drowned girl on a local beach and Dorey uncovers a pattern of similar deaths over the last 50 years. Together, their investigation will lead them to expose the island’s historical scars, and to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier, whose carefully constructed world is now crumbling because of Dorey.
Eades said: "Crime fiction fans love to be transported to different locations, from the wilds of Shetland to the brooding Scandinavian landscape. I cannot wait for readers to explore the island world Lara Dearman has created in her atmospheric debut The Devil's Claw. The Guernsey setting is both beautiful and deadly, and on this stunning backdrop unfolds an ambitious murder mystery interwoven with local tradition and folklore. Lara is a voracious reader of crime fiction and plays with the conventions of the genre, masterfully weaving together crimes from that past and the present told from three characters."
Lambert said: "The Devil's Claw offers up a rich depiction of Guernsey and the claustrophobic and dark nature of an island community. It also marks the start of a brilliant writing career and what I know will be a successful partnership with the inimitable Sam Eades. I’m thrilled that Trapeze has such a creative and fresh vision for Lara and am certain that she will be a stand out new crime writer."
Dearman, a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at St Mary’s University, grew up on Guernsey before moving to the UK to study. Since graduating with a distinction in 2016, she now lives in New York with her husband and three children and is intending to write full-time.
She said: "I was born and raised on Guernsey and have always felt a deep-rooted connection, a longing even, for the familiarity of my island home. It was this feeling together with a desire to explore the darker side of the island’s history -Nazi occupation and folk tales of witchcraft and Devil worship - which led to the idea for The Devil's Claw. I wondered, what it would be like to return to this small, close-knit community after years away. What would happen if, having returned, those feelings of comfort and familiarity so many of us associate with home were shattered – if the island’s dark past caught up with its present and a body washed up on the beach with the driftwood? Sam’s enthusiasm for The Devil's Claw has been overwhelming and I am so excited to be starting my writing career as part of the Orion/Trapeze family."
The Devil's Claw will be published by Trapeze in November 2017 in paperback, e-book and audio with the second book following in Spring 2018.