Dicker's thriller gets TV adaptation starring Patrick Dempsey

Dicker's thriller gets TV adaptation starring Patrick Dempsey

Joël Dicker’s literary thriller The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is being turned into a 10-part TV series with filming underway in Canada and "Grey’s Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey in the title role.

The Swiss author’s murder mystery was one of the biggest books at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012 and became a global sensation following its publication by MacLehose Press two years later. The book has sold 98,134 copies in paperback since May 2015 through Nielsen BookScan.

Now American studio, MGM Television, Italian entertainment firm Eagle Pictures and production company Barbary Films are adapting the 600-plus title into a “suspenseful dramatic” series. Jean- Jacques Annaud ("Seven Years in Tibet", "Black Gold"), will make his television directorial debut, directing every episode of the series for the American premium cable channel Epix.

Dempsey will star as the literary icon who finds himself indicted for murder after the body of a young girl is discovered buried on his property in coastal Maine.

Marcus Goldman, a young writer who has been mentored by Quebert, will be played by Ben Schnetzer ("Snowden", "Pride").

Annaud said: “'The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair' was the ideal project for my first American television venture. It is a rich and nuanced novel set in a small New-England town and has all the elements for a classic mystery.”

Mark Greenberg, president and c.e.o of Epix, said: “With its provocative subject matter, inspired casting and source material from master storyteller Joël Dicker, “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” is the perfect addition to our offerings at Epix."

Fabio Conversi, owner of Barbary Films, described the project as a “long awaited adaptation in a highly competitive environment”.

Filming is underway in Montreal, Canada, and the series is slated to debut next year.

Dicker told The Bookseller in 2014 how he left his uncle’s law firm and took a part-time job as an attaché at Geneva’s parliament (“getting coffee”) in order to concentrate on writing his debut. The result, described as “The Great American Novel written by a European” invited comparisons to authors such as Jonathan Franzen, Philip Roth and Vladimir Nabokov.

His follow-up, The Baltimore Boys, will centre around traumatic events that blight the lives of one of Marcus Goldman's family, and is billed as "both a sequel and a prequel" to The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. The Baltimore Boys​ was published by MacLehose Press in May in a translation by Alison Anderson.

“The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” will be the first project since MGM completed the transaction to acquire Epix in May. The channel will also premiere MGM Television’s “Get Shorty”, based in part on the 1990 best-selling novel of the same name by Elmore Leonard, on 13th August.