Wildfire has pre-empted a debut thriller, Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce, exploring the power of desire, jealousy and betrayal.
World rights to the book, plus one further novel, were pre-empted by senior commissioning editor Kate Stephenson from Veronique Baxter at David Higham.
Blood Orange, publishing in January 2019, is set to be "a major debut launch" as "a stunning piece of psychological suspense", according to Wildfire, which said it has a "spectacularly dark and satisfying" ending. Its protagonist Alison Wood is a criminal barrister in London whose personal life is imploding while her career flourishes. As she takes the lead in her first murder case, her passionate affair with another man spirals out of control, into an obsession that will put everything she values at risk.
Stephenson said: "Blood Orange is a stunning piece of psychological suspense that demonstrates Harriet’s deep understanding of and passion for the genre. Her twists are perfectly engineered to take the reader completely by surprise. This book is utterly addictive, with a spectacularly dark and satisfying ending. Our colleagues in the US were equally quick to fall under Harriet’s spell, and thrilled at the prospect of sharing this exciting debut launch with us."
Ben Sevier and Lindsey Rose at Grand Central will publish Blood Orange simultaneously in North America. Meanwhile rights have been sold in 10 territories and counting. German rights sold to Random House at auction, Italian to Mondadori, Spanish to Penguin Random House, French to Editions Robert Laffont, Norwegian and Danish to Gyldendal, Polish to Swiat Ksiaszki, Hungarian to Publish and More, and Slovakian to Ikar.
Its author practiced as a criminal barrister in London for 10 years, before embarking on her writing career. She was in the first intake of the MA Creative Writing Crime Fiction course at the University of East Anglia, which includes a masterclass from leading crime writers such as Ian Rankin and Lee Child.
Tyce said: "I'm delighted by the reception that has been given to Blood Orange by the Wildfire team, Ben and Lindsey at Grand Central and beyond. It's been extraordinary to see their huge enthusiasm and understanding of what I wanted to achieve with the book and I'm extremely excited and honoured to be working with them. Blood Orange could not have found a better home."
Wildfire will publish Blood Orange as a "lead" hardback, e-book, and export trade paperback in January 2019.