Bonnier Books UK has acquired an "intensely creepy" serial killer thriller debut, The Art of Death by David Fennell, to publish under the Zaffre imprint in February 2021.
UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, were acquired by Katherine Armstrong, editorial director at Zaffre, from David Headley at the DHH Literary Agency.
According to the publisher, the book will appeal to fans of Chris Carter, M W Craven and The Whisper Man, and is "incredibly timely" as the killer uses the internet to stalk and catfish his victims.
The book opens with a scenario in which an underground artist leaves three glass cabinets in Trafalgar Square that contain a gruesome installation: the corpses of three homeless men. The synopsis reads: "With the artist promising more to follow, newly promoted Detective Inspector Grace Archer and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, must race against time to follow what few clues have been left by a savvy killer."
Armstrong, editorial director at Zaffre, commented on the deal: "When I first read The Art of Death, I was really drawn to the character of DI Grace Archer. She is a woman who has survived a traumatic past, but who is determined not to let it define her. Grace is a believable and relatable character and her new partnership with DS Harry Quinn is brilliantly played out – Quinn is a caustic Belfast man with a dry, black humour that I am very familiar with! London, too, is almost another character and you can really visualise the city as Archer and Quinn – and the killer – wander through its chartered streets. With a serial killer every bit as devious and deranged as the one in Mark Billingham’s debut Sleepyhead, I can’t wait to introduce readers to this deliciously dark and twisted thriller. You’ll certainly be more wary of what you put online after you read this!"
Fennell, from Belfast, has been working in the software industry in cyber security for the past 14 years; this is his debut crime novel. He said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be joining Katherine Armstrong and the amazing team at Bonnier Books UK. Katherine has a brilliant reputation for publishing crime novels and I'm excited to be working with her."