Fisketjon Nabs 22-Year-Old’s Debut
Snatching up one of the books everyone is buzzing about pre-Frankfurt, Gary Fisketjon at Knopf acquired North American rights to Roger Hobbs’s debut novel The Ghostman. Nat Sobel of Sobel Weber brokered the deal, and Fisketjon made the call after reading just the first 50 pages of the book. Hobbs, who is now 22, wrote the novel when he was still a senior at Reed College; it’s about a mysterious and wildly skilled robber named Jack who, per the agency, “has the chance to make a huge killing in easily transmitted cash—or be killed in the process.” Einaudi, in Italy, pre-empted the book, on those same 50 pages, in a six-figure, two-book deal. Goldmann in Germany has closed a high six-figure, two-book pre-empt. A deal in the U.K. is also expected to close shortly. The agency will have a longer manuscript in Frankfurt—150 pages in total. Hobbs lives in Portland, Ore.

Mulholland Takes Beukes’s ‘Shining’
Another book gaining buzz before Frankfurt is Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls, which John Schoenfelder at Mulholland Books took North American rights to, in a two-book deal, for a sum rumored to be in the mid six-figure range. Beukes, who lives in Cape Town, South Africa, is the author of Zoo City, which was published by British indie Angry Robot in 2010 and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Oliver Munson at Blake Friedman Literary negotiated the sale with Schoenfelder, and the Hachette imprint is planning a spring 2013 publication. A rep for Mulholland said the novel is about a violent, time-traveling drifter who, beginning in the 1930s, goes on a 60-year murder spree.

Pegasus Brings van In to America
In a partnered deal between Pegasus Book and Open Road Integrated Media, Claiborne Hancock took world English (with Open Road taking digital) to the first two thrillers in the bestselling Inspector van In series by Belgian author, Pieter Aspe. The titles, The Square of Revenge and The Midas Murders, were sold by Peter Riva at International Transactions. There are 26 books in Aspe’s series, which has been published over the past 15 years, and, according to Pegasus, the titles have sold more than two million copies throughout Europe. Pegasus Crime will release Square in 2012.

Dutton Children’s Buys Two by Forman
In a two-book deal handled by Sarah Burnes at the Gernert Company, Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton Children’s Books took North American rights to two new novels by Gayle Forman, Just One Day and Just One Year. Forman, who wrote the bestselling YA titles If I Stay and Where She Went, also published by Dutton, asks two questions in these companion books: the first probes whether two people can fall in love in a single day, and the second asks whether someone can become a new person over the course of a single year. Just One Day is scheduled for spring 2013, and Just One Year for 2014.

S&S Takes Messenger’s Middle-Grade Debut
Keeping up with the high-priced deals, Liesa Abrams, executive editor at Simon & Schuster, took North American rights to three books, in a six-figure pre-empt, by newcomer Shannon Messenger. Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary brokered the deal for the middle-grade fantasy series, and the first book, Keeper of the Lost Cities, is scheduled for fall 2012. In Cities, a 12-year-old girl who can read minds, and is something of a social outcast, discovers the reason she has her abilities when she meets a mysterious boy. Rennert elaborated: “She’s never felt at home because she isn’t. There are secrets buried deep in her memory, secrets about her true identity and why she was hidden among humans, that others desperately want and would even kill for.” Messenger is in her 20s and is one of the founders of the free, online writer’s conference, WriteOnCon.

Arthur Levine Gets Mother-Daughter Ghost Story
In another six-figure, pre-Frankfurt buy, Cheryl Klein at Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books took North American rights in a three-book deal, to a trilogy by a mother-daughter trio Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed. Jennifer Weltz at Jean V. Naggar brokered the deal for the gothic YA series, in which a teen girl, her autistic brother, and their mother, wind up in an ancient home that Weltz described as “full of secrets.” Weltz added that the sister is forced to save her brother when the ghosts in the house endanger him, noting “she must race against time and the house itself to stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.” The first book is called Amber House.

Vicki Pettersson, Sign of the Zodiac series author and one-time showgirl, sold a new series to Diana Gill at Harper Voyager/Morrow. Miriam Kriss at Irene Goodman negotiated the three-book, world rights deal for the supernatural noir mysteries; the first book, The Taken, is scheduled as a paperback original for June 2012.