St. Martin's Keeps Finder

New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder has made a major seven-figure deal for his next four books with St. Martin's; Sally Richardsonbought North American rights from agent Molly Friedrich and Keith Kahla will edit. The new books, the first of which will tentatively pub in winter 2009, feature a new lead character who is the founder and principal of a high-powered corporate investigation firm. St. Martin's will publish Finder's Power Play, in which corporate executives are taken hostage at a retreat, this August.


Dutton's Stephen Morrow has preempted geographer and artist Trevor Paglen's Blank Spots on a Map: State Secrets, Hidden Landscapes, and the Pentagon's Black World from agent Ted Weinstein, who sold world rights. Paglen will investigate the obscure geographic world regulated by the U.S. military, intelligence agencies and private companies, tracing its growth from the Manhattan Project through the war on terror and interviewing people working inside these blank patches of the map, in places like Afghanistan, Thailand, Honduras and the American Southwest. Publication will be early 2009.

Michelle Howry at Touchstone has preempted an untitled book about a three-legged poodle by Jana Kohl via Mary Ann Naples at the Creative Culture, who sold world rights. Psychologist and philanthropist Kohl will tell the story of rescuing her three-legged poodle, Baby, from a puppy mill, and how she and Baby rallied celebrities, politicians and animal rights activists to change laws regulating these mills. The book will contain 100 color photos, some featuring celebrities who have lent their support to this cause, including Bill Maher, Jane Fonda and Barack Obama, as well as original essays from writers such as Alice Walker and Gloria Steinem. Baby attended a pitch meeting with Kohl at Touchstone and apparently made quite an impression; planned pub date is 2008.

Doubleday Double

Hampton Sides has made a deal for a new book, again with Bill Thomasat Doubleday, via Sloan Harris at ICM. The untitled work will be a narrative account of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the intense two-month manhunt, the largest in U.S. history, for his killer. The book will also portray King's struggles in the months before his death, track the life of his killer and present a kaleidoscopic picture of late '60s Memphis. Sides is the author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder; no pub date for the new book yet.

Trace Murphy at Doubleday Religion has acquired world rights to Will Bowen's A Complaint-Free World via Steve Hanselman at Level Five Media. Bowen, a minister in Kansas City, Mo., started a 21-day challenge in his community to eradicate complaining, and this local movement snowballed into a phenomenon featured on TheTodayShow, Oprah and in People magazine. The book will expand on Bowen's message and share stories of people who have been changed by this idea; pub date is this October.

New Fiction

Rene Alegria at William Morrow bought world English rights to EnriqueJoven's Castle of the Stars via agent ThomasColchie on behalf of AntoniaKerrigan in Barcelona. This suspense novel is narrated by a Spanish Jesuit physics teacher who attempts to unravel the mystery of the Voynich Manuscript, an artifact that first appeared in the court of Rudolph II (1583—1612) of Bohemia. Pub date not yet known.

Next from Batali

Dan Halpern and Emily Takoudesat Ecco have signed up superstar chef MarioBatali for a new grilling cookbook, tentatively titled ItalianGrill, via agent AnthonyGardner, who sold world English rights. Pub date is summer 2008.