In another major deal in the run-up to next month's Frankfurt Book Fair, an industry insider has sold his first novel for a rumored seven figures. The book, a thriller called The Woman in the Window, was acquired by Jennifer Brehl at William Morrow. Brehl won North American rights to the book after an eight-house auction.
Jennifer Joel at ICM Partners represented the author, who happens to be the v-p and executive editor of William Morrow, Dan Mallory. To distinguish between his role as publisher, and his role as author, Joel noted, Mallory will be releasing the novel under the pseudonym A.J. Finn.
The novel, which has been flagged as one of the early hot books of the fair, is a work of psychological suspense that Joel called a "taut and twisty Hitchcockian thriller." The book's set-up, certainly, recalls one of the director's classic films, Rear Window.
Woman in the Window's heroine, like the laid-up former detective Jimmy Stewart plays in Hitchcock's film, has become something of a voyeur. A divorcee who is cut off from her family, Anna Fox is now an agoraphobic shut-in camped out inside her New York City brownstone. She passes the time by watching old movies, drinking too much, and occasionally spying on her neighbors.
When a new family moves in next door, and Anna begins snooping on them, she starts yearning more intensely for the family she lost. Then, as Joel explains in her pitch letter, Anna witnesses "what seems to be a shocking act of violence" that rocks her "precariously constructed world." The crime, Joel continued, forces a number of questions. "What has she really seen? What has she imagined? And what will be the consequences of her accusation?"
The sale of Woman in the Window comes on the heels of a handful of other notable pre-Frankfurt deals which closed last week. The book, which is quickly gaining attention in the industry as a title that could emerge as one of the big books at Frankfurt, is something Joel confirmed has generated marked excitement. Woman in the Window, she said, has drawn a "level of enthusiasm" higher than any piece of fiction she has sent out in "a long time."
At press time, the book had also sold in the U.K. to HarperCollins.