Downing Closes Double at Berkley
In a six-figure preempt, Berkley’s Jen Monroe bought two thrillers by newcomer Samantha Downing. Included in the deal is Downing’s debut novel, My Lovely Wife, which is slated for 2019. Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Literary represented the author. Berkley said My Lovely Wife, which features an unnamed narrator, is “Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Monroe, an assistant editor who has made her first major acquisition with the book, said it follows “a couple whose marriage is thrown into chaos when a serial killer strikes their Florida town.”

Delacorte Nabs YA Debut
M.A. Bennett has inked a six-figure deal with Delacorte Press for her debut YA novel, S.T.A.G.S. Beverly Horowitz took U.S., Canadian, and open market rights to the thriller, slated for a February 2018 release, from the U.K.-based publisher Hot Key Books. Delacorte said the novel (which has also been optioned by Fox 2000) is the “twisting, turning” tale of what happens when boarding school student Greer MacDonald receives a mysterious invitation—it says only “huntin,’ shootin’ and fishin’ ”—to spend a weekend at the country retreat of one of her classmates. As the publisher explained, Greer soon realizes that “those being hunted are not wild game,” but “the very misfits their host has brought with him from school.” Bennett lives in London and graduated from Oxford University.

Bloomsbury Staffer Sells Debut
Lizzy Mason, head of the publicity department for Bloomsbury Kids, sold her first novel to Soho Teen. Daniel Ehrenhaft took world English rights to The Art of Losing from Stephen Barbara at Inkwell Management. The novel, which is set for spring 2019, follows 17-year-old Harley, who learns her boyfriend has been unfaithful with her sister, Audrey. After a drunk driving accident leaves Audrey with amnesia, Harley relies on an old friend for help to, as the publisher put it, “let go of the past so that she can rewrite her future.“

Pelecanos Re-ups with Reagan Arthur
For Little, Brown’s Mulholland imprint, Reagan Arthur bought world rights to the latest from George Pelecanos, The Man Who Came Uptown. The book, the publisher said, follows three people in Washington, D.C.—a librarian, a parolee, and a detective—whose lives become intertwined. Arthur struck the deal with Emad Akhtar at Orion U.K.

Journey-man Signs with Zondervan
Jonathan Cain, the keyboardist for 1980s supergroup Journey, sold a currently untitled memoir to Zondervan. The book, which Cain is cowriting with Travis Thrasher, was acquired by John Sloan from Darrell Miller at the L.A.-based law firm Fox Rothschild. Scheduled for spring 2018, the book, Zondervan said, will relate Cain’s experiences in the band as well as “his personal path to belief.”

Librarian Lands at Philomel
Children’s librarian Shannon Schuren sold world English rights to her debut novel, The Virtue of Sin, in a two-book preempt to Liza Kaplan at Philomel. The author, who works at Wisonsin’s Sheboygan Falls Memorial Library, was represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman agency. Poelle said the novel is set “in a modern-day cult where women’s voices—and choices—are suppressed.” The 17-year-old heroine must therefore face “an impossible decision: keep quiet and lose her secret love, or speak out and lose everything.”