Since announcing the launch of its inaugural hardcover list in January, Anchor has unveiled the four titles—three of which are debut novels—that make up that list. At a virtual event earlier in the fall, Suzanne Herz, publisher of Vintage and Anchor, said that the spring 2022 list largely comprises thrillers and mysteries—genres that have not traditionally been covered by Anchor, which is the oldest trade paperback publisher in the U.S.
“Expanding our paperback publishing program with a carefully curated hardcover list is a very exciting opportunity,” Herz told PW. In addition to thrillers and mysteries, the list will also focus on psychological suspense, commercial fiction, and “popular and voicey nonfiction.”
As was previously announced, Edward Kastenmeier will lead the new program as v-p and editorial director of Anchor Books hardcovers. A 30-year veteran of Vintage and Anchor, Kastenmeier has edited and published books by authors including James Ellroy, Lars Kepler, Alexander McCall Smith, and Jo Nesbø. He has also overseen the Vintage Crime/Black Lizard publishing program.
“I’ve long felt that there was a certain type of upmarket commercial fiction that was significantly underrepresented in the Vintage/Anchor group,” Kastenmeier said. With the 2019 arrival of Herz, who publishes John Grisham and Dan Brown, Kastenmeier felt the timing was right to launch a line focused on mysteries, thrillers, and psychological suspense.
Anchor Hardcovers plans to publish six to eight titles per year as part of a “highly curated list” that Kastenmeier expects to grow over time. To date, the line has acquired more than a dozen titles, including mysteries, thrillers, and what he called “bighearted fiction.” There are also plans to publish “voice-driven nonfiction” titles in the near future.
At the September 28 event, Kastenmeier, along with editors Caitlin Landuyt and Anna Kaufman, who assisted in building the hardcover list, discussed each forthcoming title at length.
The list’s lead title, slated for February 1, is Brendan Slocumb’s debut novel The Violin Conspiracy. A mystery set in the cutthroat world of classical music, The Violin Conspiracy was the first book added to Anchor’s hardcover list. Slocumb has since been signed to a two-book deal, and Sony has obtained the screen rights to the novel, with The Hate U Give director George Tillman Jr. attached.
Set for June 2022, is Taylor Hahn’s debut novel, The Lifestyle, a rom-com about swingers that Landuyt described as “the most fun retelling of Emma since Clueless.” The Lifestyle has also been optioned for film and television.
Tyrell Johnson’s The Lost Kings, a character-driven psychological thriller, is set for August 2022. Johnson’s debut novel, The Wolves of Winter, was released by Scribner in January 2018.
Rounding out the inaugural list is Amy McCulloch’s debut thriller, Breathless. Slated for May 2022, Breathless tells of a young woman who summits Nepal’s Mt. Manaslu, one of the tallest mountains in the world. McCulloch herself is the youngest Canadian woman to summit Manaslu. Anchor will also publish her second novel.
“Perhaps the most exciting part,” Kastenmeier said, “is that, since the group hasn’t been publishing much in this space, there is plenty of room for us to carve out a new niche that doesn’t compete with our existing programs.”
Correction: This piece initially misspelled Amy McCulloch's surname.