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Hot Deals
John F. Baker -- 3/20/00

Cannell Signs with St. Martin's

Stephen J. Cannell, veteran TV producer and scriptwriter recently turned bestselling novelist, has signed a six-figure, two-book North American rights deal with senior editor Charles Spicer at St. Martin's Press. In the two books, the first of which is called The Tin Collectors (a derisive name for the police's Internal Affairs officers), Cannell will introduce a new hero, maverick Los Angeles police detective Shane Scully, who is on the trail of corruption within the LAPD. The new deal (Cannell's last novel, The Devil's Workshop, was published at Morrow) was brokered by agent Eric Simonoff at Janklow & Nesbit. The first book will appear in winter of next year. Cannell has had a long career as a pathbreaking producer and writer of TV crime shows, including The Rockford Files, Baretta, The A-Team and Silk Stalkings. He turned to fiction five years ago with The Plan.

'Fight Club' Author to Broadway

Chuck Palahniuk, whose Fight Club was a recent controversial movie, has sold his next novel, Choke, for six figures to Gerry Howard at Doubleday/Broadway, North American only, for publication next spring. The sale was made by agent Edward Hibbert at Donadio & Olson, who said that the book, a surreal mix of sex and religion, "will be as disturbing as it is outrageous." Palahniuk is widely published overseas, and houses in France, Italy, the U.K., Spain, the Netherlands and Japan, among others, have options on the new title. In other Donadio & Olson action, the agency's Ira Silverberg sold a novel by Benjamin Anastas called The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor's Disappearance to FSG's Ethan Nosowsky. The book, for which Nosowsky bought world rights, tells of the disappearance of a mixed-race pastor from a church near Boston and of the impact the event has on his congregation. The author's first novel, An Underachiever's Diary, was published by Dial.

Investing Expert Bogle to McGraw

John Bogle, who founded and used to head the Vanguard Group, a celebrated mutual fund company, is one of the great names in investing, and he is planning to do a book, John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years for publisher and editor-in-chief Jeffrey Krames at McGraw-Hill. The book will be the first in a new series, Great Ideas of Finance, which the publisher will bring out once a year. Krames, whose association with Bogle g s back to previous publications, negotiated the deal, for world rights, without intervention of an agent and plans to bring the book out in September. It will trace the development of Bogle's ideas on the stock market and investing dating all the way back to his Princeton University thesis nearly 50 years ago.

Riding Shotgun in Brooklyn

John Neuland is an assistant district attorney is Brooklyn's ultra-tough East New York district; he is also, as it turns out, a writer with what Random editor Courtney Hodell calls an "idiomatically perfect" ear for street talk. She bought, with publisher Ann Godoff, Neuland's first novel, called Riding Shotgun, which graphically takes readers into Brooklyn's mean streets. The Random team offered a strong six figures for a two-book, North American deal to agent Jennifer Rudolph Walsh at the Writers Shop the same day they met the author; they plan to publish around this time next year. Note to aspirant D.A. authors: Walsh found Neuland's manuscript in her slush pile.

Short Takes

Eamon Dolan at Houghton Mifflin won a recent auction among eight houses for a book exploring the mystique of West Point by Rolling Stone contributing editor David Lipsky; much of his material appeared in an admired two-parter in the magazine two years ago. The Last Americans, as the book is called, will appear in time to coincide with the academy's bicentennial in two years' time. ICM's Lisa Bankoff was the agent.¦ A seven-figure, two-book package involving African-American women's novelist Debbie Macomber was sold after a heated auction to Janet Hill at Doubleday by agent Victoria Sanders. The first of the two books, P.G. County, is described as "a black Peyton Place."¦ A book bought for the movies before it found a publisher, Jim Kokoris's The Rich Part of Life, will find print at St. Martin's, where editor J Veltre paid agent Lynn Franklin six figures for a two-book, North American rights deal.¦ Viking Penguin executive editor Pam Dorman was the winner in a bidding war for a first novel by Sue Monk Kidd, who has made her name so far in nonfiction (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter). The novel, The Secret Life of Bees, was sold by Virginia Barber at the Writers Shop in a hard-soft, world-rights deal, for publication in summer 2001.
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