Murder in New York...

The Interpretation of Murder, Holt's candidate for this fall's big book, got a strong vote of confidence from Warner Bros. last week. The studio, desperately in need of therapy after a rough summer of pricey underperformers (Poseidon, Superman Returns, The Lady in the Water, etc.), has optioned Jed Rubenfeld's Freudian thriller in a substantial six-figure deal (seven if the film gets made). The manuscript leaked to scouts last year, but William Morris film agent Alicia Gordon decided to hold off on submitting it officially until the publishing buzz revved up. The gamble apparently paid off—Warner's Lynn Harris read Rubenfeld's tale of murder, sex and psychoanalysis in turn-of-the-century New York and took it off the table without a producer attached. Rubenfeld's first novel holds positions on the PW, Wall Street Journal and extended New York Times bestseller lists. WMA's Suzanne Gluck reports 31 foreign sales to date.

Fast Patterson

James Patterson, he of the tiny chapters and big plot twists, stays true to form with The Quickie, written with Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown, July 2007), out now from CAA's Matt Snyder. The title refers not to the time it takes to digest a typical Patterson potboiler, but to the extramarital affair that kicks off the mystery. When a husband kills the man his NYPD detective wife had a fling with, it exposes a web of dirty dealings, hidden relationships and secret lives. Whether or not Hollywood bites remains to be seen, but with six network MOWs produced from his books, TV folks have the edge in bringing the prolific author's non—Alex Cross novels to the screen. One studio person, calling the novel "pretty standard-issue cross and double-cross," predicts that's where it's ultimately headed.

In Brief

Always on the lookout for a good romantic comedy, film scouts got to work the moment they heard the story line for Beginner's Greek, a first novel by James Collins (Little, Brown, fall 2007). A man meets a woman on a plane. Devastated when he loses her number, he gets a second chance at love when she reappears in his life—as his best friend's girlfriend. Execs who've read it note the conceptual similarity to 2001's hokey Serendipity, although at least one scout doesn't think that's a problem: "Now someone can get it right." Molly Friedrich reps Collins.