Little, Brown has acquired North American rights to a novel hatched with a concept from Super 8 director JJ Abrams, written by Doug Dorst. The untitled novel will be a lead title in the 2012 list for Mulholland Books. The publisher was mum on the title or the subject matter, but when word circulated that Abrams was involved in a book, it certainly got the film rights crowd hot and bothered when the book got shopped to publishers recently. Hard to get a handle on what the book’s about, but I’ve heard that will be done in a style similar to Nick Bantock’s Griffin & Sabine series, which was about the relationship between a postcard designer and an illustrator of stamps, and which told a story that was loaded with graphics and required readers to follow the correspondence by reading postcards and letters stuffed in envelopes pasted in the book. Word is Abrams is up to similar cleverness.
Dorst wrote Alive in Necropolis.
EXCLUSIVE: Days after Little Brown closed a million dollar publishing deal on it last week, 20th Century Fox acquired screen rights to Matthew Quirk’s first novel The Five Hundred. The movie deal was worth low-to-mid six figures against low seven figures, I’m told. The book is described as The Firm, set in politics.
The Five Hundred revolves around Mike Ford, a young man from the wrong side of the tracks who works his way through Harvard Law and is recruited by the most powerful PR/consulting firm in DC. He becomes the protege of of the firm’s founder, who has his hooks into the 500 most powerful people in politics. The protege soon feels that he’s sold his soul to his ruthless mentor. The book will be published by Reagan Arthur’s Little Brown imprint, in a two-book deal. They hope the protagonist will grow into a franchise character. Several screen suitors chased it before before Fox executives Peter Kang and Emma Watts closed the deal Friday. They’ve yet to assign a producer to The Five Hundred.
Quirk spent five years at The Atlantic, reporting on crime, private military contractors, terrorism and drugs. The deal was made by Justin Manask for lit rep Shawn Coyne of Genre Management.
Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, whose credits include the fourth through seven Saw installments as well as the upcoming Hellraiser remake and the sequel Piranha 3 Double D, are moving into publishing with a Little Brown deal for their first novel, Blacklight. The book is the story of a ghost hunter private eye with psychic abilities who is hired to take the inaugural ride on the new bullet train that goes directly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. His job is to figure out if the train’s haunted, but each case he takes on fuels his own lifelong obsession: to locate the spirits of his parents who were the victims of an unsolved murder when he was a child. The scribes intend for this to be the start of a series surrounding the private eye, Buck Carlsbad. Melton & Dunstan’s reps at Underground and APA will shop the feature rights.