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Sphere lands a ‘thrilling’ locked room mystery debut

Banner reading New Acquisition, with a photo of the author Martin Griffin

Editor Callum Kenny acquired World All Language Rights in two novels by Martin Griffin, from Kate Shaw at The Shaw Agency. The first of these, The Second Stranger, will be published in early 2023.

The Second Stranger is a thrilling, high-concept locked room mystery. Remie Yorke has one shift left at the remote Mackinnon Hotel before she leaves for good. Then Storm Ezra hits. As temperatures plummet and phone lines go down, an injured man stumbles inside. PC Don Gaines was in a terrible accident on the mountain road and there was only one other survivor: the prisoner he was transporting.

When a second stranger arrives, Remie reluctantly lets him in from the blizzard. He, too, is hurt. He claims to be a police officer. His name is also Don Gaines. Someone is lying and, with no means of escape, Remie must work out who.

If the cold doesn’t kill her, one of these men will get there first . . .

Martin Griffin is an exciting new voice in the crime genre. Before turning his hand to writing, he was a deputy headteacher and a singer. He lives in Manchester with his wife and daughter.

Griffin said: ‘We live in times when the authority figures we might once have trusted have let us down. This, and the gulf between appearance and reality, is what I wanted to explore in The Second Stranger. Many of our mental shortcuts – who to trust, who to take direction from, who to cooperate with – come through markers of status like clothing. The idea of a threat arriving in disguise came to me first, and next came Remie Yorke, a strong, flawed and determined protagonist. It’s been an absolute joy to work with Kate Shaw and Callum Kenny on the book and I’m delighted I have such an experienced and enthusiastic team to introduce it to the world.’

Callum Kenny said: ‘This is one of the most exciting, high-paced thrillers I have ever read on submission. Martin’s novel is elegantly crafted and full of incredible twists that kept me guessing until the final revelation. I can’t wait for readers to experience this white-knuckle ride through the snow, the sub-zero chill and the dark.’

Kate Shaw said: ‘When Martin pitched The Second Stranger to me I got chills. He’s written a terrific thriller, marrying tension and atmosphere with a stunning setting, cinematic action and the twistiest of plots. With their excellent track record launching debut thriller writers we couldn’t be happier that Sphere are publishing The Second Stranger.’