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Debut from “formidable new talent” Champine pre-empted by Manilla Press

Manilla Press, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired Justine Champine’s “intelligent literary mystery” debut Knife River.

Manilla Press Publisher Sophie Orme acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Rachel Kind at Dial Press of Penguin Random House US via a pre-empt.

Knife River is the story of a young woman who returns home to the small, claustrophobic town of Knife River. When Jess was thirteen, her mother went for a walk and did not return – now, fifteen years later, bones have been discovered in the woods nearby. As days turn into weeks, Jess’s understanding of the past, her sister, and herself become more and more complicated – and the list of suspects responsible for her mother’s terrible fate more and more ominous.

Beautifully written and soaked with atmosphere, Knife River is the debut of an exciting new writer in literary crime and features a queer protagonist – broadening the representation of LGBTQ+ characters in crime fiction. The book has already garnered praise from Jodi Picoult – ‘a delicious smoke curl of a novel: atmospheric, sharp, and skilled’ – and Paula Hawkins: ‘Champine’s keenly observed depiction of the aftermath of tragedy and the corrosive impact of loss sets this novel apart.’

Orme said: ‘From its incredible opening chapter, Knife River hooked me in completely. This is a stunning crime novel – slow-burn, beautifully written and soaked with atmosphere, with a rich, unforgettable cast of characters. Justine is a formidable new talent in the genre. I can’t wait for readers to lose themselves in Knife River’.

Champine said: ‘I’m thrilled for Knife River to have a home in the UK, and am so grateful to Sophie Orme and the Bonnier Books UK team for their support of my debut novel. Set in an eerie rural town, this is a story about the insidiousness of doubt and the bond between sisters. I loved writing the story of Jess and Liz, and I’m excited for overseas readers to step into their world.’

Justine Champine’s short fiction has appeared in Kenyon Review, Epoch, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is a founding staff member of No Tokens Journal. She lives and writes in New York City, where she has served as an organiser on the NYC Dyke March Committee and at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in resource digitization. Knife River is her first novel.

Knife River will be published in hardback, eBook and Audio on the 6th June 2024.