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Zaffre acquires Hussey’s ‘helter-skelter’ thriller debut introducing crime fiction’s first Traveller detective

Zaffre, the commercial fiction imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired Killing Jericho, the debut adult thriller from William Hussey.

Publishing Director Ben Willis acquired world all language rights in a three-book deal from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates.

William Hussey is the critically acclaimed author of Young Adult novels Hideous Beauty and The Outrage. In his debut adult thriller, Hussey wanted to create a lead character that reflected his own experiences. Having grown up in the Traveller community as the son of a fairground showman, he has created the first Traveller detective protagonist in crime fiction history. And, like his hero, Hussey is a gay man existing in this culture, with all its complexities, richness and challenges, all of which has heavily inspired his writing.

Scott Jericho is a troubled, ingenious sleuth who draws on the skills of his unique upbringing and heritage to solve a series of baffling murders.

Fresh out of prison following an assault on a violent suspect, former Detective Constable Scott Jericho is forced to seek refuge with the fairground family he once rejected. But then a series of murders drags him back in; locals are being slaughtered in ways that recall an old legend of the Jericho Travelling Fair. Only Jericho can unpick the threads of this baffling mystery – one that will challenge the very core of his morality.

Ben Willis, publishing director said: “At Zaffre, we are always on the hunt for British crime fiction that pushes the boundaries of the genre, and William absolutely does this in Killing Jericho. It is brilliantly fresh, beautifully dark and utterly unique: a helter-skelter ride through the eyes of a detective protagonist like no other. To borrow award-winning Sarah Hilary’s words: ‘Crime fiction is crying out for more diversity, and in Scott Jericho we have been gifted a blisteringly new brand of hero’. I can’t wait to share William’s excellent crime novel – and Scott Jericho – with the world.”

William Hussey said: ”With Scott Jericho, I wanted to create a character I had never seen before in crime fiction – a hardboiled detective from a Traveller background. As the son of a travelling showman, I had always thought that fairground people are born sleuths, with skills of observation, deduction, and a knowledge of humanity that comes naturally from their centuries-old trade. I also wanted to write modern mysteries infused with the slightly Gothic history of the showpeople, as well as giving readers a glimpse into what is still a largely hidden world. And unlike so much of what is written about Travellers, this would be an authentic glimpse that comes from a writer who grew up in ‘the life’.”

Killing Jericho by William Hussey will publish in summer 2023 in hardback, eBook, and audio.