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Zaffre to publish Lauren Forry’s out of this world locked-room mystery

Lauren Forry’s latest crime novel, The Launch Party, has been snapped up by Zaffre, the flagship fiction imprint of Bonnier Books UK.

Senior Editor Kelly Smith acquired world rights including film/TV from Sandra Sawicka at Marjacq Scripts.

Pitched as Agatha Christie meets Andy Weir, this murder mystery novel has all the classic hallmarks of the Golden Age with a distinctly modern twist – it’s set in the first hotel on the moon. The premise was inspired by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa’s invitation for members of the public to apply to join him in space.

In The Launch Party, ten people win a competition to celebrate the opening of the Hotel Artemis. But when they arrive, there is no one to deliver room service nor pour the champagne fizzing in cool glasses – they are completely alone. When one of the guests is found murdered the next morning, panic ensues, but that death is only the beginning. With help three days away and nowhere to run, how many of the remaining guests can survive their stay?

Kelly Smith said: ‘Lauren’s imagination knows no bounds. In The Launch Party, she has written a compelling character-driven mystery with a unique, fresh take and has invented a new subgenre – the locked moon mystery. This is Knives Out but off-world and I’m simply over the moon to be working with her and Sandra on such an exciting project. Watch this…space! Puns are unavoidable.’

Lauren Forry was brought up in the woods of Pennsylvania before moving to New York City to earn her undergraduate degree in Cinema Studies and Screenwriting from New York University. She later earned her MA and MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing from Kingston University in London, England. There she was awarded the Faber and Faber Creative Writing MA Prize for her thesis work, Abigale Hall.

Lauren Forry said: ‘I had so much fun writing The Launch Party! Since I’ll never be an astronaut and/or able to afford space travel, writing this story was my chance to journey to the moon, and I’m excited to share that experience with readers. I hope they love these characters as much as I do and I can’t wait for them to unravel the secrets of the moon’s first luxury hotel.’

Sandra Sawicka said: ‘I can’t wait for the readers to explore the mysteries and the lavish, yet hostile world of The Launch Party that Lauren has created. I’m also delighted to be working on it with Kelly Smith and the wider Bonnier team, as I know they will make the book the success it deserves to be.’

The Launch Party will be published in June 2023 in paperback, audio and ebook.