Lightning Books has signed new deals with authors Abi Silver and Simon Edge, both of whom are currently longlisted for this year’s Waverton Good Read Award for debut novels published by the new fiction imprint in 2017.
Abi Silver’s gripping debut The Pinocchio Brief, a legal thriller with an AI twist, was heralded a ‘first-rate courtroom drama’ by the Daily Mail and was a Sunday Times Crime Club pick.
Her legal duo, Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, return in her second novel, The Aladdin Trial. They defend a Syrian refugee convicted by the media of pushing an elderly artist to her death of a hospital window. Artificial intelligence once again plays a crucial role in the plot.
Simon Edge’s The Hopkins Conundrum blended a satirical modern-day story with two historical narratives featuring Gerard Manley Hopkins and the shipwrecked nuns who inspired his best-known poem, The Wreck of the Deutschland.
His second novel, The Hurtle of Hell, is an atheist comedy featuring God as one of the main characters. It concerns a young gay man who, after a near-death experience, decides he needs to change his ways if he is not to end up in hell. After an accident of his own, God himself is drawn into the story. When he comes to Earth, he is astonished by the things that humans think he cares about.
Dan Hiscocks, publisher at Lightning Books, has acquired world rights to both titles direct with the authors. He said:
‘After his critically acclaimed debut The Hopkins Conundrum, it was obvious that readers wanted more from Simon Edge. Reading The Hurtle of Hell, I was excited at how the novel bridges the gap between religion and atheism with an originality and lightness of touch not normally associated with those subjects. I feel sure that readers will appreciate it.
‘It was obvious that readers wanted more from Simon Edge’
‘With Abi Silver, although crime is incredibly competitive and there are lots of debut authors published each year, her first novel captured the imagination of readers and reviewers alike, and I think the ‘Burton and Lamb’ brand has many more cases to come. Abi has a deft touch in classic genre writing but then adds a modern AI twist which keeps the reader guessing and wanting more, which is what we will give them.’
‘Abi Silver has a deft touch in classic genre writing with an AI twist’
Abi Silver was born in Leeds and is a lawyer by profession. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons.
Simon Edge read philosophy at Cambridge and was a journalist for many years, on the Evening Standard and then the Daily Express. He has also been a contributing editor of Attitude. He lives in Suffolk.
The Aladdin Trial will be published in June, The Hurtle of Hell in July.