Crime writer Steve Hamilton has 4-book deal, new publisher

AP News
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Posted: Aug 06, 2015 4:55 PM
Crime writer Steve Hamilton has 4-book deal, new publisher

NEW YORK (AP) — Prize-winning crime writer Steve Hamilton has a new publisher just days after leaving St. Martin's Press over what he cited as lack of support.

Hamilton has a four-book deal with G.P. Putnam's Sons, the publisher told The Associated Press on Thursday. Hamilton's "The Second Life of Nick Mason," originally scheduled for release this fall by the St. Martin's imprint Minotaur, will come out in the middle of 2016.

Earlier this week, Hamilton had startled the book world by breaking with St. Martin's, his longtime publisher, and openly criticizing it for not properly backing "The Second Life of Nick Mason," the debut of a series featuring an ex-convict trying to break from his criminal past. Authors have long complained about lack of attention from their publishers, but it's rare for one to leave at the start of a multi-book deal and so soon before a novel's release.

More than 10 publishers "aggressively" pursued a contract with Hamilton, according to his literary agent, Shane Salerno.

"I am overwhelmed by the response to my decision to leave St. Martin's and grateful to have had so many passionate publishers pursuing my work," Hamilton said in a statement issued by Putnam, which is part of Penguin Group USA.

The Nick Mason novel was supposed to have been the first of a four-book deal reached last year with St. Martin's. In a highly unusual step, Salerno said he paid nearly $250,000 to get the author out of his contract (authors traditionally absorb the cost). Salerno added that the deal with Putnam was for substantially more than the near-seven figures Hamilton was to have received from St. Martin's.

Salerno, who besides being a literary agent is a screenwriter, filmmaker and author who in 2013 released a widely publicized documentary and book about J.D. Salinger, said Hamilton did not have the money on hand to buy out the contract himself. He added that he wanted Hamilton "to be completely free of St. Martin's" and able to find an enthusiastic publisher "who would support his work."

St. Martin's issued a statement this week saying that "After many years of publishing Steve Hamilton, unfortunately SMP has had a parting of the ways and will not be moving forward with the publication of 'The Second Life of Nick Mason.' We wish Steve all the best with his new series and his future endeavors."

St. Martin's spokeswoman Tracey Guest said Thursday that the publisher had no additional comment.

Hamilton, 54, is a respected and popular author known for his 10 Alex McKnight books. In 1999, his McKnight book "A Cold Day In Paradise" won an Edgar Award, presented by the Mystery Writers of America, for best first novel. Hamilton's "The Lock Artist" won the Edgar in 2011 for the best book overall.

Hamilton's contract with Putnam calls for two McKnight novels and two Nick Mason novels. "The Second Life of Nick Mason" has received early blurbs from Harlan Coben, Don Winslow and Michael Connelly and was listed by Publishers Weekly as one of the fall's most anticipated books.

"With two Edgars to his name and story-telling chops to beat the band, we're convinced readers will love his new character Nick Mason, and our whole team's aim and focus will be to bring him to a much larger audience," Putnam president Ivan Held, who along with editor Sara Minnich acquired the book for the publisher, said in a statement.