Orenda Books signs Paul Burston’s disturbingly relevant thriller The Closer I Get in a Frankfurt pre-empt, two-book deal

Orenda Books signs Paul Burston’s disturbingly relevant thriller The Closer I Get in a Frankfurt pre-empt, two-book deal

Orenda Books are delighted to announce the acquisition of World English Language rights for Paul Burston’s The Closer I Get and a second (untitled) book, in a two-book, Frankfurt Book Fair pre-empt, negotiated with David Headley of DHH Literary Agency.


A dark and disturbing, character-driven psychological thriller, focussing on the relationship that develops between a bestselling author and a troubled social media ‘follower’, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the world of online ‘friendships’ and the lines that are drawn, crossed and possibly invisible.


Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone. Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has. When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing. But some things aren’t really adding up. Tom’s girlfriend, Emma, is suspicious that he’s found it a little to easy to finish the book, and she’s not at all sure that his relationship with Evie is all that it seems…


Karen Sullivan, Orenda Books says, ‘This is a disturbingly relevant novel that focuses on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships: their seminal importance to those without a real-world structure, but also those whose success relies upon ‘likes’, reviews and flattery; the ‘bubble’ that skews our moral compass. The premise is simple and ubiquitous: an author with writer’s block is distracted by his online relationships, but also addicted to them, and when they take a darker, dangerous turn, he feels powerless to change things … because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s saying…


‘And yet, this simple premise is deceiving. Paul Burston has written a multi-layered, shocking believable, prescient and powerful page-turner, with two main characters vying for the readers’ trust and attention, and he succeeds not only in confounding expectations but twisting the narrative so convincingly that it becomes impossible to distinguish who is telling the truth and what is real. Paul is a tremendously talented and perceptive writer, and this powerful thriller not only showcases his distinctive voice, but asks questions, and prods the dark side of our online interactions.


‘We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Paul to ‘Team Orenda’ … his passion for debate, his vibrant personality, his inspiring contribution to the LGBTQ+ community and his exquisite writing add so much to our growing list, and stretch it in all the right directions. I read The Closer I Get in one breathless sitting, and I am still thinking about it now.’


David Headley says: ‘The Closer I Get is a compulsive, thought-provoking novel. Paul’s writing is rich and flows at a hurtling page-turning pace. He is a gifted storyteller and I know that Orenda will give Paul the wide readership he deserves.’


Paul says: ‘I’m thrilled to be joining Orenda, who’ve published some of my favourite crime authors and produce such beautiful books. I’m looking forward to working with Karen and the team and I’m grateful to my agent David Headley for finding me the perfect publisher.’


The Closer I Get will be published in 2019 by Orenda Books. For more information, please contact Karen@orendabooks.co.uk.