W&N signs thriller from foreign correspondent/UEA graduate Tim MacGabhann

Rights - Fiction Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Two book deal; first title is Mexican-set literary thriller Call Him Mine


Federico Andornino, commissioning editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, has acquired World Rights (All languages) for Call Him Mine, the first book in a new series by debut author Tim MacGabhann, in a two-book deal with Sam Copeland at RCW.

Irishman Tim MacGabhann studied at Trinity College, Dublin, before moving to Mexico City, where he has been working as a reporter, focusing on the social impact of Mexico’s twelve-year war on drugs, as well as reporting from Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia. In 2017 he graduated with a Creative Writing MA from UEA.

According to the acquisition announcement: 'Set in the dark heart of Mexico, Call Him Mine is a gritty literary crime novel about jaded reporter Andrew and his photographer boyfriend, Carlos, veterans of the reporting scene: from cartel massacres to corrupt politicians, they think they’ve seen it all. But when they find a body even the police are too scared to look at, what started out as just another assignment becomes the sort of story all reporters dream of. Until Carlos winds up murdered, leaving Andrew grief-stricken and flailing for answers, justice, and revenge.'

Andornino said: "Call Him Mine is first and foremost an unputdownable work of fiction, in the tradition of Don Winslow and James Ellroy, and with the same addictive quality of Breaking Bad and Narcos. But what really grabbed my attention is how Tim brings Mexico to life on the page: vibrant, colourful and violent, full of blood, darkness and passion. It’s a portrait of a country written by someone fascinated by its contradictions and not afraid to reveal its dark heart. This is cinematic, compulsive writing at its best, and quite simply like nothing I’ve read before."

MacGabhann said: "I first started reading about Mexico as an eighteen year old living in Ireland. Mexico was in the news a lot at the time, because this was in late 2006, shortly after then-President Felipe Calderón had launched the war on crime that has since left two hundred thousand Mexicans dead or missing. I felt pretty haunted by the contrast between my cosy existence in Ireland and what people my age were going through in Mexico, and ultimately it was an impulse to produce some kind of engaged writing that made me give up my PhD, move to Mexico City and give reporting a shot.

"It soon became clear that the scale of the conflict and atrocity was such that it seemed like everyone had a tragedy in their lives, while my own stories and minor successes were turning into a pretty nice life for myself. I was frustrated, too, by how callous I was becoming, at how quickly I was able to just zip in, do a story, and run back out, all but unaffected by what I'd seen and heard.

"That feeling came to a head in 2015 when, two blocks from my house, five people were brutally murdered. One was a journalist, Rúben Espinosa. Another was a human rights defender, Nadia Vera. That’s when I started wondering about what would happen if there was a story that I couldn't let go of, couldn't ignore? Worse — what if there was a story that wouldn't let go of me, with consequences serious enough to break open my perfect expat life? If everybody has a tragedy in Mexico, what might mine look like? And that's when I came up with the story of Andrew and Carlos. It’s a privilege now, more than ten years after I first became intoxicated with Mexico, to be working with my W&N family on bringing that story to readers."

He started writing while studying English Literature and French at Trinity, but his interest in Latin America led him to drop out of his doctoral programme and move to Mexico City, where he has lived on and off since 2013. He has worked as a freelance reporter for outlets including Esquire, Thomson Reuters, Al Jazeera, and the Washington Post.

Call Him Mine
will be published by W&N next July in hardback, export trade paperback, ebook and audio with the mass market paperback to follow in Spring 2020.

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