Black Mamba snapped up by Atlantic

14th February 2022

Atlantic Fiction has acquired UK Com + translation (ex Can) rights for Black Mamba by William Friend from Jordan Lees at The Blair Partnership. Black Mamba will be published in HB, TPB and E-book in June 2022.

William Friend studied English, French and Italian at university. He lives in Hertfordshire with his partner. Black Mamba is his first novel.

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers meets The Haunting of Hill House in a debut of loss, ghosts and sexual desire…

Daddy, there’s a man in our room. This is the chilling announcement Alfie hears one night, when he wakes in his quiet, suburban house to find his twin daughters at the foot of his bed. It’s been nine months since Pippa – their mother – suddenly died and they’ve been unsettled ever since, so Alfie assumes they’ve probably had a nightmare. Still, he goes to check to reassure the girls. As expected he finds no man, but in the following days the girls begin to refer to someone called Black Mamba. What seemingly begins as an imaginary friend quickly develops into something darker, more obsessive, potentially violent. Alfie finds himself struggling, and so he turns to Julia – Pippa’s twin and a psychotherapist – for help. But as Black Mamba’s coils tighten around the girls, Alfie and Julia must contend with their own unspoken sense of loss, their unacknowledged attraction to one another, and the true character of the presence poisoning the twins’ minds.

James Roxburgh, Publishing Director for Atlantic Fiction, says:

Black Mamba is a fabulous novel, fluent in the grammar of horror writing but also a deeply sophisticated account of sublimated grief and sexual desire. It’s particularly good at challenging our assumptions of what modern families look like, what might be the emotional and psychological cost of wanting to be a parent in a family that might fall outside of the ‘perfect’ dominant-cultural paradigm. It makes me think of Babadook or Hereditary, work that’s both challenging and moving, but also able to have its dark fun with us, making our bones feel cold and leaving us checking under the bed before lights out.’