Canelo Crime snaps up Irish novelist’s ‘extraordinary’ debut

March 31, 2022

Publishing Director Louise Cullen has acquired World English Language rights to a debut crime thriller by journalist Amanda Cassidy from Madeleine Milburn at Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency in a two-book deal. 

Breaking will be published in October 2022, and mark the second hardback for Canelo Crime following the announcement of Canelo’s hardback programme earlier this year. 

In Breaking, a family’s luxury holiday in the Florida Keys turns into a waking nightmare when their youngest daughter, Alannah, goes missing from the beach. It soon transpires that her mother, Mirren, was seen drinking heavily at a bar prior to the disappearance, causing her actions to be held up for judgement by the press and viciously pulled apart on social media. She becomes the focus of the investigation, while desperately seeking to hold herself – and her family – together, and find her little girl. Similarly to 2021’s huge bestseller The Push by Ashley Audrain, Breaking explores the intricacies of motherhood and looks at the uncomfortable truth about a collective desire to create ‘worthy’ victims. It offers readers a gripping police investigation, driven by a detective battling with his own pressures, as well as a deeply felt, discomfiting portrayal of a family’s desperation when faced with their child being lost while overseas.   

Amanda Cassidy is a freelance journalist, commissioning editor and former Sky News reporter. Shortlisted for the Irish Journalist of the Year Awards, and more recently the Headline Media writing awards, her features have been read by over seven million people and she has several thousand followers on Twitter (@amandacassidy). She’s a frequent contributor to national radio, print and television and holds a BA in French and Italian from Trinity College Dublin. When she’s not on a plane, you’ll find her in her cottage in Dublin where she lives with her husband and three young children.

Louise Cullen says: ‘It is rare to discover a novel that delivers so successfully on as many fronts as Amanda’s debut does. The premise allows for a compulsive crime novel with excellent police procedural elements at its heart, but it is also so much more. Reading about Mirren’s raw, unfiltered feelings towards her children makes for an utterly absorbing read, while the conclusion is like a gut-punch. It is an extraordinary achievement by Amanda and I’m thrilled that she will have a home on the Canelo Crime list.’

Amanda Cassidy says: ‘With Breaking, I wanted to shine a light on some of the complexities of motherhood I’d never seen written about before. I’m so thrilled that this novel is being championed by Canelo, who have published so many writers I admire. I’m hugely grateful to my brilliant agent Madeleine Milburn and my skilful editor Louise Cullen for their enthusiasm and insight – the dream team for any debut novelist.’

Madeleine Milburn says: ‘I was gripped by Amanda’s sharp voice when I first read Breaking. This propulsive mystery speaks to how women are scrutinised and at times vilified under the harsh glare of the media spotlight, and I cannot wait for readers to fall in love with this story. I’m delighted that Amanda’s debut has found a home with Canelo, and I am so excited to see them champion this novel.’

Breaking will be published in October 2022 in hardback and ebook, with a mass market paperback to follow in 2023. For more information please contact