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Lisburn crime author Steve Cavanagh inspired by mum signs a six-figure book deal

By Mark Bain

Lisburn author Steve Cavanagh, author of acclaimed court room drama Thirteen, has signed another two-book deal with leading publishing house Orion Fiction.

It's been a whirlwind three years since the publication of his first novel The Defense.

Thirteen, his fifth in the Eddie Flynn series of crime thrillers, hit the bookshelves on June 14 this year and reached number 12 in the overall UK paperback fiction bestseller lists.

Almost 30,000 paperbacks were sold in less than a month, and that success has prompted Orion Books to hand the 39-year-old lawyer the scope for writing at least two more thrillers with a six-figure deal.

The book - which boasts the tagline 'The serial killer isn't on trial. He's on the jury' - has been supported by Ian Rankin, Sarah Pinborough, Michael Connelly, Mark Billingham, Ruth Ware, Lee Child and Clare Mackintosh, as Steve rubs shoulders with some of the biggest international names in crime writing.

Cavanagh's novels have been sold in 18 countries, and he has just agreed a new six-figure deal with Flatiron Books in the US, which is publishing Thirteen next year.

The author said: "I feel very lucky to be able to continue to work with a new, dynamic and vibrant team at Orion. The company has changed in the last few years and the breadth of talent has only increased.

"With Orion, and Flatiron Books in the US, I know I'm being published with passion. I look forward to reaching new readers with the Eddie Flynn series, along with enjoying the freedom to keep developing as a writer."

Cavanagh's next novel, Twisted, will be published in January 2019, with two more now to follow a year apart. Senior commissioning editor at Orion Francesca Pathak signed the six-figure deal for UK and Commonwealth rights and said: "Working with Steve on Thirteen has been an absolute joy. All of Orion and the entire crime community have been behind this novel from the start and the result has been fantastic."

The Lisburn-born writer moved to Dublin at 18 to studied law, but went on to be a pot-washer, bouncer, security guard and call centre operative before landing a job as an investigator for a law firm in Belfast, where he qualified as a solicitor.

Steve Cavanagh is the pen name of Stephen Mearns - Cavanagh being his mother's maiden name.

It was his mum Bridie who fostered his love of the crime/thriller genre.

He said: "She used to pass crime novels on to me when I was young, but it was only after her sudden death on St Patrick's Day 2011 that I decided to turn my hand to writing."

Five books later, with at least two more to come, he added: "I wanted to write a book that my mum would have liked, since this all came from her."

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