A NORTHERN Ireland author's latest thriller has been snapped up by Paramount Pictures in a million pound plus movie deal.
Uber driver turned award-winning writer Adrian McKinty (51) will see The Chain adapted for the silver screen in a reportedly "low seven figure deal".
Shipyard worker's son McKinty was born in Belfast and grew up in Carrickfergus during the Troubles before going on to Warwick and Oxford universities. His latest novel has already been hailed by legendary horror writer Stephen King, who said: "This nightmarish story is incredibly propulsive and original. You won't shake it for a long time."
The Chain - set for release next month - tells the story of a mum called Rachel and her quest to track down her daughter who has been kidnapped.
McKinty's 2003 debut novel, Dead I Well May Be, won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award 2004.
He wrote several more books over two decades while working in various jobs including as an Uber driver to make ends meet.
After falling on hard times and getting evicted, McKinty wrote a forlorn letter to Don Winslow, author of bestsellers including The Cartel and The Force, saying how much of a fan he was and expressing his regret at not hitting the big time as a writer.
A one-time struggling author himself, Winslow replied and referred McKinty to American screenwriter and producer Shane Salerno who had helped him become a success.
McKinty was persuaded by both Salerno and Winslow not to abandon his literary career.
The resulting book is The Chain which Winslow refers to as "Jaws for parents". He added: "It belongs in the elite company of world-class thrillers like Gone Girl and The Silence of the Lambs."
McKinty, whose novel is due for release in a fortnight, said: "My story is a story of never giving up, It's a story about writers helping fellow writers.
"I hope it inspires other writers who may be thinking about quitting, to never give up.
"I never imagined any of this could happen, but I hoped it would. I had hope. I am so grateful and I hope my story inspires others."