EXCLUSIVE: Ballantine Bantam Dell has acquired world rights to JP Delaney’s next novel The Perfect Wife, a psychological thriller from the author of The Girl Before and like that novel is being developed as a feature film by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment. The new book is tentatively scheduled for a summer 2018 release.
Imagine was a big part of The Perfect Wife: the company’s Tyler Mitchell approached Delaney with the idea for the story, said to be in the vein of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins. It explores the slippery relationship between love and obsession as a woman struggles to uncover the incendiary secrets that shape her marriage. Delaney will pen the screenplay after the book is finished.
Ron Howard is attached to direct The Girl Before, another Ballantine Bantam Dell novel that Universal acquired in November after a big auction. Michael De Luca is producing with Imagine’s Grazer, Howard and Erica Huggins. Mitchell serves as an exec producer.
“Partnering with JP on this project is incredibly exciting,” said Howard of The Perfect Wife deal. “To work with an author from the beginning of the creative process, with the intention of creating a great book that can stand on its own, but also be mindful of how to make the adaptation successful the screen, is the kind of innovative approach to storytelling that we’re looking for.”