Morrow Launches Digital-First Mystery Line

Ebook original mysteries continue to gain traction with publishers (see Kristi Chadwick’s 4/15 Genre Spotlight feature “Following Digital Clues”)  as HarperCollins’s William Morrow imprint announced the launch this October of Witness Impulse, a new digital -original mystery, suspense, and thriller line. Over 100 titles have already been acquired, and the initial release of ten titles this fall include James Hayman’s Darkness First, Stephen Booth’s Black Dog, Rory Clements’ s Prince, Judi Culbertson’s An Illustrated Death, Emlyn Reese’s Hunted, Frances Fyfield’s Blind Date, and Howard Linsky’s The Drop.

“Our starting lineup gives an indication of the editorial scope of the imprint,” says Morrow executive editor Dan Mallory who heads the new initiative. “It’s an exciting collection of brand new content, international bestsellers not previously available in the United States, and newly digitized backlist classics. It runs the gamut from police procedurals to literary suspense, historical mysteries to action thrillers.” Among the classics Witness will release  are digital versions of Agatha Christie’s short stories, including all the “Hercule Poirot” short stories as digital singles, which will eventually be combined in a single omnibus edition with a foreword by Charles Todd.

The new imprint extends HarperCollins’s successful Avon and Harper Voyager  “Impulse” ebook publishing platform, and Danielle Bartlett, associate director of publicity, notes the possibility possibility of Witness titles going into print. “To date, more than 60 percent of Impulse titles have a print format, with thousands of printed copies sold for each of those books.”

As digital publishing expands, will the traditional literary awards follow suit? Mystery’s most prestigious prizes, the Edgar Awards, will be announced tonight at a gala banquet at New York’s Grand Hyatt Hotel. Yet none of the nominees are digital originals.Time will tell if the Mystery Writers of America, which sponsors the Edgars, will join the digital bandwagon, but the International Thriller Writers organization is already ahead of the game. Their 2013 Thriller Awards include an ebook original category. The five nominees are:

Jon Land – Pandora’s Temple (Open Road E-riginal)
CJ Lyons – Blind Faith (Minotaur Books)
Alexandra Sokoloff – Huntress Moon (Alexandra Sokoloff)
Allen Wyler – Dead End Deal  (Astor + Blue Editions)
Allen Wyler – Dead Wrong (Astor + Blue Editions)



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Wilda Williams About Wilda Williams

Wilda "Willy" Williams ( is LJ's Fiction Editor. She specializes in popular fiction and edits the Mystery, Science Fiction, Christian Fiction, and Word on Street Lit columns.