Well, isn’t this a fine and mighty deal

There aren’t too many pieces of deal news that make my jaw drop. But this one did:

C.J. Box’s three stand-alone thrillers, the first about a young girl

and her brother on the run in the woods of northern Idaho, pursued by

four men they have just watched commit murder, and who are intent on

finding them before they can breathe a word of what they know, for

publication in fall 2007, to Ben Sevier at Minotaur, in a major deal,

for six figures, by Ann Rittenberg of the Ann Rittenberg Literary

Agency (world English and Germany). Box’s Joe Pickett mystery series

will continue to be published by Putnam/Berkeley.

Why? A number of reasons. First, Ben Sevier continues his winning ways, inking his latest big money deal for Minotaur. Then there’s the dollar value involved, and the fact that Box is pretty much switching over to writing standalones. Because while, as the deal report says, the series will stay at his old publisher, since Box’s editor for all those books, Martha Bushko, isn’t in publishing anymore, what then?

In any case, I’m happy about the news because the Pickett series is very good — but one suspects the standalones might finally gain Box the audience he truly deserves.