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HarperCollins books rights to Maxim murder article

Deal inked in six-figures

A January article in Maxim sparked by an unexplained killing in the New Mexico desert last August will be expanded into a book that HarperCollins has purchased at auction for a substantial six-figure sum.

“Journal of the Dead” is the true story of Raffi Kodikian and David Coughlin, “two East Coast best friends determined to live out their last youthful adventure right after college,” said Scott Waxman, who repped first-time author Jason Kersten in the deal.

Stabbing death

“Their idea was to capture the American rite of passage,” said Waxman, but after the two became lost for days in the desert, Kodikian stabbed Coughlin to death and buried him, later claiming it was a mercy killing. Kodikian goes on trial for murder May 8.

The sale to HarperCollins, publisher of Kersten’s stepmother, Isabelle Allende, comes two days before the London Book Fair. HarperCollins controls only North American rights. CAA’s Mathew Snyder will handle film rights. Kersten’s editor at HarperCollins is Trena Keating.

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