Taz Urnov

Soho Press

My Manuscript Wish List®

I’m an associate editor at Soho Press, acquiring mostly for the Crime list. I’m looking for queer, startling crime fiction and literary horror. In past lives, I’ve been in linguistics and theatre; bonus points if you submit something to me that has anything to do with either of those!

Soho Crime’s books are known for an attention to place, be it overseas or at home. The setting typically feels intrinsic to the narrative to the point that it almost feels like a character in its own right—I want to feel transported to a new place when I read, and I want to learn about new things. To that end, I am always looking for books by authors from underrepresented and marginalized communities. Yes to translations (especially hoping for Korean, Russian, and French). I love stylish, noir-tinged atmospheric mysteries, fast-paced ticking-clock locked-room thrillers, down-on-their-luck PIs, awful antiheroes of all genders, and stories about the average Joe being forced into extraordinary circumstances. Big yes to trope subversion and meta crime narratives. With, of course, an amazing, unusual setting. I’d love to acquire a strong series opener helmed by an immediately iconic character or characters and work/grow with you over the course of multiple books.

Horror-wise, I tend to lean more body/psychological horror over paranormal. I love horror that is freaky and gross, but not joyless, and not too navel-gazey. My stomach is strong and I want to be horrified! I want twisted characters, visceral scares, high-concept set-ups, sinister but intriguing negotiations of power, and meticulous, literary writing, gleeful indulgence in the nasty and vile. Novellas welcome!

Regardless of genre, the books that grab me tend to be more voice- or character-driven rather than plot-forward. I’m always attracted to unconventional narrative voices, whether that’s expressed through craft (e.g. usage of second person, writing in fragments, playing with time or tense, unexpected metaphors, odd poetic devices, etc) or humor. I want to see a concept be committed to.

I love to cry at the ends of books. I also love throwing books across rooms when I get to the end. I dare you to get me there!

Dream wishlist: a horror novel by a Māori author; a really killer art heist novel; a crime novel with a great love story at the heart of it; a novel centered around the Deaf community; a crime novel set in Russia or any former Soviet Union country; a novel or series set in the world of classical music; anything with Black Swan as a comp; horror about aliens; diaspora crime; anti-colonialist horror.

I am not looking for: literary fiction (without a strong crime/horror element), cozies, mainstream/commercial/upmarket, domestic thrillers, legal thrillers, globe-hopping narratives, science fiction, spec-fic/paranormal/supernatural, fantasy of any kind, YA, true crime, nonfiction. I’m also pretty full-up on historicals set 1910-1930.

Fun facts about me:

My favorite vegetable is the humble parsnip.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to turnov@sohopress.com

I am open to both agented and unagented submissions. I highly encourage you to be familiar with Soho Crime’s mandate before submitting; I can’t consider things for my list that don’t fall within those parameters.