EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning writer-director James Marsh and producer Chris Coen of Unaninous Entertainment are reteaming for the big-screen adaptation of forthcoming novel The Girl With A Clock For a Heart.

The pair previously worked together on Shadow Dancer.

Peter Swanson’s book, to be published in January 2014 by William Morrow in the US and Faber & Faber in the UK, is a crime thriller about a man whose ex-girlfriend disappears for 10 years and then reappears needing his help.

Coen said: “James and I have been looking for a suitable project to follow the success of Shadow Dancer and I am delighted to have found such a classy thriller. This is very exciting.”

Derby Street Films will co-develop and co-produce.

Book scout Claire Lundberg brought the film to Coen’s attention; Joel Gotler negotiated the rights on behalf of Sobel Weber Associates.

Nicola Horlick’s Derby Street Films have come on board to co-develop and co-produce. She said: “We are delighted to be working with James Marsh, a unique and amazing filmmaker, as well as Unanimous Entertainment on this outstanding commercial thriller.”

Oscar-winner Marsh, who is repped by Independent and CAA, added: “This is exciting material to adapt into a film. The story operates on two interlocking timelines, which makes it veryoriginal, and in the vein of thrillers like Memento and Point Blank.

“It also has a fascinating, mysterious and dangerous female character who already feels iconic and will be very attractive to an actress. I am also looking forward to extending my collaboration with producer Chris Coen and embarking on a creative relationship Derby Street.”