You know a book must be pretty good if a major studio acquires the rights to develop a film adaptation; even better if that book isn’t even hitting shelves for another year. Such is the case with J.P. Delaney’s upcoming novel The Girl Before, which was not only acquired by Universal, but has also attracted Ron Howard to the director’s chair.

Deadline reports that Howard has signed on to direct the adaptation of The Girl Before, based on Delaney’s novel which will be published by Ballantine Bantam Dell Random House in fall 2016. Universal secured the rights following a bit of a bidding war between the studio and competitors Paramount, Tri Star and two unnamed indie production banners.

Rumors suggest that the book was actually written by acclaimed, bestselling author Tony Strong under the pseudonym J.P. Delaney, which may have also fueled the intense bidding war.

The Girl Before tells the story of a woman who survives a traumatic experience and discovers a beautiful minimalist house, falling in love with both the home and the man who designed it. Soon after she makes an unfortunate discovery about an emotionally troubled woman who died there three years before, inspiring her to wonder if she’ll be next. The psychological thriller has been described as “Hitchcockian,” offering an examination of dark obsession and a story that takes several twists and turns.

Howard’s next film is In the Heart of the Sea, based on the real-life harrowing drama described in Nathaniel Philbrick’s book. That film arrives on December 11.