According to Variety, New Line Cinema is hoping that Mark Burnell's novel "The Rhythm Section" will be the start of a new female thriller franchise for the studio. The studio has pacted with Brit author Burnell to adapt his own book, which is the first in a planned series of six novels about the femme assassin Stephanie Patrick.

The fourth installment, "The Third Woman," is due for publication this fall.

"The Rhythm Section" begins with the heroine working as a Soho prostitute, having fallen into drugs and drink after the death of her family in an aircrash.

When she discovers that the crash was no accident, but an act of terrorism, she is jolted out of her downward spiral and recruited by a shadowy branch of the intelligence services to track down the killers. But her quest for revenge also becomes a way to rediscover her own humanity.

New Line exec VP Mark Ordesky, who is shepherding the project with senior vp of European production Ileen Maisel, describes "Rhythm Section" as "female 'Bourne Identity."

"What's exciting is not just launching this franchise, but also the talent discovery of Mark Burnell," Ordesky says. "We really feel he's someone who's doing to develop into something quite extraordinary."