Saturday, 4 April 2020

Cut you Dead: Behind the Scenes Interview

Here's a recent Interview I did for a local book group about Cut you Dead [don’t worry, no spoilers!]:


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Can you tell us, in just one sentence, what Cut you Dead is about? 

It’s a psychological thriller about a serial killer who snips off pieces of women’s hair, then kills them seven days later. Woah – sounds creepy! Tell us about your Lead Character: Samantha Willerby is a feisty, jump-in-at-the-deep-end psychologist, who doesn’t always play by the rules. Readers have said that having a psychologist as the ‘amateur sleuth’ puts a refreshing new slant on police procedurals, where the lead character is often a detective. Sam looks at cases from a different perspective, focusing on ‘why’ and not ‘how’ a serious crime is committed, and putting together pieces of a puzzle that others don’t see.

Sam joins the police in a different way this time, is that right? 

In her last adventure, Perfect Bones, Sam helped the Met catch a killer in a grisly murder case. For Cut you Dead, an author friend of mine suggested I investigate cold cases. I loved this idea! I knew Sam would jump at the chance to try her hand at police profiling. So, in Cut you Dead, the Met bring Sam in to examine a batch of closed murder files to see what she can pick up that everyone else has missed. Using every avenue she can think of, and disobeying direct orders on the way, she starts to uncover a trail of clues that lead her right into the path of the killer.

What sparked the original idea for Cut you Dead? 

While I was mulling over ideas for the book, I came across a BBC podcast about delusional behaviour. As a former psychotherapist, I was fascinated by the case histories described in the programme. One of the oldest involved King Charles VI of France, who believed he was made of glass and who used to dress in reinforced clothing to protect himself. There were recent cases, too, such as the woman who felt she was being pursued by the producer of a reality TV show. It got my brain ticking over and I decided I’d like to write about a serial killer who suffered from some form of grandiose delusion – but not quite in the way you’d expect.

What kind of cold cases does Cut you Dead explore? 

From the list of police cold cases, Sam picks out a couple of murders that show similarities with a recent death police think is accidental. The victims all had pieces of their hair hacked off several days before they were killed. The ‘hair-cutting’ idea arose when I was researching something else on the Internet (browsing the Net is a necessary indulgence for any writer!). I accidentally came across an intriguing court case involving a magistrate’s ruling on a man who cut off a girl's ponytail. The man (an ex-boyfriend) was acquitted at first, as the court came to the conclusion that the hair growing out of a person's head was by its nature dead and therefore couldn’t be harmed. I thought this was outrageous! Anyone who feels their hair is their crowning glory would be devastated to find a chunk of it missing. Thankfully, the High Court overturned the decision on grounds of the emotional damage caused.

What’s new and different about this book? 

Many readers will have come across thrillers where the victim’s hair is cropped off, but in Cut you Dead there’s something different. The hair is not a trophy at the crime scene. To find out exactly what the killer does, you’ll have to read the book! Is it true that there’s a romantic element in the book? I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of readers told me they wanted Sam to finally meet someone – I shall just leave you with that!

Where is the book set and why? 

Cut you Dead is set in the heart of London just after Christmas, when there’s snow and ice on the ground. Sam wants to get into shape, so she takes to the city streets to jog after dark. I love writing about London, it gives me an excuse to revisit it, in all its technicolour pizazz, in my mind! It was also the perfect setting for Cut you Dead; that fabulous combination of crowded places, where a silent perpetrator can slip into the shadows and secluded side streets, and danger can strike out of sight. There’s also the River Thames; majestic and brooding, especially at night-time – and treacherously fast. Sam is probably up against her most devious adversary yet, in this thriller. I found it very gripping to write and I hope you love reading it as much as I loved getting Sam’s story down onto the page!


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Thursday, 2 April 2020

Cut You Dead - OUT NOW! - Extract and Book Trailer

New from AJ Waines:

Only 99/99c 
Find it on Amazon HERE

"Absolutely riveting" - 5 stars

"...brilliant characters and storyline. Wow, just wow!!"  - 5 stars

"I cannot say enough positive things about this novel. It is superbly written and plotted." - 5 stars 

"What a great, tense, nail biting who dunnit kind of book!!" - 5 stars

Here's the Story:

You’ve got seven days… then you’re next

When a young woman falls to her death from a balcony, everyone thinks she lost her balance taking a daredevil selfie – until psychologist, Samantha Willerby, steps onto the scene. Called in by the Met to examine a series of cold cases, she uncovers a chilling link between this death and two others. The victims have one shocking detail in common: their hair was hacked off exactly seven days before they were killed.

When it comes to light that Sam knew one of the victims, she’s determined to break all the rules to track down this calculating serial killer with a terrifying calling card.

But the victims aren’t the only ones being watched. When Sam’s hair is slashed, she knows one thing for certain. She has only seven days before the murderer finishes the job. Can Sam get inside the mind of a ruthless killer before her first profiling case proves to be her last?

An utterly addictive fast-paced crime thriller,
Cut you Dead will have you hooked from the first page. It will appeal to fans of authors such as L.J. Ross, Mark Billingham and Angela Marsons.

Book Trailer: Click HERE to watch it on YouTube:

 Here's a Snippet from Cut You Dead:

It’s crowded in the foyer. Even so, I wish it were busier so I could blend in. I hurry towards the barriers and glance up before I take out my travel pass. Sweat coats the back of my neck. I can’t see you, but that means nothing. You could creep up on me any second; there are so many corners and corridors.

I join the shortest queue at the barrier, but I feel someone right behind me, way too close. I daren’t turn round. Once through the other side, you step beside me. Your hood’s up so I can’t see your face. But, I’m really freaking out now, because it looks like you’ve got something tucked inside your jacket.

Everyone’s pushing past and no one’s seeing what I can see. The glint of metal. Jeez – is that what I think it is?

I join the escalator up ahead, squashing behind an overweight woman. You slip out of my line of sight. Should I call out? Am I being paranoid?

In a sudden movement, I dart to the side and join the flurry of commuters passing those who are standing. I make it to the steps down to the platform, my boots clattering on the stone like cascading skittles. I can hear the train rocketing through the tunnel and feel the suck of air as it approaches.

I need to be on this friggin’ train. I need to get inside and hide before you catch up with me. The wheels grind to a halt and I don’t care that I’m rude, shoving people aside, using my elbows and the edge of my bag to break through the cracks. Instead of using the nearest door, I race further up the platform. I want you to think I’ve doubled back, to faff about and miss your chance.

A woman carrying a small child gives me a dirty look. But I’ve made it. I hurtle through the last set of doors and they swoosh behind me, sealing me inside. I can breathe again. There are no spare seats, it’s a hot and stuffy crush, but I don’t care. I’m on the train – and right now that’s all that matters.

As we pull away, I catch sight of your khaki jacket out there on the platform. You’re speaking to a woman with a toddler and I start to wonder if I’ve got it all wrong...

If you like a creepy, chilling, psychological brain-twister

this one’s got your name on it!

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AJ Waines is a No 1 International Bestelling Author
Over half a million copies sold 
View all books on Amazon

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