Is the killer on the loose…or standing right beside you?
I am delighted today to be joining A.J. Waines and Bloodhound Books on tour with Perfect Bones, just published on the 8th November.
Perfect Bones is the third book in the Samantha Willerby series and is described as ‘a tense and creepy psychological thriller that will send your pulse racing.’
I am delighted to bring you all a fantastic guest post from A.J. Waines entitled ‘Psychological Research for the Thriller’
NOTE: Perfect Bones can easily be read as a stand-alone novel and will appeal to fans of authors like Nicci French, Mark Edwards and Lisa Gardner.
About the Book
Is the killer on the loose…or standing right beside you?
When art student, Aiden Blake, witnesses a gruesome attack on a London towpath, the police need him to identify the assailant without delay. But there’s a problem: refusing to leave his canal boat and traumatised by the shock, Aiden is rendered mute by the horror of the event and can’t speak to anyone.
In a desperate bid to gain vital information before Aiden’s memories fade, The Met call in Clinical Psychologist and trauma expert, Dr Samantha Willerby, giving her only seven days to get a result. When Aiden finally starts to communicate through his art, however, the images he produces are not what anyone expects and before Sam can make sense of them, another murder takes place.
With her professional skills stretched to the limit and the clock ticking, Sam strives to track down a killer who is as clever as she is – someone who always manages to stay one step ahead.
Purchase Link ~ Perfect Bones
Psychological Research for the Thriller
by A.J. Waines
As a former psychotherapist, it’s second nature for me to turn to disorders and unusual patterns of behaviour when writing my thrillers! In Perfect Bones, one of the key characters, Aiden Blake, a sensitive young artist, doesn’t say a word. He is the sole witness to a horrific attack near his canal boat which renders him mute.
Here’s a short extract from the story:
Aiden was up when I got back, standing by the washing machine in his bare feet staring at nothing in particular, his eyelashes flickering constantly. He’d boiled a kettle and was now filling two mugs, though his hand was shaking so much that the boiling water splashed onto the surface and dribbled down the door of the cupboard.
I didn’t make a sound, I simply reached for a cloth and mopped up the mess.
His hair was awry and his shirt was half-tucked into his jeans. Jessica’s description of him came into my mind. A young man with panache and verve. Here and now, he looked positively wretched, more like someone living on the streets.
‘Bad start this morning?’ I asked, giving him the hint of a sad smile.
Aiden looked perplexed, biting his lip and breathing hard, like he was desperately grappling with a complex mathematical calculation. He was expecting, like we all do, to have a thought and translate it instantly into words, but no sounds were coming out. The skin crumpled between his eyebrows.
I became aware again, in that moment, of the potential hornet’s nest I’d been brought into. I’d been given seven days to give the police the information they wanted and time was fast running out.
I loved the idea of trying to write a novel in which one of the main characters never speaks! In the story, this stems from traumatic mutism. I often write about Post Traumatic Stress, as it’s an area I have experience in as a therapist, plus it’s frequently associated with crime. I’ve never, however, come across a real-life patient where a trauma has manifested in the inability to talk. It is very rare, especially in adults.
In Perfect Bones, The Met want Aiden to give them a description of the attacker, as it’s clear from the crime scene that the culprit came right up to a boat where Aiden was standing. He saw everything. Not only does Aiden not speak, but in the early stages of the book, he’s unable to communicate at all. He’s closed down and in shock. It was quite a challenge as an author to convey interactions without the usual social signals we all use every day – speech, smiles, waves, nods, shrugs, shakes of the head, for instance. I also wanted to show the frustrating impact this would have on those around Aiden – those who are desperate for information they knew he could give them!
Psychologist, Samantha Willerby, is brought in as an expert in art therapy with traumatised patients. This is another area I’m fascinated in; using images in therapy – drawings, sketches or even describing emotions using metaphors. To give you an example, I once had a client who had a dreadful relationship with his mother. Instead of ‘talking about’ it, I asked him to ‘draw’ the relationship. He drew a tiny stick person for himself and a huge brick on top of him to represent his mother! That said a lot! We were then able to work with the image itself to work towards change: what would it be like to step out from under the brick? How could that happen? – and so on.
During the unfolding of Perfect Bones, Sam coaxes Aiden into drawing the crime scene. The police give her seven days (after which his memory of the attacker is likely to be sketchy, at best). With the clock ticking, eventually Aiden does draw a picture – but it’s not what anyone expects. But Sam refuses to give up and gets closer and closer to the truth until she’s finally driven into the terrifying path of the killer, herself. Then she has to ask the million-dollar question: Is the killer on the loose…or standing right beside me?
For those of you who may be interested in mutism, here are a few facts:
Most mutism is called ‘selective’ mutism. This means they are able to speak in some situations (such as within the family), but unable to speak in other social situations, such as at school.
The incidence of selective mutism is rare, commonly estimated to be 1 in 1000.
Selective mutism appears to be more common in girls than in boys
A.J. Waines is a number one bestselling author, topping the entire UK and Australian Kindle Charts in two consecutive years, with Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, the author has sold nearly half a million copies of her books, with publishing deals in UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and Canada (audio books).
Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries.
A.J. Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and has been ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband.
Social Media Links:
All Books: http://viewauthor.at/AJWaines
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AJWaines @AJWaines