AJ Waines has kindly provided me with an extract to her book ‘The Evil Beneath’.
About the book
The Evil Beneath went to No 1 in ‘Serial Killers’ in UK Kindle Charts and, in March 2015, to No 1 in the entire Australian Kindle Charts.
There’s a body in the water – and she’s wearing your clothes…
Impulsive and intrepid psychotherapist, Juliet Grey, can’t resist responding to an anonymous text message telling her to go to Hammersmith Bridge at dawn. But it isn’t simply the dead body in the water that disturbs her, it’s the way something uniquely personal to Juliet has been left on the corpse.
Another obscure message – another London bridge – and Juliet finds herself caught up with a serial killer, who leaves personal mementos instead of collecting trophies.
Teaming up with local detective, DCI Brad Madison, Juliet strives to find out why she has been targeted and how it’s connected to the accident that killed her brother, nineteen years ago.
Can Juliet use her knowledge of the human psyche to get inside the mind of the killer, before another body is found under a bridge? And how long before Juliet herself becomes the next target?
Sunday, September 20th
She had been lying there, facedown in the water long before the tide had turned at 3.04 that morning. Her eyes were staring into the river, her blonde hair first fanning out, then drawing back under her head with the wash of the water, like a pulsating jellyfish. The belt of her raincoat was caught on the branches of an overhanging tree and she’d been hooked, destined to forever flap against the corner of the broken pier with outstretched arms. She wasn’t going anywhere now; she was simply bobbing up and down with the rhythm of the water – and she hadn’t blinked in a long while.
A male jogger came down the ramp from the main road and ran straight past her. Then a cyclist dipped under the bridge and pedalled at speed with his head down. He, too, passed the bundle tucked under the tree without noticing it. But by 7.15am, the creeping sunrise was opening up the scene for all to see.
Her arms were held away from her body forming the shape of a cross on the water and tiny pieces of weed and broken twigs were caught up in her hair, making her head look like the beginnings of a bird’s nest.
An old man with a poodle stopped to stare at the sodden shape in the water, then a woman who had been power-walking joined them, followed by a couple with their arms around each other. Another cyclist, older and slower than the first, joined them. He was the boldest of the group so far. He was wearing black lycra shorts and without taking off his trainers, he began to wade into the river.
In the distance, standing on Hammersmith Bridge, someone was starting to feel pleased with themselves. From that position, you didn’t need the binoculars to see a group was starting to form at the water’s edge. Where was everybody coming from so early on a Sunday morning? It was like watching wasps gather around a spoonful of raspberry jam.
The cyclist went up to his thighs in the water, getting within a few feet of the body and then turned around shaking his head. He was shouting something to the woman who had been power-walking and she began reaching into her backpack.
The woman’s legs were sticking out from beneath the gabardine. They were covered in purple striped tights and she was still wearing both ankle boots. Everything looked intact.
No one would notice the binoculars now trained towards the towpath. She had to arrive at the scene any time now, to get a good view, before the body was bagged up and taken away by the river police.
Take your time, came a whisper from the bridge, we need a certain person to get here before the police tidy everything away.
Another woman, who seemed to have come from nowhere, doubled over and rested her hand against the tree. Someone put their arm around her. You couldn’t tell from this distance if she’d been sick.
Then she was there. The chosen one. On her own, walking tentatively towards the water. She’d got the message and she’d responded. All was well with the world. How long would it take her before she realised? Before the shit hit the fan. That was a good image; it had the ring of old Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Was it worth waiting around for that moment or not? She might not make the connection straight away. Some people’s brains didn’t work as fast as others.
There was a sound of a siren. An ambulance and a squad car pulled up and in a flash, she was lost in the tight little gathering. No point hanging around. The show was over, but the party was just beginning.
An eye for an eye; that’s how the saying went. Proper punishment where it was due. And this was going to be one hell of a payback.
Strains of idle humming came from the bridge. It was time to start dreaming of fried eggs and two pieces of toast – and perhaps even some beans on the side. Wasn’t that justified?
About the Author
AJ Waines writes Psychological Thrillers. She has an Agent and book deals in France and Germany. As a former Psychotherapist working with ex-offenders from high-security institutions, she has come face to face with the criminal mind. Her first two stand-alone novels, THE EVIL BENEATH and GIRL ON A TRAIN, feature strong intrepid women in modern, grizzly London settings.