Sam Hayes is the author of four real-life fiction titles for Headline: Blood Ties,
Unspoken, Tell Tale and Someone Else’s Son. She takes ordinary families and puts
them through immense emotional and psychological strain, making her novels
uncomfortable yet compelling reads. Her emotional thrillers are perfect for
fans of Sophie Hannah, Nicci French, Minette Walters, Susan Lewis, Belinda
Bauer and Erin Kelly.
If you want to be challenged, terrified and exhilarated then her latest book
Someone Else’s Son delivers on all three accounts. As in her previous novels,
the drama revolves around a moral question, in this case “Do we ever really
know our children?”
‘What would you do if your teenage son was stabbed to death at school?’ That’s a
question chat-show host Carrie Kent can well imagine posing to any one of her
studio guests. Her daily morning TV show deals with real life in all it’s grubby glory
- from underage sex to benefit swindlers, cheating partners to DNA testing. It’s a
million miles away from her perfect, polished existence. But when she gets a call to
say that her beloved son Max has been murdered, Carrie and her ex-husband Brody
will have to enter a world of poverty, fear and violence if they want to find out what
really happened. And when the shocking truth is finally revealed, will they be able
to live with it...?
Read on for an exclusive extract
Someone Else’s Son is published in hardback on 14th October
Get your hands on a copy here
To find out more about Sam Hayes check out her website
Before she knew what was happening, the knife was in and out
of his body. Over and over, sinking deep. It cut through the air,
mesmerising them, slowing their lives, condensing everything to
the beautiful moments just before it happened, just before it
entered him, just before their worlds changed for ever.
She didn’t know how to make it stop; couldn’t make it stop.
They stared at each other one last time. A love affair packed
into a second. Blood flowed between them.What was he telling
‘Fucking twist,’ one of the youths yelled, already running.
They danced on brilliant trainers; a pack fleeing. Their shiny
tracksuit bottoms dragged in the puddles; their liquid eyes
gleamed from adrenalin, drugs, alcohol – any fuel for their fire.
The vinegar from the chips still stung her lips. Slow motion,
he dropped to his knees, then his body folded to the ground. She
couldn’t believe he’d stood this long. She tried to catch him.
His head hit the tarmac. She screamed but nothing came out.
His eyes bulged.
She pressed her hand to his ribs, his stomach, but there were
too many holes. Scalding blood flowed between her fingers,
although she could already feel it cooling.
‘Don’t die,’ she sobbed, dropping her head on to his body.
Where was everyone? ‘Help me!’ she screamed. All in class. No
one else bunking off today. ‘I’ll get help,’ she said frantically, not
daring to take her hands off his wounds. How had it come to
His chest suddenly heaved up with a bubbling wheeze before
it collapsed again, as if it was the last breath he would ever take.
Otherwise, he didn’t make a sound.
‘Help! ’ she cried again, scrambling to her feet. She had to do
something. She spun around, desperately looking for someone,
anyone.All she saw were the blank faces of the ugly buildings, the
empty school grounds – a desolate wasteland. She pulled her
phone from her pocket. She dialled 999. Gave details. Screamed
for them to hurry. He was dying. Please be quick.
‘Don’t leave me,’ she begged. She was beside him again,
applying pressure as the operator had instructed. His expression
was blank, empty, staring – not even showing any pain. It was so
far removed from just ten minutes ago when they’d shared a joint
and a tray of chips.
‘I can’t live without you,’ she cried, thinking of everything.
She couldn’t do it alone.Tears fell from her face and melted into
his blood. ‘I won’t live without you.’ The sobs burst from deep
inside. Spit and phlegm, tears and blood choked her words.
‘Bastards,’ she screamed out.
‘Stay with me. Stay with me,’ she said, panting, rocking, pressing.
Where was the ambulance? She tried to pull herself together,
scanning through the fragmented memories of the first-aid
classes she’d taken last year. Quick-fire revision for a real-life
exam no one wanted to take. ‘OK, OK.’ She helped herself first.
She was no good to him in a panic. She fought hard to keep the
shots of breath down. She would pass out if they got any faster.
What had she done?
‘Shock,’ she whispered, refusing to think of it now. Quickly,
she let go of the wound on his side and pulled her arms from her
jacket. Her limbs shook as she struggled free, draping the coat
over him. He was shaking every few seconds – a deep vibration
that she felt resonating up through her arms and straight into her
She’d never told him that she loved him.
She saw the pool of blood, dark as death, seeping through the
coat at the same time the siren reached out to her.
‘Oh, thank God,’ she cried. ‘The ambulance is coming. Please
don’t die.’ Her arms shook from the strain of clamping his
wounds. She was leaning on him, her left forearm tracking a
series of deep bleeds while her right arm took care of several
more under his ribs.
Suddenly, she heard voices, all around her.
‘Young male, about sixteen, seventeen . . . multiple stab
wounds to the chest and abdomen.Major blood loss, blow to the
head . . . BP falling, pulse weak . . .’
She heard all these things as she was prised out of the way.
‘Fifteen,’ she whispered from the periphery of the scene, but no
one heard. ‘He’s fifteen.’
‘What’s going on?’ a male voice suddenly snapped at her.Was
she in shock too? She couldn’t move. A hand fixed round her
arm. ‘Jesus Christ, tell me what’s happened, girl.’ He yanked
her round, their faces close. Then he was on his phone, calling
for people to come, calling for more help, gripping her as if she
was getting a telling-off for bunking lessons. ‘Jack, it’s serious.
Get down here now,’ he barked into his phone.
She looked up at him. Mr Denton. Her maths teacher.
‘Well?’ He shook her. His face was red.
‘I . . . I don’t know,’ she whispered. ‘I was coming back from
the sports centre and . . . and I just found him lying here all
messed up.’ She swallowed. Her mouth was dry.What was she
supposed to tell him?
How could she tell anyone?
Her entire body shook. She stared down at the blood-soaked
ground. He had help now, and that was all that mattered, wasn’t
it? She’d say she didn’t know what happened, that she’d had
nothing to do with it. She would just go home, call the hospital
later to see how he was. It would all be OK. Not as bad as it
‘Did you see anything? A fight? Was anyone else around?
She shook her head. She saw the stretcher being lifted away,
sealed inside the ambulance.
‘Fucking hell,’ someone said. Another screamed at the blood
clotting on the ground. Hands clapped over mouths, eyes wide,
people gathering and gawping.
She looked up.The headmaster was striding across the school
grounds towards the mayhem. The buildings – our ship, as he
called it in assembly – had faces crammed at every window.
Pupils and staff spilt out on to the far end of the rectangle of
dull tarmac that caged twelve hundred teenagers during midmorning
break and lunchtime.
Police swarmed through the school gates.They raced down to
where he had dropped, gauging the blood, the denim jacket, the
spread of chips, as if that would tell them exactly what had
happened. They took control. Everyone was ushered back.
Somehow, Mr Denton let go of her arm; somehow, she got
swallowed up by the crush of students, teachers, people off the
street, and somehow she managed to slip out of the school
grounds without anyone knowing she’d gone.
She reckoned, as she ran and ran, that it was all going to be