AKESFELD is a small, quiet town, where nothing much happens.

That is until new arrival Jack Hunter turns up; a charismatic stranger who has a way with words and insists that he will bring change to the town.

When Dean Naysmith, a local wheeler dealer, unwittingly becomes Jack’s pawn, his game begins.

As a violent storm lashes down on Akesfeld, the only road into the town is flooded, cutting it off from the outside world. With many of the town’s residents beginning to succumb to Jack’s persuasive charm, letting their darkest thoughts and emotions take control, the body count starts to rise.

Only John Fowler, a local freelance writer who has just returned from his travels, realises that Jack is at the root of the town’s nightmare and sets out to try and stop him before all hell breaks loose. But is it already too late?

Described as a dark thriller, with a supernatural twist, Hunter is the second novel by John D Ashton, who is from Wakefield and recently relocated to the Bradford district.

“I began working on Hunter while I was in the process of getting my début novel, Crystal Castle, published at the end of 2016,” says John. “As that was a fantasy story, I wanted to write something completely different, and came up with the idea of having evil focusing in on a small isolated town. Hunter is ultimately a thriller, but has supernatural elements laced throughout and could be classed under horror. The villain of the story, Jack Hunter, is one of those suave, charismatic bad guys who, despite being pure evil, is actually a breath of fresh air to write.

“I think creating a good villain gives you complete freedom as a writer; it becomes a joy to actually mould their personality and dialogue. Writers who claim that their views and opinions never seep into their writing are lying to themselves because it does, and to be honest, it’s a great way to exorcise some demons.

“It’s also a fantastic, almost therapeutic way to run wild if you want to get something off your chest!”

John went travelling early last year and used the time to focus his efforts on writing his second novel.

“Along with multiple full edits, it has basically taken over a year to construct,” he says. “I’m proud of Hunter, it’s the very best work that I can produce right now. The feedback I have received so far has been extremely positive and I’m grateful to those who have supported me in their response and purchases.”

Now John is working on several short stories for an anthology, and has just completed his third novel, an as yet untitled “full-on horror story”.

“I’ve always wanted to see the definitive haunted house film, and as I’m unlikely to get involved in the movie business, I decided the next best thing to do was to write it,” he says. “It’s proving harder than I thought, but I’m having a blast.”

* Hunter is available in paperback and Kindle formats at amazon.co.uk/John-D.-Ashton/e/B01M6BPIPV