A serial killer who stalks the streets of Worthing is on the loose in a new book written by a local teenager.
The Killing Chain: The Midnight Murders tells the tale of troubled Detective Inspector James Heller and his colleague Greg Cowper, who are on the hunt for a murderer that kills women in various locations around Worthing, including under the pier.
It is the brainchild of 17-year-old Ashley Evans from The Strand, Goring, who self-published his book via Kindle Direct Publishing on December 15 with a front cover designed by his girlfriend, photography student Megan Tarry.
He has already sold dozens of copies and made more than £100 in royalties from the book, which took him only a few months to write. He said: “I just thought ‘what the heck, I’ll go for it’; I didn’t know where it would lead. It is a good feeling to hold your own book that you wrote.
“If I wasn’t living with my girlfriend I probably wouldn’t have finished writing it, but now I have seen it in print I want to do the next one.”
The killings begin in Clapham Woods, where a mutilated corpse is found. Similarly butchered bodies then begin cropping up around the town, including in Field Row, under Worthing Pier, and a naked body is found hanging from a tree in Homefield Park.
Born in Worthing, Ashley chose his home town for the setting of his novel because it is ‘easier to imagine’: “If I was going to write about somewhere like London, it would be very difficult to picture some of the places.”
Ashley, who has had an interest in serial killers since he was 10, took inspiration from Jack the Ripper for this book.
He said: “I just found them fascinating; the different methods they use and how they get away with it. Jack the Ripper I find most interesting in the way he appeared and disappeared, and that there are several people it could be.”
Since publishing the book, a reader asked Ashley to sign their copy and another, who is a police officer, offered to help him research his future novels.
The next book, ‘The Butcher of Brighton’, will begin with a body being discovered when Teville Gate is demolished. He has nine more books planned in The Killing Chain series, including ‘The Sussex Stranglers’, inspired by the Moors Murderers, ‘The Motorway Mutilator’ and ‘The Gatwick Plot’, based on terrorism.
With the sequel due to be finished in January, Ashley’s writing career looks set to take off – but if he cannot make it as an author of murderous tales, his back-up career choice would be fighting crime as a police officer.
The book costs £4.99, click here to buy.