A HORROR novel based on the Exmoor Beast is about to hit the shelves – almost 15 years after news of its completion was featured in the County Gazette.

The newspaper included a half-page spread on local author Paul Skinner’s thriller about the beast, called Hunter, on June 10, 1994.

Although the coverage failed to get the book published, Paul said it was enough for him to hang on to his dream of becoming an author and keep the manuscript tucked away in a safe place.

Some 15 years later he found the draft and started work on it again, spurred on by fresh sightings of the roaming beast.

Now Paul says his dream has finally been realised as his chilling horror novel goes on sale in a fortnight.

He told the County Gazette: “I am no longer a carpenter by job role – now I own and run a school and care homes, and can afford to promote this novel and get it published as it deserved.

“My hope is to create even more mystery and notoriety about Exmoor so that tourists come looking for the Exmoor Beast.

“I feel the book can make the moors even more of a tourist attraction.”

He added: “Hunter tells a story about ordinary people who live in Porlock, Taunton and the little villages around and on the moor.”

The book follows the tale of ex-Royal Marine Commando Hunter whose son disappears from the moors.

During the search for him, both Hunter and his wife Jenny encounter a mythical monster like no other.

A book launch will be held in Taunton next month.

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