AN ex-policeman from Oldswinford has drawn on his experiences in the force to pen his first novel – a gruesome murder mystery.

Someone’s Watching tells the story of a serial killer in Stourbridge, with retired policeman-turned-author Steve Barnbrook using a host of local landmarks to set the scene.

It features an alcoholic police chief, an oddball investigative team and a series of grisly killings of lustful couples, so it’s very much an adult book – and those who are not faint-hearted, at that!

Mr Barnbrook, 60, said: “I’ve used a lot of my forensic background. There are a lot of flaws because no investigation ever goes smooth, mistakes are made.

“It’s a work of fiction but some of the experiences draw on what’s happened during my police career.”

Indeed, Steve has used his near-40 year career as a policeman – starting out in uniform, then up to CID and on to forensics with the British Transport Police – to aid his plotlines.

Father-of-five Steve, who has lived in the town for 35 years now, had a long and varied police career, from working as an undercover football hooligan to a disaster specialist with the BTP.

When there was an attempt on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s life in Brighton in the 1980s, Steve was part of the team sweeping for explosives wherever the PM went.

In his forensics role, he’s worked at major disasters such as plane and train crashes up and down the country, but now he's taken that intricacy of detail into writing.

He added: “I’m a big fan of books, love reading them, love listening books. And I thought ‘as good as the books that I read are, I could write one equally as good’.

“It’s probably taken three or four years in total but, in actual writing time, perhaps only a couple of months, because I’ve put it down for six months at a time and come back to it.”

Landmarks like the Chequers Inn Wetherspoons, Stourbridge College, the police station, the industrial estate and even our very own Stourbridge News are included in the book.

And Steve is already planning a sequel, saying: “I’ve got the ideas in my head and I’ve already written the first chapter.”

Someone’s Watching, priced £8.99, is on sale from Amazon.