A CHARD author will be signing copies of his debut crime thriller in the town centre next week.

Gary Sweetland will be at Tesco on Friday, February 16, from 9am to 2pm with copies of his first book, Narcissus, published last year.

Narcissus is the first book of a trilogy based on a detective trying to find a stolen Caravaggio painting rumoured to have resurfaced in London.

Mr Sweetland said: “The previous book signing on the lead up to Christmas was well attended with numerous people purchasing signed copies of Narcissus for themselves and as presents for friends and family.

“It was a great success in terms of promoting my book locally, spreading the word about a local author's first published work, and generating a local profile.

Chard & Ilminster News: Mr Sweetland at the previous book signing eventMr Sweetland at the previous book signing event (Image: Contributed)

“The launch party back in October last year was well supported by 75+ people.

“A great evening was had by all and it laid the foundations for promoting Narcissus in my hometown.

“Since the launch event and several other book signings over the last few months, Narcissus has received a really positive response not only locally but from further afield with reviews from Europe and beyond.

“All current reviews on Amazon are five stars. I am regularly stopped in the High Street by someone wishing to congratulate me on my debut release.

“Wednesday (February 7), I returned from London after three days of research for book two of the trilogy.

“I am currently halfway through the first draft of book two, which I hope to deliver to the publisher for an October release this year.”

Presenting his book last year, Mr Sweetland said: “When a stolen Caravaggio painting is rumoured to have resurfaced in London, DCI Tate Randall of the Arts and Antiquities Investigation Department is tasked with locating and recovering the artwork.

“When a number of potential buyers are found murdered and their corpses mysteriously posed, the case takes an expected turn and Tate must confront the skeletons of his past and recover the stolen artwork before the Narcissus claims another victim.”

Both hardback and paperback copies will be available at a reduced cover price at the event on February 16.