HAVE I discovered North Yorkshire’s answer to Stephen King? Harrogate-born Steve Emmett’s debut novel kept me on the edge of my seat. I haven’t read a horror book in years, but this first offering from Steve had me finding every excuse to pick up his book as often as possible.

They say write what you know about for that first book: and in a way that’s exactly what Steve has done. For more than 20 years, the former architect ran his own real estate agency, specialising in Italian country homes. For almost ten years he lived by Lake Trasimene in Umbria.

And lo and behold, the setting of Diavolino is a fictional island in Italy’s most beautiful lake: and the hero is an architect, Tom Lupton.

Steve knows what he writes about as he sets up the story, therefore, effortlessly creating the scene within the reader’s mind.

The author grew up on Dennis Wheatley novels and Hammer horror films: and there’s more than a little of the Wheatley/ Hammer DNA in this debut.

Architect Lupton heads out to the ill-fated island of Diavolino – a private island in Italy’s most beautiful lake – to design a dream home for a wealthy client. He brings along his wife and small daughter: a recipe for trouble in what turns out to be a fight between dark and light. Because the island has a terrible history that no-one cares to remember – and as the locals’ opposition to Tom grows, so does a brooding evil.

The novel moves between the island of Diavolino, Venice, London, Rome and then back to the island. The plot hurtles along, twisting and turning as new characters are introduced and the fight between good and evil grows ever more tense.

Steve began the novel back in 2008. I only hope that it won’t be that long until his second hits the shelves.

• Steve Emmett will be at Waterstone’s in York from 10.30am next Saturday to sign copies of his book. You can find further details about author and book on at steve-emmett.com