Chinchen’s debut horror novel tells the story of an otherworldly terror sweeping across a remote region of Australia.
The Kimberley is a massive West Australian plateau made up of rugged, largely uninhabited land. In 2089, Superintendent Jake McLynn is tasked with policing the scattered settlements in the beautiful but dangerous region. He’s called to one such settlement to investigate a mysterious attack that’s left everyone in the community dead—many with lacerations that look like they were made by animals. At the crime scene, McLynn encounters Maj. Julian Lee, an old comrade from his Special Forces days who now works in Australian military intelligence. Lee has been investigating an unexplained tanker ship that washed up on the Kimberley coast two years ago, its crew missing and a large hole burned through its hull. This may also be related to another incident, almost two decades earlier, in which many people were slaughtered in a remote village in New Guinea; a survivor of that event has since disappeared. The latest attack, meanwhile, could be connected to a cabal whose members meet in secret across Oceania. As more populated regions are threatened, McLynn must do everything in his power to save them. Chinchen writes in a lavish prose style that renders his landscapes in alien hues: “The sun, a dazzling, harsh yellow-white orb in these latitudes, again dominating a cloudless azure sky, a startling vista, almost too bright for the unshaded eye.” The novel offers a wonderful blend of the sci-fi, Western, and mystery genres, with a Lovecraft-ian horror element that’s truly original and unnerving. Fans of each of these categories of books will find things to love in this creepy, sun-soaked Australian detective story. The author also isn’t afraid to let suspense build; the book is about 700 pages long, which gives him plenty of room for moody digressions, but when the reveals do come, they’re worth the wait. Hopefully, Chinchen has more books on the way.
A gripping, original work with plenty of Aussie personality.