The Woman Alone: Christopher Chinchilla

Right, so this review starts with a small apology, I’ve been meaning to get this review of a lovely novella up for a little while now but have just not got round to it. It all started with a rather late night out and a cracking headache the next day, I came home and fell asleep on the sofa; skills. After that my sleeping pattern was so disturbed that I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to regain a sense of normality. Writing reviews just doesn’t happen when you can barely keep your eyes open. So, apologies to Chris, it’s finally here! Enjoy!

A plague is sweeping the Kenyan savannahs—a plague that affects only the mighty giraffes. Across the plains, they are simply lying down to sleep…and never waking up. Kenya’s president has called in Susan, the world’s premiere exotic veterinarian, to investigate the plague’s origin and save the giraffes. What Susan discovers is more shocking than she could have imagined. A “dark man” has also arrived in the savannahs; where he goes, giraffes lie dying or dead. And he wants Susan to come after him. In a race against time, and with two mysterious allies at her side, Susan seeks out this “dark man,” hoping to uncover his plot and prevent the extinction of the giraffe. But saving the majestic creatures may require more than she can possibly give…

First things first I really like the cover; the photograph is stunningly beautiful and I like that it actually fits with the book. I’m working on a post that discusses covers and the importance of them. Recently I have read so many books where the cover doesn’t even loosely match the content and it seems just a little nonsensical. I would be very happy to buy a real copy just to have it sat proudly on my shelf. The storyline is action packed and exciting; following Susan as she seeks out the reason behind this terrible plague, the storyline is strong and consistent keeping the reader on the edge of their seat throughout. The plot deepens with the inclusion of the ‘dark man’ a mysterious figure that is running riot and the author plays with this to add suspense throughout.

This book is the perfect length; I love novellas, the action is quick and moves fast and strongly pulling the reader into the storyline because it is a ‘shorter’ novel. Sometimes this means the characters become weak or aren’t explored properly. Here, however, the novella focuses on a smaller set of characters so you really get to know them. Susan is strong, gutsy, powerful and incredibly passionate; I honestly fell in love with her from the very first page. The book really focuses on her as a character and it means that by the end I was incredibly sad to be at the end, it felt almost like I knew her, because of how invested the plot is in her character.

Recently I’ve been a little disappointed with the descriptions of some of the books I’ve been reading. They’ve been focused more on getting the action in rather than describing it meaning I’m not really investing in the plot. However Chris is so good at taking the reader and putting them in a completely new location read this; a deadly blade roared to life and sliced into the night, its tornado raging at the nearby trees and bowing their bodies in deference as it rose its mass into the star-dusted sky and turned toward the direction from which the Jeep had come, toward a dead beast and toward its murderer on the coast, the woman alone at the machine’s controls.’ It’s so nice to have an author focus on the writing and fleshing out of the storyline. This might seem silly, but the author is really good at describing the giraffes. Yes, we all know what a giraffe is but the way these lumbering beautiful giants are described brings the action right too you! It’s obviously pivotal to the plot but the author really works hard to bring the animals to life.

I really loved the punch this novella packed into its pages; strong and gutsy with beautiful descriptions and a powerful female main character this is a book not to miss!

Christopher Chinchilla grew up in Southern California’s Antelope Valley. He served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and traveled throughout the United States and abroad. Afterward he became a student of literature and philosophy. He began writing in 2013, and his short stories have been published in the East Jasmine Review and Fabula Argentea Magazine. After several short stories, Christopher branched out and wrote his first novella, The Woman Alone, a passionate adventure set in the savannahs of Kenya. He’s currently writing his second novella, and first novel. Christopher divides his time between volunteering as an architecture docent at the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, working for a charter high school, and writing fiction. He lives in the Antelope Valley with his fiancée, Tritia, and their dogs, Jake, Porthos, and Lady Belmont.


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