Weird Wild is the debut collection of short stories written by my fellow NaNoWriMo-er and writing buddy Geraldine Clark Hellery. It consists of several linked short stories and a couple of poems set in the fictional Foundry Forest,located somewhere in the UK. The forest is surrounded by legend and superstition. Those who emerge into the depths of the forest may never be seen again – or at least not as they were when they went in.
The stories are delightfully creepy. This is not a book to read alone on a dark night! Most of them end on a note of suspense leaving the reader wanting more. Each story stands alone but there are moments within several which link back to other stories in the collection. This pulls the book together as a cohesive whole. The mix of styles and genres, incorporating elements of thriller and fantasy works well on the whole. The descriptions of the wood are wonderfully vivid and rich, beautifully capturing the eeriness of the setting.
This is not genre which usually appeals to me. Despite this, I found it a very enjoyable read. My least favourite story was ‘The Mountain’. I wasn’t keen on the radio transmission style of this story. I also felt ‘The Swamp’ didn’t fit quite so well into the collection. Its ‘recipe’ style made it stand apart from the other stories and the poems. The idea of the ‘mudd baby’ in this also didn’t seem to have as much of a link with the other pieces in the book.
My favourite stories were ‘The Bridge’ and ‘The Lookout Point’. I loved the characterisation of the trolls in ‘The Bridge’. The descriptions of them were so vivid and their voices so distinctive. I felt the creepiness and horror building up in ‘The Lookout Point’ as two friends travelled further and further into the woods. The suspense built up beautifully in this tale. This story linked beautifully with the poem ‘The Dragon Tree’ which I also enjoyed. I felt a sense of pity for the dragon towards the end of both of these pieces.
The final story in the book ‘Back to the Campsite’ rounded off the collection perfectly. Its link back to the first story helped give a real sense of completion to the book.
Overall, a deliciously creepy set of stories and a very enjoyable read.