DARK WINDS OVER WELLINGTON
By Tabatha Wood
*This review first appeared on Dead Head Reviews*
The subtitle to this collection is Chilling Tales of the Weird & the Strange; I find this quite appropriate, because – despite its elements of horror – these stories mostly tell of odd things, not necessarily terrors. There’s not a lot of violence, for example (though it does exist). Tabatha keeps the content fairly mild, which should make it more accessible to a variety of readers. In other words, you don’t have to be a horror veteran (or even fan) to enter this collection and enjoy it from start to finish.
Inspired by local legend and folklore, Tabatha has set this collection in her current home capital of Wellington, New Zealand. I found it wonderfully refreshing and interesting that every one of these thirteen stories take place somewhere in the same community. Even better is the fact that a few of the entries even directly connect in small ways, such as “A Good Cup of Coffee” and “The Things You See,” both of which deal in the secrets of the Beehive.
Now, with any collection, it is to be expected you won’t like every single entry available. That being said, I only shrugged off two of the stories included here. Though conceptually written to be conversation-restricted, “Mongrel” didn’t leave any sort of an impression on me (story-wise); and “Second Chances” read differently than Tabatha’s other work, almost like it was written by someone else. I just wasn’t interested in the narration or the story.
Aside from these two entries, I just loved Dark Winds Over Wellington. Of my favorites, “A Good Cup of Coffee” is a strange and humorously observant way to get people on or off coffee, depending on how much you wish to see of the world; “Fake Meat” has some scenes that screamed current events, such as people price gouging face masks; “Choices” was emotional and expertly dramatic; “Neighbourly” was weird and full of possibilities; and “Whispers” practically begs to be turned into a full-length novel of epic proportions.
Tabatha Wood is not only a great writer, but a creator fueled by a wonderfully odd and stimulating imagination. Dark Winds Over Wellington brings both the terror and heart necessary to create a compelling collection.