First published back in June of 2014, extreme horror author Matt Shaw’s novel ‘Rotting Dead F*cks’ was released under the author’s signature ‘Black Cover’ series.  The novel was later followed up with the sequel ‘Rotting Living F*cks’ (2016).  Shaw also published an additional standalone short story ‘Ted’ (2015), which provided further insight into the much loved and hated antagonist from this book.

DLS Synopsis:
No one seemed to know how or why it happened.  Although if truth be told, such reasons didn’t really matter all that much.  The fact that the dead were walking around and chomping on the flesh of the living was the more pressing concern.

Ted had just finished his session with his psychiatrist, Dr Veronica Platt, when the dead started attacking the living.  All of a sudden everyone was panicking.  They were shouting to lock the doors.  For all of them to say within the confines of the building.

There was no chance Ted was doing that.  He had no intention to stay cooped up in the psychiatrist offices with any of them.  So, before anyone could stop him, Ted had forced his way out of the reception doors and was racing down the street.

For the eleven of them left in the building, the idea of following him terrified them.  The television was reporting scenes of utter mayhem.  Hordes of the undead were surging through the streets, attacking anyone they stumbled across, ripping at their flesh before consuming their bloody prizes.

Dr Platt wasn’t exactly disappointed that Ted had abandoned them.  He’d been coming to see her to discuss his unbalanced anger issues for some time, and she’d been getting increasingly concerned with the violent fantasies he’d brag about having each time.  Not having this unstable deviant holed-up in the small offices with them wasn’t exactly a bad thing.

However, when Ted finally realised the full extent of the predicament the world was facing, his reaction was very different form everyone else’s.  Ted was relishing the freedom of this new world.  Finally, he could do what he wanted, without the fear of repercussions.  For Ted, it was time to have some fun.

Elsewhere, single parent Michael’s only concern was for his seven-year-old daughter’s safety.  Nicola was everything to him.  Only two weeks ago his wife, Victoria, had passed away.  Now he was all she had left.  And Michael would do whatever it took to keep her safe.

It’s a dog-eat-dog new world.  Within hours of the outbreak, everyone’s mental and physical strength will be put to the test.  However, it’s not necessarily the strongest or the smartest who will make it through those first couple of days.  Instead, as each survivor will find out the hard way, it’s become survival of the sickest…

DLS Review:
What happens when extreme horror author Matt Shaw pens a zombie apocalypse story?  Well, you know one thing for sure, it isn’t going to be your run-of-the-mill zombie tale.  This shit’s gonna get messy.

The opening chapter of the story tells you everything about the level of vileness Shaw’s willing to plummet with his tale.  Remember the infamous undead blowjob with the maggoty ejaculation in Shaun Hutson’s novel ‘Assassin’ (1988)?  Well, that shit’s a walk in the park compared to this.  We’re talking some properly messed up depravity here.  And that’s literally just the opening chapter.

In essence what the story delivers is the first two days of the zombie outbreak.  Here we follow a few different key survivors – namely, the psychotic Ted, his psychiatrist Dr Veronica Platt, devoted single-parent Michael and his young daughter Nicola.  All of their paths cross at some point or other, although until then the narrative jumps between each one of these characters or groups, providing a broader picture of the fucked-up state of affairs.

There are several other characters thrown into the mix.  These are all far less important to the plot, and usually end with these secondary characters becoming zombie chow before long.

However, where the real extreme horror can be found is with Ted.  He’s the sicko of the tale.  A complete and utter psycho, who quickly realises the opportunities the zombie apocalypse presents to him.  If you’ve read the third ‘Crossed’ graphic novel ‘Crossed Volume 3: Psychopath’ (2012), then picture an angrier version of the sociopathic serial killer Harold Lorre.  Yeah, not a nice fella at all!

Ted’s not exactly a smart cookie either.  In fact, he’s a thick-skulled thug, who’s driven by a rampant sexual drive.  He’s also a complete fucking racist and a filthy paedophile.  Altogether a vile excuse for a human, who’s only looking out for himself.  Anyone and everyone else can go to hell as far as he’s concerned.  But it’s not even a case of “them or me”.  Ted actively relishes in the misery and suffering of others.  Although, surprisingly every now and again we see the faintest glimmer of remorse.  A fleeting hint of something human in him.  But it never lasts long.

‘Rotting Dead F*cks’ isn’t exactly Shaw’s fastest paced novel.  In fact, it would be fair to say, once the opening chapter is over, the tale takes a while to really get going.  There’s a lot of squabbling and prolonged “hiding out”, before the zombie action gets properly underway.  Most notably, the initial chapters within the psychiatrist offices do start to drag on somewhat, with the eleven survivors holed-up in the building, spending their time squabbling and worrying and generally getting on each other’s tits.

It’s really the latter third of the novel where the action kicks in and things get properly brutal.  This is when the various parties decide to leave their respective hide-outs and try to make their way to somewhere safer, such as a supermarket or the isolated home of some in-laws.

With the characters all out on the streets, or at least trying to get their arses out there, it’s time for some serious high-adrenaline mayhem.  All of which Shaw delivers with such savagery, such uncompromising brutality, that you quickly realise no fucker is going to survive this thing for long.

But it always comes back to our resident psycho – good ole Ted.  It’s the chapters involving Ted which will stay with you afterwards.  The vileness of the man and the things you witness him doing.  Shaw doesn’t hold back one bit here.  Remember, this is uncensored extreme horror…and boyo, it really is just that.

All in all, ‘Rotting Dead F*cks’ certainly isn’t Shaw’s finest work.  The pacing is slightly more erratic and not as tight as many of his other titles.  Indeed, it’s a relatively early Shaw novel, and one which you can clearly see his writing skills have evolved from.

But it’s those signature scenes of uncompromising brutality, along with the sheer unpredictability of who’s going to bite the dust next that ultimately makes the tale the success it is.  A zombie apocalypse has never been so brutal.

The novel runs for a total of 168 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Rotting Dead F*cks’ instalments:

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