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

DLS Synopsis:
It had been five years since the outbreak.  No one knew what caused it.  Those who survived, no longer cared.  Survival was their only concern.  The danger no longer came from the undead.  The ambling, shuffling corpses now half-starved and weaker than ever.  The danger now came from the remaining survivors.

Mathew and Stacey had been travelling together.  Friends brought together by the struggles of the new world.  Both were married.  Although their respective partners were missing and long since presumed dead.

When they spotted the man standing by the roadside, frantically waving them down, it was Stacey who insisted they stopped for him.  Mathew was wary.  Trust was a commodity no one could afford in this savage dog-eat-dog world.

Unfortunately for the pair, Stacey managed to convince Mathew to stop for the man.  After waking up with a mild concussion sometime later, Mathew knew he’d been right.  Although now was not the time for I told you so’s.

The pair were now chained to the walls in a room with no windows.  They had no idea where they were or the reason for their abduction.  After all, who the hell takes hostages in this day and age?  Money was useless.  If you wanted something you just took it.  As far as Mathew could see, there was no benefit in holding anyone captive.

Although what Mathew didn’t yet appreciate was that he’d been brought to Frank Meyers’ Hell House.  A country mansion the ex-delivery man had taken over which he and his gang had made their own.  A place where the thirty-three strong community could see this thing through whilst having some fun.

Unfortunately for Mathew and Stacey, they were part of the entertainment…

DLS Review:
Shaw’s novel ‘Rotting Dead F*cks’ (2014) was in essence, a textbook zombie apocalypse story, given the Matt Shaw extreme horror treatment.  This sequel is different.  No longer are the zombies the main threat.  Instead, other survivors are.

Like with the preceding tale, the story is broken down into different character narratives, alternating between each other, to paint a broader picture of the hellish new world.  Mathew and Stacey are pretty much our principal protagonists in the tale.  Although there are other characters we start rooting for – namely Gina Jones who’s been held captive in Frank’s Hell House for so long, she’s now one step away from being an animal.

Without wanting to ruin the brutal surprises in store for you within the high-walled three storey country mansion, what I can say is it’s not somewhere anyone would want to be.  Even if you’re in Frank’s gang – his community of hardened survivors – this Hell House is still one fucking nasty place to be.

There’s a lot in the story that’ll remind you of Romero’s ‘Land Of The Dead’ (2005).  Of course, being a Matt Shaw offering, the vile acts and savagery exhibited within this Hell House are that much more graphic than those within Kaufman’s militia-guarded city.

Frank Meyers is the nasty bastard of the tale.  His rule over the gang is one brought through violence and utter dominance.  However, he’s no Ted.  If you were hoping for another absolute evil bastard, who you’d love because he’s such a vile excuse for a human, then you may be a little disappointed.  That’s not to say our Frank isn’t a ruthless cunt.  He’s every bit of that and more.  But he’s no Ted.

It has to be said, the pacing of the tale is that much tighter than ‘Rotting Dead F*cks’ (2014).  Where there was noticeable sagging in the preceding tale, most notably with the constant bickering between the survivors, here Shaw cuts to the chase time and again.  Scenes are shorter and slicker with the delivery of the next step in the plot reached with zero padding.

The storyline jumps back-and-forth from six months ago (when Frank et al first took over the country manor) to the present time (when Mathew and Stacey have been brought to the aforementioned house).  This alternating timeline helps build up the plot with a constant mounting suspense, with each carefully plotted unveiling of the horror keeping the tale pounding forwards at an escalating rate.

Interestingly Shaw throws in a couple of chapters involving the married couple – Rebecca and Chris – which doesn’t really form part of the overall narrative.  Indeed, Shaw even refers to the midway chapter as the ‘interval’.  However, the two ‘Rebecca and Chris’ chapters do flesh out the picture of this hostile new world that little further, adding in a separate mini-storyline that underlines the bitter choices of survival in this new world.

Yes, there’s no Ted in the story.  But other than that, as a sequel ‘Rotting Living F*cks’ delivers a more direct and punchy storyline, with each chapter packed to the guts with hard-hitting narrative, which usually results in some damn nasty horror.  And that’s exactly what we want.

The novel runs for a total of 99 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Rotting Dead F*cks’ instalments:

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