First published back in March of 2015, the short story ‘SickEST B*stards’ formed the third instalment in the ‘Sick B*stards’ series from British extreme horror author Matt Shaw.

DLS Synopsis:
There was a time when no matter what happened, no matter what he did, she’d thought John would always be her son.  He would always be her hero.  Now he was nothing to her but a monster.

She was trying her hardest to keep up the pretence that she loved him, that she was able to forgive him for what he’d done to his father and her.  She knew she had to convince him that she was happy with how it had turned out.  Of her love and desire for him.  Or else he might turn see through the lies.  See past it all and turn on her.

But it was hard.  Hard not to break down and cry.  Hard not to show her true feelings for him.  How she hated every inch of him.  How she wanted him gone.  Dead and gone.  Her own son.  The monster that he’d become…

DLS Review:
So yeah, here we are with the third (and at the time of writing this review) the final instalment in Shaw’s infamous ‘Sick Bastards’ series.  Where the first book ‘Sick B*stards’ (2014) was a full length novel  (running at 232 pages) and the second book ‘SickER B*stards’ (2014) was more of a novella (running at 111 pages), this final instalment couldn’t really be classed as anything but a short story, with it running at just 31 pages.

The story follows on directly from where ‘SickER B*stards’ (2014) left off – namely with John back at his real parents’ house, and now getting it on with his mother, whilst the still warm corpse of his dead father gradually cools downstairs.  Interestingly, where the first two books were told principally from the perspective of John, here it’s told from the perspective of John’s mother.  And when I say mother, I mean his real mother (if you’ve read the first two books then I’m sure you’ll know what I mean).

So from the outset we’re thrown headfirst into a scene of extreme incestual rape, with John now under the delusion that his dear mother wants an intimate and heavily sexual relationship with him – after all, that’s all he knows now.  Of course, she’s not exactly thrilled with the idea.  She’s just witnessed her son savagely killing his father by ripping his face and throat to bits with his bare teeth.  As such she’s quite understandably a tad nervous about saying no to John’s advances.

Ergo, we have a short story awash with graphic scenes of sex (and I mean dirty mag style graphic) along with some good old munching down of human flesh to polish things off with.  But then you’d expect no less from a ‘Sick Bastards’ story wouldn’t you.

For the sheer fucking tension that Shaw manages to create in this gut-churning short tale, you really can’t fault it.  From the moment the story begins you’re flung into a maelstrom of incestual rape and blood-splattered cannibalism.  There’s absolutely no letting up from the razor-sharp tension that follows us through all thirty-one pages of the tale.  The gut-wrenching fear displayed in such a short page count is incredible.  Oh yes, this shit’s pretty much as intense as they come.

But it’s with how we knew John Burley from the previous two books and how we’d sided with him as our principal protagonist through all the madness that really screws with your head.  The human psyche’s undeniably a crazy thing.  Mess with it too much and the results can be far from pretty.  Take this (admittedly fictional story) as case in point.

So there you have it – the possible and probable end to Matt Shaw’s ‘Sick Bastards’ stories.  It ends just as it had begun: - repeatedly punching you in the face with utterly uncompromising, horrifically sickening and downright disturbing scenes of sexual depravity and cannibalism.  It’s brutal, it’s intense, and it doesn’t back down from delivering the very nastiest of extreme horror until the last page is turned.

The short story runs for a total of 31 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Sick B*stards’ instalments:

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