Book Review: Sick Bastards by Matt Shaw

Sick Bastards - Matt Shaw

First off I’ll mention the marketing if you like of Sick Bastards, if I was thinking of a way to get people interested in a horror novel then this would probably be the perfect way.

 

  1.  A title that instantly grabs you.
  2.  A solid black cover that hints at little except for a message.
  3.  A Warning just to top it off. One like -

 

WARNING: THIS IS AN EXTREME HORROR NOVEL. There is gore. There is bad language. There are scenes of a sexual nature. But hidden underneath it all is also a chilling story. Please do not purchase this book if you are easily shocked, disgusted or offended. This book is not for you.

 

Ok now my attention has been grabbed, did the story live up to it, I have to say it had a damn good go at it, in fact, yes it pretty much did.

 

This is my second read by Matt Shaw and both stories were told from a first person point of view, in this case its brother/son and the opening describes him having sex with his sister before an unwanted intrusion from Mother. An incestuous family that never leave their house.

 

Father, Mother, Brother & Sister have no memories of before the bomb went off, they woke and all they had was a picture and when they eventually went outside, when food got scarce, what they saw kept them from ever leaving again. What they saw were zombies, fast, strong and hungry.

 

Don’t worry this is not another tired zombie story, they only feature fleetingly and are more of a reason or excuse for us to explore this families deterioration from normal human beings into guilt free, sexually active and boy are they active, cannibals, all except one.

 

The story is told in different timelines, the present where Brother is overcome with guilt at what his family do and his desire to leave the madness. We also see the past, how they slipped into the life they now lead, the sex, the welcoming fellow survivors, only to see them as ‘meat’, food for survival.

 

The horror is not overwhelming considering some of the stuff out there, they are cannibals and it’s really gripping to see how they become this way, how they initially become sexually active but I have to say I’ve read stuff by Edward Lee and Wrath James White that are far more disturbing. This is more about people and what they are capable of when all other options run out.

 

I really enjoyed this, its clever both in the story, the unexpected twist at the end and its marketing.

I will certainly continue to read more from Matt Smith.

A 4.5 Rating.

Recommended