The Tainted Souls by Shaun Hutson & Matt Shaw

From authors Shaun Hutson and Matt Shaw comes a new horror set in the time of the Coronavirus.

The world has gone to Hell. A virus has seemingly come from nowhere, bringing with it a number of conspiracy theories as to its origin. Some of the theories are outlandish whilst some have an eerie ring of possible truth around them. But, as the world goes into lock down with people living in isolation only allowed out of their homes for essential journeys, people soon realise there are greater things to worry about than COVID-19.

The IndieMuse Review

Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need of
Some strangers hand
In a desperate land.”
THE END – The Doors

I know of Shaun Hutson by reputation alone, but it is a good one.

Matt Shaw is someone I have been reading for a few years. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the work of ‘the darkest mind in horror,’ his books are extreme and he likes to push the limits. Also, he writes a lot and he writes fast, with more than 200 published stories at age 40.

The flipside of the coin—with those numbers—are that there are almost always some grammatical errors in his stories. While it may not bother some, you do get the anal retentive ‘grammar police’…yes, I am one of those and I manage to annoy myself at times. It can be a real pain in the…as I was saying before, prolific writer.

While I do consider myself a fan of his work—for the most part—there are some of his stories which do nothing for me. His strength lies in psychological horror and, while he can gross people out and write some uber violent scenes, those should be in the background when it comes to the story. The point is his work can be a gamble for my personal tastes.

Having said that, I’m really glad to say I enjoyed this story more than I thought I would. With only a couple of grammar mistakes, it was an enjoyable experience.

What is this story about, you ask?

Well…

It’s the end of the world as we know it...”
—R.E.M.

Yes, Covid-19 changed our lives more than we could have expected. And this is probably one of the first ‘worst case scenario’ fiction stories to be published about the times we are living in. However, the virus is in the background—this is a story about what people may do because of the panic it has created.

People are stupid. There’s no two ways about it.

I think it was Einstein who said (I’m paraphrasing) there are only two things that are infinate: the universe and human stupidity.

People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening...”
THE SOUND OF SILENCE – Simon and Garfunkel

Thanks to the media and, largely, the internet—where any and all uneducated opinions matter—there was a panic all around the world.

Is this the end? The Apocalypse? Will there be zombies? Will we run out of essentials like toilet paper, booze, food, booze, hemorrhoid cream, booze?

I use the phrase ‘uneducated’ loosely, since some supposedly clever people said some really stupid things: remember the guy who said Covid has been around for years (correct) and we survived the first 18 (sigh)…only human, you know.

Well, take some out-of-control youths—fucking millennials (yes, I’ve reached that age)—and let them run free and cause havoc, with no fear of consequences.

“Rip the veins from human necks
Until they’re wet with life”
MOMMY, CAN I GO OUT AND KILL TONIGHT? - Misfits

Trigger warnings galore, but I will say that this is on the lighter side of the usual Shaw extreme. The second half of the story really impressed me and I think the ending was superb, pushing my rating up to 4 stars.

Recommended to readers who don’t get offended by a lot of violence and swearing.

MORT STONE

Mort Stone lives in untamed Africa, where he rides his lion to work every morning to slave away as a scientist who learned how to fake competency.

Reading is his passion…well, the one he can admit to, anyway. As an aggressive pacifist, he chooses to fight vicariously through stories which can bring him no physical harm.

While he is almost confidant that his IQ is in the top 50%, his wife regularly reminds him of all the stupid things he does. He will neither admit nor deny the accusations of sarcasm, but he can act like he cares. Most of the time.

As an avid reader of horror and thrillers, and somewhat of a movie buff in those genres, he still blames his insomnia on Global Warming. Because he can.

He would also like to apologize in advance for any swear words which might slip through…he will blame that on the insomnia.

2 reviews for The Tainted Souls by Shaun Hutson & Matt Shaw

4.0
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4 star
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  1. Leif Caron  

    Very much enjoyed it. Great flow and I could not put the book down!

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  2. Jen Vanarsdale  

    Top-notch story, with a such a twist of an ending. I will definitely seek out other works from author.

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