I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Underclass by Dan Weatherer
Published by Demain Publishing on November 13 2020
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Buy on Amazon
In a world where the rules of death suddenly no longer apply, thirty-something Lee Callows, prepares for the greatest day of his largely uneventful life: promotion to the first rung of middle management. However, his (after) life takes an unexpected turn when he is involved in a fatal road traffic accident on his way to work. Yet his death is the least of his problems!
Disowned by an unsympathetic wife, shunned by his apathetic brother, and fired from his job (employment law doesn’t apply to the deceased) Lee, now homeless, alone and struggling to accept his death, seeks solace in the back alleys of Wisterbury.
It is there that he encounters Meryl, and Harry ‘The Head’ Buckley. Meryl, (a student turned stripper, who earlier that morning had been shot dead by an overzealous admirer) too has been made homeless, her housemates less than enthusiastic about sharing their home with a walking corpse. She explains how she came across Harry, who having already died once, had attempted suicide by throwing himself in front of an HGV. The attempt had been unsuccessful, and the sight of Harry’s severed head mouthing silent obscenities in the gutter had been too much for Meryl to ignore.
Together, the three of them attempt to come to terms with their newfound undead status, in a city that has little time for the living, let alone the dead!
Right from the start The Underclass grabs you by the throat. Its spindly fingers reach out, the flesh dripping like a tap that can never be switched off. It is an intriguing take on the zombie trope; the idea that a sense of consciousness and emotion can remain intact was one that initiated deep thought…is everything that we have seen in Hollywood zombie movies just glorified the creation as brain hungry street walkers? Imagine dying in some accident only to come to and realise that you are now an undead version of yourself, only your spouse and relations want nothing to do with you? That is the dilemma that is staring Lee Callows dead in the eyes.
The Underclass examines the change of the natural occurrence of dying. Gone are the days where an individual would pass away in the typical sense. People are reanimating back to life, they are the walking dead, they are dead, corpses amongst the living, an unnatural abomination. How on earth are these undead going to co-exist with “The Pulses” surely it is only a matter of time before one of the groups starts an uprising, wanting to get rid of the other.
The story that follows is one of pure terror. The line between the living and the dead is a path that just shouldn’t be crossed. We are supposed to have direct roles, the living, well, live and the dead are dead. They are no pass go, no going direct to jail, nothing. Nada. Imagine waking and finding out that you go against natural and biological norms. Forget looking in the mirror ever again, not unless you want to be faced with a rotting bag of flesh and bones. This was such an awesome and highly irregular take on the zombie story – I found myself transported to a world that didn’t give a fuck about social norms! The Underclass blew my socks off!
The Underclass has heart though, at its very core it is a story of acceptance – accepting what you cannot change and accepting of the person right next to you. Gone are the social norms, forget the heirs and graces. You get to the very core of someone’s personality, when you lose the pretense and the trying to be someone else you can see someone for who they are. Strip back the layers and you are left with the baring of a soul; it matters not if they have a pulse or not.
The Underclass has a definite uniqueness to it and it really was a race to the end to find out the suspenseful conclusion. If this was a paperback copy, I would have had multiple papercuts from the rate I flew through it. The narrative was ensnaring, and the atmosphere was palpatingly toxic. Weatherer has a masterful skill of yanking the reader in from one world to another. The descriptive writing perfectly served both horror and a true sense of humanity. The authors love for his craft seeped into every line and the reader was helpless but to go along for the ride.
ABOUT DAN WEATHERER
Dan Weatherer is represented by The Cherry Weiner Literary Agency.
Award-winning author, Dan Weatherer, was first published by Haunted Magazine in Spring, 2013.
Aside from the publication of numerous short stories with a multitude of presses, his next major project was a solo collection of short stories titled The Soul That Screamed (Winner of the Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll ‘Best Anthology 2013’).
A further two collections Only the Good Burn Bright (Spring 2015, James Ward Kirk Fiction) and Neverlight (Spring 2016, Spectral Press) quickly followed. His first non-fiction book titled ‘What Dwells Within’ was released in the Autumn of 2015 and details the life’s work of paranormal investigator Jayne Harris.
In 2015, Dan was shortlisted for the prestigious position of Staffordshire Poet Laureate 2016-2018.
In 2017, Neverlight was shortlisted for the first annual Arnold Bennett Literary Prize. His fourth collection Just Eventide, was released in August 2017.
2017 also saw the release of Dan’s historical novella, ‘Crippen’, courtesy again of Spectral Press.
An accomplished playwright, Dan was winner of the 2017 Soundwork UK play competition, a finalist in the Blackshaw Showcase Award 2016, and a two-time finalist of the Congleton Players One Act Festival, 2016. Dan has had several of his plays appear at festivals and fringe events. The Dead Stage, a book detailing Dan’s experiences as a novice playwright was published courtesy of Crystal Lake Publishing in October, 2018
In 2019, Dan was nominated for a local Heroes award (The Sentinel) for his continued promotion of literacy and mental health issues in the city of Stoke on Trent.
2019 also saw the release of his non-fiction title Sounds of a Madman, where Dan discusses the issues surrounding living with Depression and Anxiety. The Necessary Evils was published late October (Demain Press), followed by The Tainted Isle, Dan’s debut novel, courtesy of PS Publishing.
In 2020, Dan became a contributor for CreepyPastaStories and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights.
Dan lives in Staffordshire, where is married to his wife Jenni and is a (proud) full-time dad to his daughter Bethany, and his son Nathan.