Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Review: The Troop by Nick Cutter

The Troop By Nick Cutter

358 pages

Simon and Shuster

This is a pure horror novel that despite having a few modern feels to me like a classic 80’s horror novel. While released by Simon and Shuster and clearly published with the backing of the mainstream feels like one of those great Dell Abyss horror novels. Some might see that as an insult but that line released many great novels. The Troop is a great horror novel, it is not a great urban f antasy novel with horror elements, nor is it an overused classic monster trope. Nope it is a classic kids trapped in the woods stalked by a terror inducing monster novel.

The story revolves around a Canadian boy scout troop ready for hiking and camping adventure on a remote island off the east coast of Canada. The POV of the story smartly and almost invisibly between scout master Tim (small village they from’s only doctor) and the members of the Troop. They don’t even really get a chance to enjoy the trip as strange dying man pulls ashore in a boat. He seems to be losing weight quickly, no matter how much he eats it is never enough.

Tim is not a bad doctor but this is out of his league. The man dies, and the real terror begins as the disease that killed the strange man is transmitted to the boys. Alone on the island they have to suddenly face each other becoming ravenous monsters. This crisis also uncovers a secret one of the boys has kept hidden.

I first heard about this novel when the Parasite obsessed author of ‘We Live Inside You’ Jeremy Robert Johnson suggested it. It is pretty much one of his nightmares, but I admit I was also interested when I saw that Stephen King blurbed it. In the 80’s he was a blurb machine and you couldn’t always trust it, but I assume at this point he really has to have a real book to blurb. Then I saw other heavy weights like Scott Smith (The Ruins) and Jonathan Mayberry had also given the seal I was sold to read it.

I thought it was an effective and disturbing horror novel that made the best of a lean prose style. The King influence is one the author wore on his sleeve, and was found as much in the strong children characters as it was in the horror elements. Horror readers will be very happy with this one.

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