The Troop by Nick Cutter

The TroopThe Troop by Nick Cutter

Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins in this frightening novel written in the bestselling traditions of Stephen King and Scott Smith.

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.

“Lean and crisp and over-the-top….Disquieting, disturbing,” says Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan, The Troop is a visceral burn of a read that combines boldly drawn characters with a fantastically rendered narrative—a terrifying story you’ll never forget.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the beginning of this book. The creep factor was 100% and this is definitely one of those novels that makes you wonder “Wow…what if that really happened?” In the beginning, you aren’t really sure whether or not what you are witnessing is some type of wasting disorder or something else even more menacing. I liked the way the author set up the story and drew me in with the idea of stranger things to come.

Where this book lost me was in the gross “boy humour” and the “Stand-By-Me” type of boy scout camaraderie. This might have been okay with me, if it hadn’t considerably slowed the pace of the other happenings in the story. I felt there was a lot of time devoted to getting to know characters and it was a bit drawn out.

I would say this was about 50/50 good and not so great. I liked the thematic elements of the story and the overall creepiness. There was some truly funny humour and I enjoyed getting to know a few of the characters. Still, I felt it could have kept moving at the same pace as the beginning and I would have been far more excited about it.

If you like the type of book that can keep you turning pages wondering what is going on, this might be a good one to choose, in so long as you prepare yourself for the side stories and veers away from the plot and purpose.

What I really did like, were the last few chapters. The author did a very good job of pulling together all the different threads of the story to weave and outstanding tapestry at the finish.

I would recommend this book to those who like quirky stories where you are never sure exactly what is going to happen next.

This review is based off of a digital ARC provided by the publisher in cooperation with Netgalley.

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