“The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it’s the perfect gift for a winter night.” ~ Stephen King
I call it creepy, suspenseful and delightfully addictive. One book you can’t put down. Nick Cutter’s The Troop has all the bone-chilling horror elements to keep you on the edge of your seat.
“It is a fact that cannot be denied: the wickedness of others becomes our own wickedness because it kindles something evil in our own hearts.”
Tim Riggs – Scoutmaster Tim is unmarried and childless, and is by nature calm and unflappable – a valuable trait for a doctor. He grew up in Ontario and spent a year in Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders. Now at forty-two, he’s settled in Prince Edward Island. Every year, he makes a trip to Falstaff Island, a tiny island about fifteen kilometers off mainland mass and 10.4 kilometers in circumference.
This year is no different. With his troop of five boy scouts, Falstaff Island will be their training ground for the next little while. The boys didn’t care that Tim was a “come-from-away”. He was everything that they could possibly want in a leader: “knowledgeable and serene, exuding confidence while bolstering their own; he’d learned the native flora and fauna, knew how to string a leg snare and light up a one-match fire, but most crucially, he treated them with respect – if the boys were not yet his equals, Tim gave every impression that he’d welcome them as such once they’d passed the requisite boyhood rituals.”
Then one night a haggard stranger in tattered clothing makes his way to the island on a boat, and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Will dependable Tim be able to protect the boys? Before the night is over this shockingly thin stranger with an unusual hunger pangs, will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight our of their own worst nightmares. What entails is a harrowing struggle for survival. Will they all be infected? Will someone come to save them? Will group dynamics be questioned? Will they eventually survive?
Nick Cutter has done a phenomenal job developing his characters and the storyline side-by-side with the overarching theme engaging all our senses. His beautiful interrupted story-telling format enhances the reading experience. The Troop has been categorized as part Lord Of The Flies and part 28 Days Later, and with a perfect pace and beautiful dialogue and character buildup, it’s one of the best disturbing novels that I’ve enjoyed in a long time. A truly lovely Canadian horror gem.