It isn’t very often that I read the superlatives on the cover of a book and think “Man, if they said that, I really need to read this.” Most of the time, they are quick blurbs “about” the book you may or may not be interested in to sell that book to you; really they are nothing more than “pop-up” ads for the reading world. Therefore, in general, I look past them. However, there was something about this book, and this one “quote” in particular, that caught my eye.
“The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best”
– Stephen King
While this may very well be another example of a well-known author singing the praises of another author to drive sales, (hell, Stephen King may not have even read this book) reading an endorsement by the Master of Horror himself drew me in and made me want to know more. Kudos to you, Gallery Books marketing team.
So, here I am. I fell for the marketing scheme, learned more about The Troop, read it in full and now, upon completion, I’m regretful of my decision. Not because the book was bad but because it seriously messed me up.
The Troop tells the story of a Boy Scout troop made up of five boys and their Scoutmaster on a trip to Falstaff Island, fifteen miles off the coast of Prince Edward Island in far south eastern Canada. Early in their expedition, the group is met by a ravenous stranger with an “infectious” problem who winds up being the sole cause of the groups slow decline.
The premise of the book is nothing new to the genre; the thought of something inhabiting or infecting humans has always been of great interest to writers, however, the way in which Nick Cutter (aka Craig Davidson) wrote about it was ingenious. Part Lord of the Flys, part 28 Days Later, Cutter is able to capture one of the most tragic and horrifying scenarios in recent memory. His utilization of a group of young boys, all with their own “special” traits, and employment of court documents and magazine articles creates a sense of realness for the reader, drives home the situations legitimate potential. This book will haunt you for days upon completion and will make you consider your own morality.
Rating: 4 out of 5 – If you enjoy psychological, squirmy-wormy, gorey horror, this book is totally for you. I guarantee you won’t be in a hurry to go camping any time soon.