The Troop: Book Review

When Stephen King recommends a book, horror fans pay attention:

“The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best.” 

Written by an award-winning Canadian author under the pseudonym Nick Cutter, The Troop is a fast-paced, incredibly gory and often frightening piece of bio-terror. A group of scouts is isolated on an island during an outing when a very sick man emerges from the woods. He is emaciated and starving. He's resorted to eating bugs, leaves, sand and rocks to satiate his appetite that never abates. The scout master quickly takes action, but it's too late. Whatever is affecting that man is spreading quickly... and then the storm sets in.

This is a straight-forward story of the young men put in a Lord of the Flies type situation. It's incredibly disturbing as the children's personalities begin to emerge and their truest nature is revealed. It's also features some of the most stomach turning scenes I've ever read. I had the put the book down occasionally, and reach for some ginger ale.

But it wasn't the most original story and takes no imaginative leaps. I also didn't care for the structure of the book. The perilous action on the island is intercut with scenes from the aftermath. You know right from the start where it's going to end as interviews with military personnel, news articles, and scientific anecdotes talk about what happened on the island. I suppose the point is to move the reader from focusing on the horrific events, and delving into the human aspect, which is apparently much more horrific than anything nature can conjure. Overall, The Troop is more gruesome than outright scary and while well written doesn't tread any new ground.