Book Review: ‘The Troop by Nick Cutter’
Most of us at some point have been exposed to the thought-provoking classic Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Acclaimed horror author, Nick Cutter, must have read it and thought it needed a healthy dose of science fiction-laden terror hence this wonderful and horrifying book the Troop.
It all started as an innocent Boy Scout trip to a wilderness island only a few miles offshore from their homes. Led by the affable Scoutmaster Tim Riggs; popular kid Kent, best friends Max and Ephraim, nerdy Newt, and the strange Shelley; settle in for their usual outing. But a troubled and dangerous man destroys the peace of their trip by unleashing his mutated infection upon them. A species of parasitic worms which plagues it’s host with an unquenchable hunger, is now loose on the island and the scouts are on their own in the face of such horrors.
Each and every character of the Troop is explored with heart and articulation, even the strange sociopath of the group, Shelly. All of them come from diverse backgrounds with their own personalities and hopes and goals. Which means it hits even harder as they fall prey to the mutated worms and the paranoia which follows. Which will endear these kids to the reader is the fact that aside from the conniving Shelly, they try their best to stick together. They make mistakes and second guess themselves constantly but they try their bests to watch out for one another as everything goes to hell and they are left leaderless. Of course with the threat being a biological parasite, Cutter has to ramp up the gory and grotesque elements to truly drive the fear home and he does this to perfection. At least once while reading this book you will come across something that will make you sick in your stomach in the best possible way.
While the horrors on the island unfold, readers are treated to interspersed chapter about what this mutant worm is and where it came from. These chapters also include the government’s response to the actions taken by those in charge of the situation. These serve as a perfect companion piece to the overall narrative giving you an idea of just how big the events unfolding among these young boys are. The Troop eases it’s reader into a world of terror, but once they are there it does not let up, until the haunting finale.
I thought it less a novel of terror and more a novel of grossness. In fact, I thought the book read more like a YA book, but that’s not an insult, I just believe a teen audience might also enjoy it.