THE TROOP by Nick Cutter – Book Review

Posted: April 4, 2014 in Books, Entertainment, Reviews

I don’t usually read Horror, but this one attracted me. As a youth group leader teaching survival skills, the idea of a Scout Troop stranded on an island, confronted with an epidemic of ravenous worms, was somewhat appealing.

To say that the book is intense is a bit of an understatement. Once it gets rolling, which is pretty quickly, it often makes Walking Dead look like a romp in the park, although it doesn’t depart from the credible. The idea of a biological weapon gone bad is convincing. The writing is vivid and wincingly detailed. The characters are masterfully done, with very candid glimpses inside their minds to see how these young characters interpret their fear. You get to know them very well, which, of course is critical to good horror writing. You have to feel the pain. The author has captured the essence of the young teenage mind and the characters’ confusion over how the “adults” could just leave them to suffer and fend for themselves. One main character realizes that adults thinking that they have it figured out and under control is just a sham. He sees that adults are not that different from kids, and is not impressed with the ways in which they are different.

Nick Cutter is a pen name for successful author Craig Davidson of Toronto. When I picked up the book I didn’t realize it was a local author.

I really enjoyed the novel, finding it extreme and severe. It is a harsh book, full of grotesque and monstrous imagery, and lots of twists and turns. I suppose that is the sign of good Horror. But it also has class and sophistication, with real depth and insight into human nature. Using it in a High School literature class would be unlikely, but it would be an excellent choice. There’s lots of meat. In several ways.

I would give The Troop an A-.

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