The Troop by Nick Cutter: Review
Today on The Tattooed Book I’m reviewing the award-winning horror novel, The Troop. Written by Canadian author Nick Cutter (pen name of Craig Davidson), The Troop won the James Herbert Award for horror writing and received the quote “…scared the hell out of me” from the master of fear, Stephen King.
When Troop 52 took to the small uninhabited island of Falstaff it should have been just a regular three-day trip for the boys to earn their hiking and survival badges. On the first night there, after the troop leader and doctor, Tim Riggs makes sure the boys are settled in for the night, he peers across the dark ocean that surrounds him and sees a boat heading their way.
He follows the boat’s course as it pulls up onto the island and he watches as a creature, barely human stumbles towards him. Every instinct in Riggs body tells him to run, but the doctor in him knows that the skeletal man is ill and needs help. As the stranger begs and pleads for food he shovels dirt and plants into his mouth. Riggs agrees to help the man and without realising it puts the entire troop at risk.
As a fan of both outbreak and monster stories, this novel got my immediate attention. The stranger that drags himself onto Falstaff Island unleashes something (trying to avoid spoilers isn’t easy here!) that turns the island into a bubbling hotpot of tension and claustrophobia.
Taking influence from Lord of the Flies, The Troop book doesn’t just look into the contagion unleashed onto the island but also the power struggles and personalities of boys turning into men and battling for dominance in a unique high-pressure situation. Add to that. stomach-churningly graphic details (seriously, do not read this while eating), nail-biting tension and a plot that will keep you up all night reading ‘just one more page’ and it all mounts up to an absolutely incredible horror novel.
If you like The Troop by Nick Cutter you’ll love Bird Box by Josh Malerman.