Wednesday, January 1, 2014

ARC REVIEW: THE TROOP by Nick Cutter




Title: The Troop
Author: Nick Cutter
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: Horror
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
My rating: 5/5

SUMMARY

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.




REVIEW

Let me state for the record that my number one favorite genre always has been and always will be: horror. That’s right ladies and gents. I am a proud hardcore horror fan. That said, I also have to admit that even I – self-proclaimed, hardcore horror fan – was grossed out and disturbed by this absolutely brilliant horror novel. It’s violent, bloody, gory, horrifying, gross, sick, twisted and impossible to put down. I will even go as far as to say that I think the true master of horror – the King himself – will feel slightly disturbed by this book.

So, now that you know this horror masterpiece is probably not for you, move on to the next book on your to-be-read list. But, if you’re like me, a true fan of horror, get yourself a copy of The Troop asap, because I can promise you you’ve probably never read anything like this before. Heed my warning though, peeps. This story is not for the squeamish or those who are easily offended by explicit violence and cruelty. As hardcore a fan as I am of horror, I often had to put this book down to take a breather. This author’s imagination would easily put King’s to shame.

As you can tell from the summary, this is the story about five boy scouts and their scout master trapped on a little island after a sick man stumbles across them and infect the scout leader with…something. The scout leader is also a doctor and he tries to save the sick man, but what comes out of the sick man’s abdomen when the scout master / doctor opens him up, is what nightmares are made of. And from there everything goes downhill, because unbeknownst to the boys and their scout master, the island is placed under quarantine, which means nothing and no-one gets on the island (from the mainland) and nothing and no-one is let off the island. The boys and their leader have no idea what they’re up against, and no matter that it’s not enough that they’re up against a monstrous, genetically-altered killer, one of the boys turns out to also be a psychopath.

To say The Troop is a suspenseful read is an understatement. It’s all that and so much more. Apart from the cruelty and one boy’s sadistic acts, I loved just about everything about this book. The characters each have their own distinct personalities and there were two specifically that I was rooting for. One of the boys I couldn’t stand. He has absolutely zero redeeming qualities and I’m positive the author wants the reader to hate him. Mostly, it’s the premise that kept me reading. Without giving anything away, all I’m going to say is that I’m intrigued by books about genetic experiments that go haywire. I loved the idea of killer…  Well, I’m not saying. But it gave me the creepy crawly heebie jeebies. What made it even more interesting is that the story is told from the boys’ point of view (who have no idea of why and what’s happening to them), but also through testimonies, video footage, journals and magazine articles to give the reader a clear insight of the where, the how, and the why. The big reveal is undoubtedly a terrifying twist.

Overall this was an awesome read with a marvelously constructed plot. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for more books by this author to add to my wishlist. Again, do keep in mind that The Troop is not for sensitive readers. But it is an original and well-written tale that’ll be featuring in your nightmares long after finishing it.



PURCHASE LINKS



ABOUT the AUTHOR


Nick Cutter doesn't exactly exist—he's a pen name. A cool, tough pen name! Your mileage will vary on whether you agree, but that was the thinking. Horror writers should have crisp, punchy names. Stephen King. Clive Barker. Nick Cutter. Not that I'm putting myself in their league, no way no how, but I'm just saying that was the idea behind the name.

Personally, I wanted to be known as Lemondrop Pennyfeather, but that suggested nom de plume was cruelly stricken down.

Aaaanywhoo, I've written this book, The Troop. Do you like horror books? Do you like Boy Scouts (not in a weird, Canteen-Boyish way, but in a nostalgic way)? Do you like seeing said Boy Scouts confront a vicious enemy on an isolated Island off the coast of Prince Edward Island? If you said yes to one or more of these questions, you may enjoy this book.

As for me: I've written a few other books under another name (the one my parents gave me). A few story collections, a few novels. One of them even got turned into a movie. I've written for magazines and newspapers, too. I cobble together a living with my pen, is what I'm trying to say—by hook or by crook. It's a lean living sometimes, but it's by and large an enjoyable one.

I live in Toronto with my fiancée and our baby boy, Nick ... so, yeah, the pen name is a little bit of an honorific for my son, too; we'll see, in time, if he thinks that was such a hot idea!



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