|The Troop by Nick Cutter|
He felt something touch his hand... which is when he looked down...
For the scouts of Troop 52, three days of camping, hiking and survival lessons on the remote shores of Falstaff Island will be the closest thing they'll get to a proper holiday this year.
Which was when he saw it...
But when an emaciated figure unexpectedly stumbles into their camp begging for food, the trip takes a horrifying turn. The man is not just hungry, he's sick. Sick in a way they have never seen before.
Which was when he screamed...
Cut off from the mainland, the scouts of Troop 52 face a nightmare far worse than anything they could have made up around a campfire. To survive they will have to fight their fears, the elements... and eventually each other.
I'm quite the fan of the horror genre, so when I saw that this book described as horror centred around a troop of Scouts on an island, I figured it would be right up my street, imagining a slightly more gruesome version of Lord of The Flies.
Five fourteen-year-old scouts, along with their ineffective but well-meaning leader, Scoutmaster Tim, head to Falstaff Island to explore and gain merit badges on a camping trip. Shortly after they arrive, a dying man arrives and the scoutmaster has to decide how best to help him. But where has he come from? And what is wrong with him?
The Troop relies on intermittent reports, interviews and news articles between the events on Falstaff Island to provide the reader with important information about the reasons for the outbreak and the reactions to the events off the island. Although some of the lab reports made for difficult reading, I thought it was a very successful way of sharing some of the things which remain unknown to the boys but are crucial to the storyline.
By the time the boys know what is happening, it could be too late. The infection is spreading fast and to be honest, a little predictably. Whilst I enjoyed most of the gory elements of this book, it did seem very formulaic.
One of my main issues was the lack of likeable characters. Our five scouts seemed like they were borrowed from just about any American coming-of-age story, ever. A jock, a weirdo, a tubby nerd and
the regular all-rounder. Cliché central. For this reason I had very little interest in what happened to any of the boys. Particularly the one who has a history of killing innocent creatures. Those scenes were perhaps the hardest to read of the book and they really did make me hope that something horrid happened to the perpetrator.
I don't know that enjoyable is the right word for a gory book like this. At times, there were scenes where I had to physically *make* myself continue reading and the storyline was a little predictable. However, for gruesome detail and the ability to make the reader squirm, it gets a thumbs up. I just wouldn't advise you to read it with your dinner.