This book depicts graphic harm to animals.
“Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected…and one another.” (Source: Goodreads)
We all have our own ways of dealing with anxiety and depression. One of mine for the former is to kick back with an audiobook and lose myself in World of Warcraft. This week, my audiobook of choice was Nick Cutter’s The Troop. I first discovered Cutter last year after receiving an arc of Little Heaven, which I enjoyed immensely. Naturally, I was not let down with this title.
It’s a fairly short listen, coming in at just over eleven hours. Narrated by Corey Brill, the book tells the story of a bunch of kids and their mentor after a strange encounter with an emaciated man. From there, things spiral downward in a rather interesting turn of events and readers watch the usual trope that comes into play when the threat of apocalypse hangs over a town – or in this case, island. The fact that the cast is mostly teenage boys? That’s of no consequence.
The Troop is what I call a “last man standing” story. I suppose that’s comparable to “final girls” when you think about it. These kids, because that’s all they are, find themselves facing a horror they cannot truly comprehend, and with the military working in favor of the greater good, are on their own. Naturally, that means we’ve got some deep psychological stuff that’s going to go on, as well as several scenes of last minute survival habits – such as harming animals. And, of course, there’s madness tinting this books periphery.
I really enjoyed this approach to a horror story born of what originally begins as a good deed (though clearly is not toward its end). The characters had their own flaws and represented the different types of kids we’re likely to find in a high school class – only, of course, without the presence of any females.
Once again, Cutter has impressed me with his ability to make me cringe, among other things. I definitely look forward to getting my hands on more of his work in the future. Also, the audiobook is worth it. Corey Brill has a gorgeous voice.