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The Troop

The Troop

4.0 73
by Nick Cutter

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The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best.” —Stephen King

Once every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip—a tradition as comforting


The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best.” —Stephen King

Once every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder stumbles upon their campsite—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. A horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival with no escape from the elements, the infected…or one another.

Part Lord of the Flies, part 28 Days Later—and all-consuming—this tightly written, edge-of-your-seat thriller takes you deep into the heart of darkness, where fear feeds on sanity…and terror hungers for more.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this suspenseful biotech thriller by the pseudonymous Cutter (an acclaimed Canadian novelist), a Boy Scout troop goes to Falstaff Island for its annual hiking and camping trip. It's usually just the boys and their scoutmaster, but this year they are surprised by a hauntingly thin man. He is infected with a highly contagious genetically modified worm that eats people from inside while overwhelming them with hunger. The scoutmaster soon falls victim. When no boat arrives to take the scouts home, it becomes apparent that the island is quarantined, and the five boys must fend for their survival while avoiding infection. Cutter mixes the story of the scouts with glimpses of interviews and articles written after the event. These excerpts inform the reader of the sinister origin of the worm and the circumstances surrounding the quarantine. VERDICT The personal history of each scout plays into how they handle the situation, which makes this a psychological thriller. That being said, it does contain scenes of graphic violence unsuitable for young adult readers. Cutter's novel imbues readers with the horrifying feelings reminiscent of a zombie novel but successfully delivers a unique alternative that makes for a fun if gruesome horror read.—Matt Schirano, Grand Canyon Univ. Lib., Phoenix
Publishers Weekly
This predictable, carnage-filled thriller from the pseudonymous Cutter will appeal mainly to horror fans. On Falstaff Island, off Prince Edward Island, a troop of boy scouts encounters Thomas Henry Padgett, aka “the Hungry Man,” a victim of military research gone terribly wrong. An act of charity toward Padgett, who carries a deadly contagion, turns out to be a big mistake that leaves the scouts with no choice but to rely on their limited tools and rudimentary survival skills. Meanwhile, an alarmed military has quarantined Falstaff Island to protect the world from the evil released there. While the boys have many options, escape is not among them. Competent prose makes up in part for stock characters—the nerd, the popular kid, the quiet psychotic. Cutter’s appeal to modern-day disquiet over the ethical lapses of the military-industrial complex will strike many as pro forma rather than based in any authentic outrage over abuses real or imagined. Agent: Kirby Kim, William Morris Endeavor. (Jan.)
Mira Grant
"Nick Cutter brings a bone-chilling spin to a classic horror scenario in The Troop. It's Lord of the Flies meets Night of the Creeps, and I enjoyed it immensely."
Christopher Golden
"A grim microcosm of terror and desperation…haunting."
Jonathan Maberry
"Nick Cutter pulls out all the stops in The Troop. This is a brilliant and deeply disturbing novel that you absolutely cannot put down. Highly recommended."
Scott Smith
"Lean and crisp and over-the-top....Disquieting, disturbing."
Stephen King
"The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night."
Robert Pobi
"Brilliant, and dialed to eleven on the creepy meter – an absolute blast."
"Nick Cutter pulls out all the stops in The Troop. This is a brilliant and deeply disturbing novel that you absolutely cannot put down. Highly recommended."
"THE TROOP scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night."
"Lean and crisp and over-the-top....Disquieting, disturbing."
Kirkus Reviews
Some thrillers produce shivers, others trigger goose bumps; Cutter's graphic offering will have readers jumping out of their skins. Scoutmaster Dr. Tim Riggs takes his troop for their annual camping trip to Falstaff Island, an uninhabited area not far from their home on Prince Edward Island. The five 14-year-old boys who comprise Troop 52 are a diverse group: popular school jock, Kent, whose father is the chief of police; best friends Ephraim and Max, one the son of a petty thief who's serving time in prison and the other the son of the coroner who also serves as the local taxidermist; Shelley, an odd loner with a creepy proclivity for animal torture and touching girls' hair; and Newton, the overweight nerdy kid who's the butt of the other boys' jokes. When a skeletal, voracious, obviously ill man shows up on the island the first night of their trip, Tim's efforts to assist him unleash a series of events which the author describes in gruesome, deliciously gory detail. Tom Padgett is the subject of a scientific test gone horribly wrong, or so it seems, and soon, the Scouts face a nightmare that worms its way into the group and wreaks every kind of havoc imaginable. With no way to leave the island (the boat Tom arrived on is disabled, and the troop was dropped off by a different boat), the boys fight to survive. Cutter's narrative of unfolding events on the island is supplemented with well-placed interviews, pages from diaries, and magazine and newspaper articles, which provide answers to the reader in bits and pieces--but perhaps more importantly, it also delivers much-needed respites from the intense narrative as the boys battle for their lives on the island. Cutter (who created this work under a pseudonym) packs a powerful punch by plunging readers into gut-wrenching, explicit imagery that's not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. Readers may wish to tackle this heart-pounding novel in highly populated, well-lit areas--snacks optional.

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Gallery Books
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Read an Excerpt

The Troop



The boat skipped over the waves, the drone of its motor trailing across the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The moon was a bone fishhook in the clear October sky.

The man was wet from the spray that kicked over the gunwale. The outline of his body was visible under his drenched clothes. He easily could have been mistaken for a scarecrow left carelessly unattended in a farmer’s field, stuffing torn out by scavenging animals.

He’d stolen the boat from a dock at North Point, at the farthest tip of Prince Edward Island, reaching the dock in a truck he’d hotwired in a diner parking lot.

Christ, he was hungry. He’d eaten so much at that roadside diner that he’d ruptured his stomach lining—the contents of his guts were right now leaking through the split tissue, into the crevices between his organs. He wasn’t aware of that fact, though, and wouldn’t care much anyway in his current state. It’d felt so good to fill the empty space inside of him . . . but it was like dumping dirt down a bottomless hole: you could throw shovelful after shovelful, yet it made not the slightest difference.

Fifty miles back, he’d stopped at the side of the road, having spotted a raccoon carcass in the ditch. Torn open, spine gleaming through its fur. It had taken great effort to not jam the transmission collar into park, go crawling into the ditch, and . . .

He hadn’t done that. He was still human, after all.

The hunger pangs would stop, he assured himself. His stomach could only hold so much—wasn’t that, like, a scientific fact? But this was unlike anything he’d ever known.

Images zipped through his head, slideshow style: his favorite foods lovingly presented, glistening and overplumped and too perfect, ripped from the glossy pages of Bon Appétit—a leering parody of food, freakishly sexual, hyperstylized, and lewd.

He saw cherries spilling from a wedge of flaky pie, each one nursed to a giddy plumpness, looking like a mess of avulsed bloodshot eyeballs dolloped with a towering cone of whipped cream . . .


A porterhouse thick as a dictionary, shank bone winking from fat-marbled meat charred to crackly doneness, a pat of herbed butter melting overtop; the meat almost sighs as the knife hacks through it, cooked flesh parting with the deference of smoothly oiled doors . . .




What wouldn’t he eat now? He yearned for that raccoon. If it were here now, he’d rip the hardened rags of sinew off its tattered fur; he’d crush its skull and sift through the splinters for its brain, which would be as delicious as the nut-meat of a walnut.

Why hadn’t he just eaten the fucking thing?

Would they come for him? He figured so. He was their failure—a human blooper reel—but also the keeper of their secret. And he was so, so toxic. At least, that’s what he overheard them say.

He didn’t wish to hurt anyone. The possibility that he may already have done so left him heartsick. What was it that Edgerton had said?

If this gets out, it’ll make Typhoid Mary look like Mary Poppins.

He was not an evil man. He’d simply been trapped and had done what any man in his position might do: he’d run. And they were coming for him. Would they try to capture him, return him to Edgerton? He wondered if they’d dare do that now.

He wasn’t going back. He’d hide and stay hidden.

He doubled over, nearly spilling over the side, hunger pangs gnawing into his gut. He blinked stinging tears out of his eyes and saw a dot of light dancing on the horizon.

An island? A fire?

Meet the Author

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of novels and short stories. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

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The Troop 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Gruesome, gory, great! I took a walk on the wild side and found The Troop by Nick Cutter and let me tell you campers out there, there may be more to fear than the mosquitoes, or the bears, or the Sasquatch. When a troop of boys out camping with their leader come to the aid of a deathly ill man, there is nothing that could have prepared them for the nightmare they have just fallen into. In a gruesome tale of terror, The Troop is every horror lover’s dream with vividly described scenes filled with guts, gore and excruciating deaths, leaving the young scouts alone to try to outrun almost certain death. But what can kill with such violence from within the body? Is it man-made? An act of God? Science? Sent from the devil? Beyond the horrific scenes, I found the breakdown of the boys sense of camaraderie to be equally scary as they, too began to fall prey to the deadly killer within them. The strongest became weak, the weak ones showed tremendous courage and the dark evil kept coming and coming and coming. Perfect reading for any night you want nightmares. Nick Cutter was brilliant in his build up to the troop’s initial contact with the emaciated and crazed man that wandered into their camp. Face it, life has its hierarchy, and these boys had theirs, from the classic bully to the classic geek. What better way to demonstrate the changes each character underwent throughout this tale! Filled with typical “boy” talk, everything from bathroom humor to talking about girls, I felt like I was a fly on the wall and got several chuckles and eye rolls out of their bantering dialogue. Mr. Cutter’s gift for gore is second to none, often grossly disgusting and always intense enough to keep me riveted to each bloody page. I will say though, the next time I feel the need to rough it off the beaten path, I’ll just choose a motel without a pool or Wi-fi. I received an Arc edition in exchange for my honest review from Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THE TROOP is one of the BEST novels I have read in a long time! The horror, the pity, the gore, the monsters, the desperation, plus the inclusion of military hearings, all lend to a Stephen King like smoothness and intimacy with the characters. Loved it! DO ~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well, like the old, good, stephen king books. Good story line even though it is so obviously fiction... hmmmm... but not so far fetched that it is fantasy or sci fi. Really quite possible. Blech... i hope i don't see any worms until i forget this book. Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Character development was great. You feel the pain of the characters. The plotline is not so far removed from reality that it is not plausible, which adds to experience. I don't understand the reviews complaining about animal abuse. It's a book for heaven's sake. Killing people is okay, but don't hurt the poor mice. Ugh.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome, very creepy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many times I get a novel under the impression that it is a horror novel and most times I am saddened to find out it is not, but this one thankfuly is a true horror novel I also really enjoyed the homage to Stephen King's Carrie it was brilliant
MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
This book does provide the horror and terror you are expecting; however, it also provides an abundance of the grotesque. I wasn’t expecting the story to be so continuously gruesome. I don’t want to provide any spoilers, but be forewarned that this novel will appeal most to those fans of the type of horror movie that is mostly filled with images of disgust and gore. Not really my deal. I like thrills and suspense and fear. The “monsters” in this story are all too real and possible. It is rather unsettling, and will probably affect your appetite. The book does create a very interesting look at what it is to be a sociopath, and remind us that they exist all around us. Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel “To Be Chosen”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has been a while since I read a horror novel that repulsed me so much that I couldn't put down. This is an absolute nightmare I would recommend to any fan of horror.
warrior54 More than 1 year ago
In the horror genre, there are really only two types of books as far as I'm concerned. First, there are the books meant to creep you out. They are more subtle, more psychological. Second, there are the books meant to gross you out. Blood and gore abound in these type of books. The Troop definitely falls into the "gross out" category. From start to finish, this book redefines the boundries of gross and disturbing. I'm not a prude by any means, but there were a few times where I had to stop reading and take a deep breath. I also discovered that eating while reading this book is out of the question. That being said, the plot of The Troop was very well thought out, and Mr. Cutter's writing style is very enjoyable. It would be very hard to give a detailed review wothout spoiling something for future readers. Suffice it to say that if this kind of book is your forte, then I would highly reccomend The Troop. You have been warned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off, this book is TOTALLY CREEPY! Like shivers and goosebumps creepy. Well written, great plot. People keep comparing it to Stephen King, but I find one glaring difference. King writes characters that you truly care about. Maybe even cry for. The boys in this book were not so likeable. Even the good guys were not so care worthy. I guess I feel that the character development was a bit lacking. Otherwise I enjoyed the read, and the gross out factor was off the charts!
CaraStories More than 1 year ago
Keep your eyes open for more from this writer... I believe he's a rising star. Mr. Cutter reminds me of Stephen King, during his great years, (all King fans fondly refer to his works as "Old Stephen King" and "New Stephen King" with "old" being the glory days of his writing). Another positive, for myself at least, is that unlike Mr. King, Mr. Cutter doesn't bog the reader down with endless details. Is there detail? Most definitely. Are there informative and interesting flashbacks? Absolutely. By the time the flashback and detail is wrapped up, have you forgotten what was going on in the first place? NO! :) This book is all about suspense that builds and builds and then out of nowhere, something insane happens and you're like, "WHAAAAT?!?!?!?" Makes for an awesome reading experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done for a first novel.
AudiobookReviewer More than 1 year ago
Right off the bat we are introduced to a creepy character who must keep eating to fill a hole or something. Doesn't even have to be food. From the thought provoking descriptions Cutter was able to capture my full attention with a death grip. I had to know what happened to this man, where he came from and most importantly what in the hell is going on. Here we have a story that is about a simple unassuming boy scout camping trip to a remote island. Isolated from the outside world by the ocean. They think that they have everything they could need to make the trip a success, until the hungry man shows up. Then everything goes haywire. The troop leader and his son try to help the man, they realize that they must operate in order to save his life. This is where they are confronted with something so unimaginable and so terrifying that they do know what to do, other than to not get any on them. Well, they did and the story blows up from there. My hat is off to Nick Cutter as I never had to stop listening to audiobook just because I was too creeped out to continue. The Troop is hands down the epitome of a horror story. It has everything a horror fan will want, monsters that are monsters and that are the people themselves. With suburb character development, to the point where you think you know them very well and then you don't. Audiobook provided for review by the publisher. Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com
Lily_F 5 days ago
** spoiler alert ** Wow, what a crazy ride! This novel hits you in the face from the very first chapter with promises of yuck and eek. And if you think the poor sucker that started it all on this island is the most disturbing part of this book, you are in for a surprise. Hang on to your stomachs people! Pretend you are going swimming and wait half an hour before taking your brain for a backstroke in this one. I am usually a strong stomach type of person, able to pick up some really disturbing stuff, but even I turned green and teared up at some parts of this novel. And why such strong reactions? Believability. Engineered Tape Worms. Ya, you read right! Engineered, gross, yucky, cringe-worthy, massively destructive tape worms that can take over a host and destroy you within hours, causing disgusting havoc on a human and animal body, all the while taking control of your body and brain. Ok. So depending on who you may talk to, there may be arguments on the realism of this (I don't think it would be so far fetched, personally). But here is where the believability kicked in for me. Everyone's behavior in this story was, in my head, spot on to what I think someone would behave in every single situation in this book. Inclusive of the psychopath child that pretends to be perfectly normal within this otherwise, typical group of boy scouts. So, let's throw in this extremely contagious 'escaped' (debatable) test subject filled with killer tapeworms on an island with a group of young boys and their scout master, and let's see what happens. This literary experiment played out in ways that I certainly imagined and didn't want to imagine. From the raw fear of infection, the predictable breakdown of trust, to the sheer determination to survive, and hopelessness that comes with a dire situation of which you cannot escape, this book was raw, gritty and frankly terrifying. It will be a long time before I can stop tearing up over the turtle scene, or the disturbing ways that one of the young boys decided to eliminate the perceived threat in his own body. I am definitely intrigued to read more of this author's books after 'The Troop' but, no offense to you, Nick Cutter.... I think I will give it a little bit of time before I pick up the next one after what you did to me with this one. Thank you to Netgalley, publisher/author for the copy of the novel for an honest review. I received no compensation, and all opinions are 100% my own.
Anonymous 3 months ago
The Troop has great pacing that keeps the reader wanting more. Descriptions of characters and character behavior were wonderfully put. At times hard to read because of how in depth descriptions go, but I'm happy to have kept turning the page.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
I read the reviews, and it seemed interesting. The problem is that none of the characters are worth surviving. I am not done yet, so no spoiling, but I hope they all get killed. Sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though I read the reviews, and they were the reason I bought this book, it didn't come close to being as horrible as everyone said. Sure there were gross parts, but nothing to give you the willies. I don't think it was worth the 7.99 I paid for it. But the idea behind the story was interesting. And who can say how true it could be?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really had to make myself finish this book. I enjoyed the first 50 pages but after that it was a real chore to continue reading. I only liked one character out of the six main characters. A lot of the book seemed to be filler. I'm giving it two stars simply for the fact that I finished it. If your looking for horror look elsewhere. The author seemed to only put some stuff in this book for shock value and to make you hate the characters. The Deep was a much better horror book with a bad ending. I doubt I'll read another of Nick Cutter's books.
T-Bones More than 1 year ago
Absolutely Frightening!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasn't sure where the story was going at first, but captured my curiosity. See it through to the end...well worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was OK. I was able to finish it but the characters seemed a little 2 dimensional. The boys are all these generic types; the jock, the sociopath, the nerd, the angry kid, and the cool collected kid. I wouldn't recommend paying for this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first scary book and I am so glad I took the risk and had a chance to read it. The Troop is so amazing and I advise everyone reading this review to read it as soon as possible. It really plays into your fears and, certainly my, emotions and the main characters definitely have part in that. Their breakdown and fates were so awesomely written. Overall, five out of five! One of the best!