The Troop: A Novel

The Troop: A Novel

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

This “grim microcosm of terror and desperation haunting” (Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author) follows a scout troop on a terrifying fight for survival when they come across a mysterious—and deadly—stranger in the Canadian wilderness.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501144820
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 08/16/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 17,728
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

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

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?

Customer Reviews

The Troop 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 83 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
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
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
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
Eric_J_Guignard 6 days ago
I had a tough time with this book… technically, it was well written. There are no complaints about the plot or flow; setting, arc, characterization, etc. Loved the premise, but I just disliked the execution. The writing involved scenes of animal cruelty and torture, and also teen torture (self-mutilation) and death… It may be I’m getting more sensitive in my older years, especially have young children *and* being involved in Boy Scouts, but this book made me cringe too often (not in a good way). THE TROOP is like LORD OF THE FLIES, but much, much gorier and traumatic. Talented author though, to be sure!
Stephanie Burdo 3 months ago
not for the faint of heart
LEA ANN ZINGER 5 months ago
i thought it was a well developed story. greatly enjoyed
Anonymous 9 months ago
Body horror is overrated. The premise was interesting and would have been more so without the gore. The Shelly character-totally inappropriate. No thanks. Not interested
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
waste of time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! Its gory, horrifying, and scares you very bad because it feels real! The writing is very good. You empathize with all of the characters. Just to address some reviews about animal cruelty in the book, yeah its there, but its part of the story. I dont think its out of place at all. It adds to the over all horror. This is a horror story. Maybe they skipped over the suffering, terrified, mutilated children, which is what the majority of the story is about!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Parts got a little graphic for me and I had to set the book aside for a bit, but glad I continued.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a nice story that utilizes kids as main characters. The team dynamic along with betrayals is realistic and sucks you in. The thought of the plot being semi possible makes my skin crawl, however, the detailed explanation of the gore makes the read even MORE entertaining.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Oh, I so loved this novel. I enjoyed the bond of the scouts and their leader Tim as they ventured onto Falstaff Island. They’d been together for quite some time, Tim being their leader but also their friend and the boys, a diverse handful. Tim realized there probably wouldn’t be many more outing, the boys were growing out of this group and soon they would go their separate ways. These scouts and their leader were not prepared for what awaited them on this camping trip. A man stumbles in upon Tim and his scouts on their island camping trip. The man is hungry yet the looks of him have Tim questioning exactly what is wrong with him. The flesh of this man is falling off his bones and Tim, a doctor himself, wonders what disease this man possesses. I found it funny that this hungry, disgusting man is polite and had great manners as he inquiries about food. Tim contempt’s how he going to keep the scouts’ safe while keeping this man happy and away from them. Tim begins feeding the man some of their provisions. This man is beyond hungry and Tim realizes they are in deep trouble. Tim steps out and tells the scouts that they should go on their hike without him. There is some arguing but reluctantly they go. On this hike, we begin to see who these scouts really are. When the scouts return, things have taken a turn for the worse at the cabin. I can’t put the novel down now as Tim tries to keep the scouts out of harm’s way but everyone wants to see what has got Tim all excited. Tim, you tried… really did. What a fantastic novel to keep me up all night! It was entertaining, exciting and fun to read. Very graphic details made the story come alive and made each of the characters unique. I loved the infection and how it thrived. I could feel the adrenaline of the individuals on the island as push came to shove, as individuals fought for survival and as they fought for their own voice. Highly recommend for those who like to read a great thriller.