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The Troop | [Nick Cutter]

The Troop

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 bonfre. The boys are a tight-knit crew. There’s Kent, one of the most popular kids in school; Ephraim and Max, also well-liked and easygoing; then there’s Newt the nerd and Shelley the odd duck. For the most part, they all get along and are happy to be there - which makes Scoutmaster Tim’s job a little easier.
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Publisher's Summary

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 bonfre. The boys are a tight-knit crew. There’s Kent, one of the most popular kids in school; Ephraim and Max, also well-liked and easygoing; then there’s Newt the nerd and Shelley the odd duck. For the most part, they all get along and are happy to be there - which makes Scoutmaster Tim’s job a little easier. But for some reason, he can’t shake the feeling that something strange is in the air this year. Something waiting in the darkness. Something wicked...

It comes to them in the night. An unexpected intruder, stumbling upon their campsite like a wild animal. He is shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry - a man in unspeakable torment who exposes Tim and the boys to something far more frightening than any ghost story. Within his body is a bioengineered nightmare, a horror that spreads faster than fear. One by one, the boys will do things no person could ever imagine.

And so it begins. An agonizing weekend in the wilderness. A harrowing struggle for survival. No possible escape from the elements, the infected...or one another.

©2013 Nick Cutter (P)2014 Simon & Schuster Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (350 )
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4.1 (331 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kim Venatries Philadelphia, PA USA 03-13-14
    Kim Venatries Philadelphia, PA USA 03-13-14 Member Since 2010

    There are few things better than a good story well told!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Seriously Messed Up Gruesome Horror"

    Lord of the Flies meets Hannibal Lector. I’ve been reading horror stories since junior high and it takes a lot to ‘disturb’ me. There were points in this story that made me nauseous. There are parts I wish I could un-hear. But there were also parts that made me ache for the characters. Some of the characters that is. Hell is not hot enough for a couple of the characters. Overall I’m not sure how to judge this book. But I can warn you that there are scenes of animal torture that are ugly and graphic.

    The plot is interesting. A group of boy scouts on a remote island encounter a seriously ill man. It turns out the man is carrying a contagious “disease” that infects their scout leader leaving the boys on their own. One of the boys is a secret sociopath that would make Dalmer and Bundy turn away in disgust. And then there’s the disease… well that’s another very dark road. The writing and narration were good but imho the horror is too grisly, too nasty and too real. Listen at your own risk.

    43 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 07-02-14
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 07-02-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Engrossing"

    I'm not really sure where, or how, to begin with my review of this book. After reading the other reviews, I was actually a bit afraid to buy it and start listening. When King says something "scared the hell out of [him]", it makes me pause and think long and hard whether or not I want to do that to my psyche. I did, clearly, choose to press play.

    I can say one thing, for certain- this is a supremely well written story. It will *clearly* not be everyone's cup of tea. However the detail and carefully placed word selections helped make this a throughly captivating listen. Cutter uses classic rhymes and tropes, familiar to anyone who has spent time in Scouts or camping, with rhythmic and pulsating effect. The suspense of the book is twisted notch by painful notch, from the first page to the last.

    In turning to the focus of so many of the other reviews: yes, this book is not for the squeamish. Yes, there are brief scenes of harm to animals. Yes, it has imagery that may be exceptionally disturbing to some.

    I actually was not that disturbed by much of the book. To expose a bias, or potential desensitization, I am a criminal defense attorney and was trained as an EMT. As a general rule, dealing with psychopathy or sociopathy (which are explored in depth within this book) does not shock or surprise me. The "gross out" factor didn't hit me that hard either. I will say that I didn't eat, eat, eat... anything while I was listening, lol. The only thing that actually gave me pause was the short chapter on the psychopath character and an animal. That was... disturbing.

    However, hiding beneath the surface of the gore and horror is a story which is more emotional and cutting- Cutter takes the standard characters of youth and exposes them to his nightmare. The expected becomes the unexpected, but from the perspective of a 14 year old boy. Speaking as someone who was once a 14 year old boy, and one who was very much like Newton, Cutter hit the nail on the head. He plumbs the reservoirs of strength and perseverance in the face of abject horror as well as the psychological horrors we inflict on ourselves. He explores the concepts of youth and maturity, the nature of adulthood and childhood, as well as when that line is crossed.

    It is not an uplifting book. It is not a light listen. I will likely give many people nightmares. It is, however, an extremely well written examination of the human psyche when faced with the literal and allegorical monsters which lurk in all of us to one degree or another. Highest marks and recommendation, but let the listener beware.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesley Seattle, WA, United States 03-27-14
    Lesley Seattle, WA, United States 03-27-14 Member Since 2005

    From Austen to zombies!

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    "Horror that's really horrifying"

    Horror fiction is in kind of a weird place right now. There's the old classic stuff, where the horror is all in the mind, and then there's the plain gross-out stuff. A lot of the first type hasn't aged well--the things that scare us now are so different than they were back then. And the gross-out kind, while fun, can get boring after a while: another eyeball falls out, another arm gets torn off, but does anything actually happen?

    Not too many people are hitting the midline these days: psychological exploration of fear mixed with just enough yuck to keep things interesting. But this guy, Nick Cutter--he's right on top of that balance beam in The Troop.

    Scoutmaster Tim and his troop of five boys set off for a remote location off the coast of Prince Edward Island (which itself qualifies as remote!). Everything's going great--for a little while. And then, almost immediately, things begin to unravel when a stranger arrives. A really strange stranger. Suddenly, everything is falling off the edge of normal, especially the scouts themselves.

    Fans of earlier Stephen King novels may recognize the structure: everything's fine and then the Bad Thing shows up, making everyone show their true, ugly colors. But this book reads like a later King actually wrote it, especially in the characterization. The boys start off as templates: bully, nerd, weirdo, kid with issues at home, normal (if confused) kid. And then stereotypes vanish as personalities evolve and blur under the stress of the situation.

    Other reviewers have mentioned that parts of this book are just plain disgusting. I actually yelled out "Oh, gross!" on the bus at one point, causing my fellow passengers to look around cautiously. But even the gross stuff wasn't just there for effect--it was disgusting, squishy, and smelly, yes, but it was also truly horrifying. Suddenly I remembered what "spine-tingling" actually means. Yikes!

    The only issue I had with this edition, and it was a little issue, was the production value. The narrator was fine, but I heard a few page-turns and there were parts where the sound level dropped for a few seconds. But like I said, it was a pretty small issue.

    I can't remember the last time I read a book with virtually no boring parts. This book didn't have any that I noticed. I wandered around with my earbuds on for an entire day, completely glued to the story. I kept listening for "tells" that might point to Stephen King actually writing this book--apparently it's a first novel, but that was hard to believe because it's just so good (I don't think Stephen King wrote this...but I can't be entirely sure!). If you love horror that's really horrifying, and you don't mind some squishy parts, you will love The Troop.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip Arlington, TX 03-10-14
    Phillip Arlington, TX 03-10-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Solid horror from start to finish"

    I have always been a huge fan of the horror genre--be it book, film, or tv--but good horror, especially good horror literature, can be hard to find. When it comes to film, there are horror movies that are so bad they're good. This does not hold true for horror novels. Bad horror novels are just bad, they cannot be redeemed.

    Luckily, The Troop is one of those rare finds, a horror novel that entertains and terrifies from beginning to end. Cutter's description of the adolescent state of mind, their hopes, fears, insecurities, etc., is perhaps the best I've read since "It" or "The Body." And Corey Brill does a great job narrating the story and giving each boy his own voice.

    I recommend this novel to any horror fan. It's a gory mess from the first to last...and I mean that in the best way.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd PRINCETON, NJ, United States 05-16-14
    Todd PRINCETON, NJ, United States 05-16-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Oh man...."

    This was good. Wow. Scary as hell, and so well done. I usually don't go in for this sort of thing, but wow, wow, wow. This really messed with my head.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Austin Texas, United States 03-30-14
    Jeffrey Austin Texas, United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A Dark, Evil Glob Of Perfection!"

    Horror is not my usual genre, but on Mr. King's endorsement I took a swing at it. At first it was just disgusting and I read with detachment. Then the story it grew on me, well, not unlike the horror described within its pages and then it took over. At the end I was left slack-jawed at how such nonchalant and gruesome cruelty could have drawn me into caring so much about it, but I did. Fantastic character development and the narration was pitch perfect. Careful though, this is not for a weak stomach or easily pricked moral sensibilities.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Lenz KING OF PRUSSIA, PA, US 03-06-14
    Alex Lenz KING OF PRUSSIA, PA, US 03-06-14 Member Since 2011

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Extremely well executed story"
    Where does The Troop rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I listen to and read a lot in the horror genre, lets be honest, you have to wade through vast amount of garbage to find the hidden gems out there. I'm happy to say The Troop is one of those rare finds. What stands out right away is how well written this story was from beginning to end. I find a lot of authors, even the greats, have trouble portraying children in a believable manner, either making them overly mature and sophisticated or comically insolent. Nick Cutter was able to develop a troop of young boys with believable personalities and vocabularies, which was very refreshing. Without giving away anything, I'll say the horror elements of the book started early and built throughout the entire reading. I was definitely pulled into the growing tension and unsettling circumstances the characters faced as the story unfolded.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I don't think the story really gave a character to favor, each personality was necessary and played well off the others.


    What does Corey Brill bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Well who doesn't like being read to right? But seriously, Corey Brill did an excellent job. Articulate and with a nice range of voices, it was easy to tell which character was speaking at any given time. Believable female voices too, which is always nice.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall I enjoyed the story. I would definitely read more horror from this author should he choose to publish more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maja wozniak 05-08-14
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    "Lots of animal abuse and violence"
    Would you try another book from Nick Cutter and/or Corey Brill?

    I really like the narrator, Corey Brill. His voice is very unique and I enjoyed it. However, I did not finish the book due to the content.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Nick Cutter again?

    Probably not. I'm not saying it's bad. It's just not the right subject for me. I perhaps am a little too sensitive and the constant violence and animal abuse made me upset and angry. I listen to audiobooks to escape, and this didn't do it for me at all. If you don't handle animals dying or being hurt in movies very well, STEER CLEAR of this book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Braine Dublin, Ireland 05-07-14
    John Braine Dublin, Ireland 05-07-14 Member Since 2010

    J.

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    "Solid"
    Any additional comments?

    I haven’t read a horror in years. This was a pretty good read though. Lord of the Flies meets World War Z tells you all you need to know. The narration was a tad over-baked in places though. He read every single line as if something terrifying was happening. Steady on, he’s just opening a tin of beans!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Doylestown, PA, United States 05-07-14
    Glenn Doylestown, PA, United States 05-07-14 Member Since 2011
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    "absolutely chilling story..."

    it is graphic
    it is chilling
    it is detail oriented
    and best of all...it is a well written adventure

    would highly recommend to everyone

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • jennifer
    alfreton, United Kingdom
    5/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Troop"

    I wish when I had purchased this book that there was reviews for it but there was not so I took chance, In a way I am glad I did because this was a horrific story just some innocent boy scouts going on a camping trip that turns into a total nightmare.The island they camp on is highly infected and they all have to fight for survival, the down side is the graphic detail of animal cruelty is more disturbing than anything if like myself you are a animal lover think twice about this book!
    Putting that aside though its a fantastic story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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