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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

316 of 324 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Mild spoilers

I am going to post some mild spoilers, but nothing super major that would ruin the story.

The narrator was perfect for this type of story. He had a voice that really captured a story being told by a campfire.

The story has some gross moments. I am going to leave some words here, just in case you may not be able to handle it: Animal cruelty, anal prolapse, parasites. If you cannot handle stories involving those words, do not buy this book. Being honest, I had to skip over some of the "animal" moments. What happened to the humans didn't bother me as much as the description of those scenes.

At points, the descriptions of what was happening did turn my stomach, but I kept reading because I needed to know what happened. Overall, it wasn't that bad of a horror story, even with stereotypical characters and tropes. I will have to see what other Nick Cutter stories are out there.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Read if you like gross books

Fixation on worms with unnecessarily gross and detailed, drawn out description of injury, violence, decay, etc. stomach turning....

60 of 63 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Slow and Devoid of Real Scares

The Troop is, at its core, the literary equivalent of torture porn. The novel is filled with wildly overlong descriptions of scenes that only exist to gross out the reader/listener. Cutter, who can be a very good writer, judging by the chapters in novel that are interviews with secondary characters, uses the most amateurish tactics to try and get under the listener's skin. Instead of creating suspense, he murders helpless animals. The animal killings are described in slow, painfully boring detail. The story to takes a screeching halt for these scenes.

Worst of all, the book feels like a patchwork quilt consisting of scenes from horror movies. Without spoiling anything, I felt like I was listening to descriptions of scenes from Alien, the Thing, Cabin Fever and Resident Evil. Even the main characters were stock children from a million different movies. Big jock, fat nerd, creepy skinny kid. There are two others, but only of those two has any dimension.

I can't recommend The Troop to anyone. It's a very slow, very dull, very forgettable read. I loved the few chapters that were interviews and I wish Cutter has written the entire book like this, but unfortunately, he decided to go for the lowest common denominator and write endless gross-out scenes that drag in to nowhere.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Pretty thin

I wasn’t put off by all of the gore which I expected after reading the reviews however the story itself was pretty thin (no pun intended). I heard it described elsewhere as a cross between Stephen King and Hannibal Lecter which I guess is a pretty apt description however I did find some of the narratives gratuitous. Held my attention mostly because I wanted to find out how it ended but I really couldn’t give it more than 3 stars.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Lord of the Flies + Battle Royale + The Ruins =...

First and foremost, I didn't hate this book even though I gave the story 2 stars. I love Nick Cutter's writing - some people claim that he goes off on too many "tangents," but for me those flashbacks helped create three-dimensional characters whose memories and experiences influence their every decision, making them that much more believable. That being said, the plot definitely borrowed from a lot of existing works and I was pretty bummed about it. I'm a huge horror fan and have devoured a ton of movies/books and the plot of The Troop ended up seeming like a mash-up of a few existing motifs (***SPOILER*** early psychopathic behavior = killing small animals, cutting flesh to get parasites out, psychopath given free reign to kill peers in isolated location without repercussions, boys left to fend for themselves on a deserted island, etc) ***END SPOILER***

I listened to Little Heaven first (which I enjoyed immensely) and this book had been recommended to me for a few weeks, so I dove in. Two important trigger warnings that I wish I'd known before purchasing this book:

1. Animal cruelty. There are 2 scenes that are so graphic and heartbreaking that I had to skip them - even though I skipped most of them I so badly wish I could un-hear what I heard. I'm a huge animal lover, and there was some animal cruelty in Little Heaven as well, so I'm a bit wary of listening to this author's other works even though I do enjoy his writing style.

2. Parasitic worms. I had a phobia of tapeworms when I was younger, and some of the scenes in this book made me nauseous.

All that said, I did finish this book in just two days. I quite liked the characters, ending, and how the main narrative was interspersed with interviews and news articles pertaining to the events of the story. The narration by Corey Brill was fantastic, (though not as good as his work in Little Heaven in my opinion). The two trigger warnings I mentioned & the somewhat trite/expected/been-done-before motifs earned this books story 2 stars, but I don't regret listening to it - though I probably won't listen to it again.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

JOSEPF MENGELE 2.0

ISLAND WOMEN WERE LIKE CHRISTMAS TREES, NOBODY WANTED THEM AFTER THE 25TH.
This is a gruesome story, not the grossest I have ever read, but it was up there. I like mad scientist and I like biology gone wild, so this was a great book for me. It was a great look at the kind of kids who are in scouts these days and most kids were good, but!!. The story about the tape worms was not gory enough Cutter brought in a few evil characters.

The only complaint I would have is I believe it dragged on a little long. The children or people that are killed are killed one at a time, which takes a long time and we get a background on all the kids. Edit out about two hours and this would have been much better. It is still a five star listen.

91 of 103 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lesley
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 03-27-14

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.

69 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Holy M#$_F-++-&g Head Trip

So I'm not one to normally use profanity on an Amazon review, but I hope I have your attention now. This book is NOT for the week stomached, or week minded.
It's horror all right and when Stephen King said it scared the piss out of him oh he wasn't kidding. Not because of Monsters or Boogie Men and not because of Serial Killers or Mad Men but because of things you don't think of, at least not daily. All the same they are there, everyday, with us, within us, not just the proverbial "us" but actually within YOU! NO matter how many times you shower, how clean you think you keep your system, how healthy you eat, much you wash your hands. This truth is WHY this book terrified even Stephen King, and made Clive Barker tell nyt bsl i couldn't finish, and this is what my nightmare dream about. if your like me and thought you could never find an intellectual, engaging, captivating, book that also took you so far over the edges of horror, science, gore, that you're mind snaps line a twin into the ground from which same said twig once grew. This is your read.
But BE WARNED: when I say gore I'm not talking zombies chewing on intestines. I'm so far past the intensity and mental darkness of that concept it almost seems "rainbow bright" ish, and when I say mental twists and breaking you down into darkness beyond typical "dark" books *breath* *shallow laugh* I'm not talking incest, child molestation, rape, prostitution, enslavement, serial killing by genocidal governments. go. deep. er.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Horrifying version of Lord of the Flies!

The easiest way to describe this book is to say it was a more creepy and horrifying version of Lord of the Flies. Very detailed and oh so interesting! The narrator did a fantastic job. There were definitely some parts that made me cringe and made my stomach churn. There were a couple short scenes of animal torture that made me want to pull away, but I felt they added to the book and definitely helped me to better understand certain characters and situations. It really added to the uneasiness and dread brought on by the story. If you are looking for a good horror/thriller about a group of young boys trying to survive on an isolated island, definitely check this book out. This was my first Nick Cutter book and I cant wait to read more!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jennifer
  • 05-10-14

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kendra Masonchuck
  • 03-02-15

Brilliantly horrific

This was a great horror story which reminded me of The Lord Of The Flies mixed with a dash of Dreamcatcher. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who can't handle animal cruelty (there is a fair amount of it) but this was by no means a bad book. It's highly disturbing but well written and hard to put down. I liked that there was no main character in the book and that every character got their own time in the narration spotlight. It was interesting to know what each person was feeling and thinking and it also meant there was no way to know who would live or die. At some points, the author delves into the mind-workings of a sociopathic character which I found to be just as disturbing as the main events of the story.

I wasn't too fond of the interviews, logs, and police documents that were interspersed between chapters though. I get that they were supposed to give the listener a better understanding about how the circumstances on the island came to be (and some of them were good) but many were just outright tedious and took away from the main story at times.

At first I wasn't too keen on Corey Brill's semi-monotone narration, but it soon added to the creepy feel of the story and his portrayal of certain characters was chilling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Martin
  • 11-11-14

A bit disturbing, but hard to stop listening.

Not sure I would want to say this was a book I "enjoyed"... It was certainly a very good story that kept me listening. BUT There is lot of pretty graphic description in there, which I don't usually mind and would not usually comment on as such. Occasionally seemed a little bit unnecessary. Without spoilers, at one point a sea animal has to be killed for food, the long slow brutal death is described in a lot of detail, it is not easy listening. I very nearly stopped listening at that point finding it a bit too drawn out and unpleasant for comfort. That said it is a credit to the writer and the narrator that this is the first time I have ever felt like stopping listening to a book as the description of a death was making me feel uncomfortable as it was so realistic. Not sure I would like to spend long inside the writers mind to be honest though, think it might be a dark place! Usually I just zip past the deaths in a story without a second thought. Its a good story, a very good story, but also disturbing - a bit like lord of the flies, with a very gruesome infectious disease and a fledgling serial killer thrown in just for good measure - maybe a bit of "the wasp factory" in there as well. If they ever make a movie of this, I expect it will be seriously edited by the censors. You need a bit of a strong stomach for this one ;) I find this really hard to give 5 stars to as its was sometimes disturbing listening - but then feel I have to give it 5 stars as it really did make me react in a way not many books have done... OK 5 stars then - but with the note that I didn't like it!?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark H.
  • 02-14-18

Great

Far more heart in this story than I expected. Not just shock and gory. Like Stand By Me but with more gore.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M. N. Baker
  • 10-26-16

Glued to it from the first chapter

Echoes of early Stephen King rein supreme in this brilliant thriller/horror. With wonderful characterisation and truly horrific scene setting this book will not disappoint. Nick Cutters use of teenage innocence in an adult world is utterly mesmerising. Not for the faint of heart but a true horror classic

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • richard
  • 12-24-16

Great body horror

Loved this book, looking at how people try to survive something they don't understand. Yes, it is very gory, but the author does a great job in putting us in the mindset of the kids. Be it struggling to survive or killing insects for the fun of it.

As I said, it is a great horror book with great writing that really puts you into the moment. If you like horror books and have a strong stomach, I cannot recommend this enough!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kellie Grealy
  • 12-16-17

Very graffic and can be uncomfortable

This one is not for the faint heart for sure as said by Mr King. But it was so very interesting and I loved the characters. Great concept, read at your own risk.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julia
  • 11-14-17

Scary Camping Trip

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.

Until a stranger bring a virus to their camp which infects the scouts and the nightmare begins, trapped on the island with no way off the boys have to learn and put into practice true survival skills whilst waiting to be rescued

A good scary story that will keep you wanting more and great narration. Not recommended for the squeamish.
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Toaster
  • 11-12-15

Absolutly Chilling

There hasn't been many moments as a bookophile that i have broken out in goosebumps but i certainly did during 'The Troop'. If Chuck Palahniuk wrote Lord of the Flies after watching 'Cabin Fever' you might come close to what Nick Cutter achieved here. Outstanding.