The Troop by Nick Cutter

Published: January 7, 2014

Gallery Books

This title is available to read for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

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

“Forever friends, man. Until the very end of time.”

Scoutmaster Tim is taking his troop of five for a three-day camping trip on Falstaff Island, where they will hike and camp and then return home. The last thing Tim expected was the stranger. Now the five boys have to rely on the skills they have learned being a scout and hope it’s enough.

This is not necessarily the type of novel I usually read, but I am glad I chose this one. It’s a slow build, but once it takes off, it doesn’t slow down until the very end.

The main characters are fourteen-year-old boys, Kent, the bully, Max, the peacemaker, Newt, the tagalong, Shelley, the loaner, and Ephraim, the angry. Scoutmaster Tim is the town’s only doctor, but this should also mean he is the best person to lead these young men on their weekend in the wilderness.

I enjoyed how this story was told, and we get bits of each character’s backstory woven into the present and unfolding story. We feel a sense of understanding for each character almost immediately, and their personal stories only deepen that connection.

The scene is set on an uninhabited island. That is creepy enough, but being in a small group when tragedy strikes are equally as terrifying.

This was a scary story. And I enjoyed that the author focused on the story aspect and less on the scientific element when telling the story. There is so much humanity in this book. The brutal truth of what happens when the unthinkable puts you in a position to contemplate fight or flight.

The manner this tale is told was very clever, and the anticipation between chapters is quite intense. This is the first book I’ve read from this author, and I am impressed. A profoundly dark, thoroughly terrifying tale about friendship, humanity, choices, and survival: pack a bag, you’re about to take a trip.

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