I’m continuing to venture through horror novel territory, and this week I was absolutely delighted, and then creeped and freaked out the further I got into it, to read The Troop by Canadian author Nick Cutter.
Set on Falstaff island, a tiny little tuft of land just off the north shore of Prince Edward Island, the book plunges the reader into true terror, and keeps the pages turning as the story unnerves, frightens and entertains brilliantly.
A group of young boys, Kent, Newton, Ephraim, Max, Shelley and their scoutmaster, Tim. They are spending the weekend on Falstaff island working on merit badges, and having a good time together. Each of the characters has their own personality, and a number of them seemed familiar to my own youth, and one of them blatantly terrified me.
Into this little group comes a lone man, an ill man, a hungry man, and what follows is a horrifying ride that gave me a visceral reaction as I was reading it. I don’t want to give too much away, and if you can avoid learning more about it before you read it (or see it, apparently there is a film in development).
Discovering Cutter’s work, I can say he’s earned himself a new fan. Reading this novel and the effect it had on me put me in mind of the time I first read Clive Barker’s Books of Blood and the way it got under my skin. The Troop did exactly the same thing to me. And it’s a story that is going to stay with me, and fire the imagination on a fairly regular basis.
He also reminds us that kids can be hurt too, they aren’t safe just because we can’t believe a storyteller would put them in such horrid danger. Cutter does that with aplomb, and you just can’t believe some of the things that happen. I found myself cringing and shaking my head a number of times throughout the course of the book.
It’s so good! So frightening! So gross!! I couldn’t put it down.
And I don’t mean frightening as in boo! scared ya! I mean frightening because of the things that happen, and the realization that it’s not entirely impossible.
There really is a fantastic new wave of horror out there, if you know where to look for and find it, and Cutter has now find himself on my radar, and I cannot wait to find another book by him, and there are a couple that have already caught my interest!
Have you read The Troop? Do you have any other horror recommendations? Let me know!!