Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins in this frightening novel written in the bestselling traditions of Stephen King and Scott Smith.
Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.
Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.
“Lean and crisp and over-the-top….Disquieting, disturbing,” says Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan, The Troop is a visceral burn of a read that combines boldly drawn characters with a fantastically rendered narrative—a terrifying story you’ll never forget. – Goodreads.com
I was immediately intrigued by the description of this book and was looking forward to a good read. On that note, some parts were good, some not so much.
What I liked: The setting was perfect – boy scouts on a secluded island, a stranger shows up, chaos ensues, and they have no one to rely on but themselves. But can they trust each other? The bioengineered horror (I don’t want to give anything away) was a new approach and added a scientific element to the plot. I also enjoyed the rotation between what was currently happening and the court transcripts and reports during the aftermath of the island occurrences and the varying POV’s between the boys and the scoutmaster. The backstory on each boy was also helpful in explaining their personalities.
What I didn’t like: This book isn’t for the faint of heart. Give me gore, blood, guts, murders, etc. of people in any story – not an issue. But when it involves animals, it can be a problem for me. There were a few incidents of graphic animal abuse in this story and I just had to skim through those parts. The boys seemed pretty stereotypical – the jock, the nerd, the psychologically disturbed one, etc. The scoutmaster, Tim, supposedly a responsible, upstanding doctor in a small community who had worked with these boys for years, made some incredibly bad choices that seemed a little unbelievable for his character.
I’ve been a horror fan since the 3rd grade and if you’re into horror books and have no problem with animal abuse, this novel is enjoyable. Although the majority of characters in this book are 14, this is most definitely an adult book, so I don’t recommend this for younger readers. The Troop is scheduled to be published January 7, 2014.
This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.