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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars but With Reservations
I don't know what I can say about a novel that left me nauseous, skimming a lot of pages, bored at times, horrified at other times, hating some of the characters, yet unable to put it down until I knew who lived and how this all happened!

This book is going to appeal to several specific audiences. Teen boys are going to love this mixture of Stephen King and...
Published 8 months ago by Dianne E. Socci-Tetro

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars lord of the worms!
An excellent first half with a gripping premise - teenage boys alone on an island fighting for survival against the elements and a horrid viral parasite gives way to a rather disappointing second half which is really just a succession of body shock gore moments. The literal equivalent of a David Cronenbourg movie. The Lord of the flies style set up becomes a lot more like...
Published 2 months ago by David magowan


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars but With Reservations, 4 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Troop (Paperback)
I don't know what I can say about a novel that left me nauseous, skimming a lot of pages, bored at times, horrified at other times, hating some of the characters, yet unable to put it down until I knew who lived and how this all happened!

This book is going to appeal to several specific audiences. Teen boys are going to love this mixture of Stephen King and Lord of the Flies. Sociopaths and serial killers in training will adore parts of this novel. In addition, anyone who likes novels about tapeworms or any kind of worm being used for vanity drugs, then running amok will defiantly find this book to be right up their alley! This is not the first book of its kind lately, for example - Parasite (Parasitology), just the most horrific.

The story is a solid one. A mad scientist creates a worm as a vanity drug (and something just a little more we come to find out later in the novel). Loose weight and eat everything anytime you want, cure baldness and look younger over night! Hey, who wouldn't try something like this? The only thing it didn't claim to do was cure erectile dysfunction! However, the creation soon overtakes the test case and the test case gets loose and runs - straight into a Scouting camp filled with one adult and five 14-year-old boys who have many personal issues. This is taking place on a very small island off Prince Edward Island, Canada.
The author can be a little arcane, somewhat pedantic at times, and over-emotional at other times and that gets annoying quickly.

This book is going to appeal to many and enjoyed by even more!
Happy Reading! *ARC provided by publisher for review*
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A horror novel that will devour you..., 31 Mar 2014
By 
Chris Hall "DLS Reviews" (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Troop (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First published back in February of 2014, 'The Troop' formed the tenth novel by Canadian author Craig Davidson (under the pseudonym of Nick Cutter).

DLS Synopsis:
He was so very very hungry. Thirty-five-year-old Thomas Padgett was on the run, but oh how he had to eat...and keep on eating. He knew he had something inside of him, but his instincts still told him to get away. To keep running. To find somewhere where he could hide. And the tiny jut of rock that formed Falstaff Island, located eleven miles off the northern coast of Prince Edward Island, seemed just the place.

But Padgett wasn't the only one on Falstaff Island that night. Forty-two-year-old Scoutmaster Tim Riggs had brought his scout troop to the island for three days of survival training. Troop Fifty-Two, the Eagle Scout Troop, which consisted of five fourteen-year-old boys all of which were under his charge. Five boys he had known since they were just five. Five boys he would look after and protect at all costs.

But when Padgett appears from out of nowhere, looking desperately malnourished and suffering from some critical illness, Riggs feels torn between his duty to his scout troop and his obligation as Prince Edward's only medical practitioner.

Compromising, Riggs brings the severely ill man into the cabin where they are staying; purposefully segregating the man from his young troop. However, the man seems ferociously hungry. Consuming whatever he can, the arrival of this near-crazed newcomer is deeply worrying for Riggs. The horrifically emaciated figure seems sick in a way he has never seen before. A sickness that could well prove to be contagious. But he has to do what he could for him.

And then, in a moment of unprovoked violence, the man destroys the cabin's radio. The only form of communication Riggs and his Scout Troop has with the mainland. Furthermore, the boat they have moored-up on the island's shore isn't starting. The realisation that they're stuck on the island for the foreseeable future doesn't take long to set in. But regardless of this, first Riggs must at least try to help his dying patient.

With whatever equipment he can gather from inside the cabin, Riggs attempts to perform surgery on the man's swollen stomach to release the obvious pressure that is mounting in there. But what comes out from the small incision is something beyond Riggs' worst nightmares. What slithers and squirms out from the dying man's gut is beyond anything that Riggs thought possible.

And now Riggs thinks he might have become infected by whatever it was that was in the man. He's beginning to feel strange. He's beginning to feel deeply unwell. He's beginning to feel hungry...

DLS Review:
What we have here is one of those horror novels that consumes the reader within minutes of embarking upon its terrifying plot; one that after the final page has been turned leaves a lasting mark on the reader. It's one of those utterly engrossing tales that delivers such an absolutely nightmarish storyline, that it creeps under your skin for its entire duration - like a worm burrowing deeper and deeper under the tender surface of your skin.

From early on the novel reads like a cross between William Golding's 'Lord Of The Flies' (1954) and Richard Laymon's 'Flesh' (1987) - with a very Stephen King-esque storytelling quality to it. Throw in some Adam Baker style scenes of flesh corruption ala 'Outpost' (2011) with some seriously squirm-inducing scenes of visceral gore, and you've got a winning combination for an absolute beast of a horror novel.

The driving horror behind the plot doesn't so much as creep into the tale as it does meet the reader head-on - with the first handful of chapters getting the tale right into the thick of the developing dilemma whilst simultaneously raising all hell around our small troop of fourteen-year-old scouts.

The characters are all very much like something Stephen King would pen. In a nutshell Cutter (aka Craig Davidson) has isolated one adult (the down-to-earth-and-thoroughly-responsible Scoutmaster Tim Riggs) on an island with the five fourteen-year-old boys he's responsible for. Of these boys you have Kent Jenks (a stereotypical jock with more brawn than brains), Ephraim Elliot (a young lad brimming with barely suppressed anger at the world), Max Kirkwood (pretty much a run-of-the-mill young lad who enjoys the companionship of his friends), Newton Thornton (a natural geek carrying more than a few extra pounds of weight) and Shelley Longpre (a worrying boy who seemed void of all human emotions). Indeed, in this well-selected collection of characters, Cutter has created a group rich with potential for character-to-reader engagement.

Once the plot has been established and the horror revealed for all to see, Cutter embarks upon a tale that twists and turns at every opportunity; building upon the nightmare that has rooted itself on the isolated island with the vigour and imaginative flare of an author who is so obviously enjoying scaring the hell out of his readers. And dear god does it deliver the gut-churning goods with an astonishing gusto.

Throughout the length of the tale Cutter throws in chapters that provide brief snippets of information from `after the event'. Magazine articles, interviews, formal questioning of key military personnel, news headlines - a whole host of intriguing glimpses into what had happened in the calm hindsight of the aftermath. And with these snippets of information so carefully interspersed between the chapters of the unfolding tale, the reader's horror-hungry-appetite is maintained at a constantly whetted state.

Even with all its manic horror and grotesque gore, the novel still hangs on to that 'Lord Of The Flies' (1954) character-driven-cum-coming-of-age-gone-berserk backbone. It's constantly there at the very forefront of the storyline, and the tale is far the richer and more satisfying for it. Cutter has managed to keep together an impactful (and by god is it impactful) horror novel that keeps the reader engaged with the characters' interaction with each other as much as the main horror aspect of the tale. Furthermore, the injection of an emotionally-driven 'Cannibal Holocaust' (1980) style scene, whereby two of the characters are confronted with death and suffering in all its most hard-hitting starkness, is more moving than you would have thought possible in a novel of this nature.

This is one that all lovers of visceral horror will not want to miss. A truly breath-taking descent into a disturbing abyss of nightmarish horror.

The novel runs for a total of 355 pages.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking read - not for the squeamish!, 29 Oct 2014
By 
Shazjera (Bournemouth) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Troop (Paperback)
I loved the format of The Troop with newspaper clippings, interviews and testimonials which meant I could concentrate on what was happening to the boys on the island but also find out about the background and at relevant times, clues.

The boy’s personalities and the hierarchy of Troop 52 are easy to identify with, no matter your gender, age or nationality. This makes it easy to be drawn into the story and feel emotionally involved.

The descriptions are very graphic (not for anyone squeamish). I must admit that at times I wanted to put the story down but felt compelled to carry on. You can feel what is coming but it doesn’t make any difference to experiencing what is happening.

The science behind the crisis is very creative. I thought it was a believable plot.

There was plenty of tension for me although I was also fascinated with the surreal experiences. Who would be next? At one point I really wanted to find out if there were any survivors and if so, who. I had my favourites and I was rooting for them … If there were any survivors, how would life be affected? Would you be able to function on a normal level?

After I had finished the story, I spent time thinking about everything we knew, everything that happened, and all the emotions involved - not just for those on the island but families on the mainland and even military personnel.

The Troop is a story that once you start to read, you just have to carry on to the conclusion. The conclusion … leaves you thinking!

One for you to read on these dark nights to fire your imagination and keep you awake!

I would like to thank Bookbridgr for providing a paperback copy in exchange for an honest review. -

See more at: http://jerasjamboree.weebly.com/blog#sthash.uOL5qIkY.dpuf
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and gruesome.. but it's not all about the gore!, 14 Aug 2014
By 
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This review is from: The Troop (Kindle Edition)
OK so I nearly didn't read this book! I saw some of the other readers had likened it to Lord of the Flies which instantly put me off. I hated that book as I couldn't connect with any of the characters and spent most of the book wishing that they would all die. Harsh I know! This book is TOTALLY different to Lord of the Flies; OK so there are a group of kids stranded on an island without adults but that's pretty much where the similarities stop. I am pleased that I decided to read it despite my initial trepidation as I really liked it.

The characters are really well developed and there are a nice mix of personalities. I particularly liked how their back stories were weaved in to the story line in little snippets which helped to firm up their characters.

In the author's acknowledgements at the end, he mentions King's Carrie and how it influenced this book. Obviously, the story is nothing like it but the similarity is that he uses newspaper articles, lab reports, therapy journals and court hearing details at the end of each chapter to help fill in the reader on the chain of events prior to and after the main thread of the story. These additions also gave the reader little hints at what might be to come which obviously made me want to read on to see.

The book was pretty descriptive and there was a lot of guts spilled, people eating bugs, and cutting things open etc. so if you have a delicate stomach you might not enjoy this book very much. It isn't just a gore-fest though. As I've already mentioned, the characters are well developed, the plot and suspense throughout is good and I loved the ambiguous ending.

I read it in fits and starts though while reading other books and I think it detracted from the experience. When I got in to it, I wanted to keep reading but then when I put it aside, I wasn't overly fussed about coming back to it. Overall I liked the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping mix of psychological and parasitic horror, 2 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Troop (Kindle Edition)
The Troop is a gripping mix of psychological and parasitic horror that will leave you wincing at some of the descriptions and rooting for some of the protagonists faced with overwhelming odds, my skins crawling just thinking back to those little f**kers at the guts of this story.

Five boy scouts and their scout master head of too Falstaff Island for a weekend of camping, sleeping in a cabin, earning their badges, the usual stuff but for the unplanned arrival of a boat and a man who is barely a skeleton, desperate for something to eat, suffering dementedly at the hands of something unthinkable.

Pretty soon the man’s dead, the scout leaders showing similar symptoms and survival rests in the hands of five young teenagers.

This is all about what the fourteen year old stereotypical boys do when faced with an unseen disaster, how each of the different personalities respond to extremely disturbing circumstances and the realization that no one’s coming to rescue them.

Kent is the jock with a mouth to match his athletic ability and self-elected leader, Ephraim or Eff, is the short-tempered rebel, the only boy in their grade who smokes and he hangs out with close friend Max, who finds himself dragged along in his wake. Max has a remoteness that sets himself apart from the others, a cool self-control that will see him spring to the forefront when adversity slaps them in the face.
Newton is the overweight nerd with a superior intellect, who attracts the boy’s torments like a wasp homing in on your ice cream and Shelley is the loner, a budding sociopath who has an uncanny ability to open doors in people and manipulate them, he soon finds the perfect opportunity to realise his darkest dreams.

Events on the Island are entwined with news reports, evidence logs and sworn testimony from various sources, leaking information about the horror’s that the boy’s face from the viewpoint of the outside world.

My favourite part of the story was the character development of the two boys Shelley and Ephraim, Shelley shows all the makings of a serial killer in training, a psychotic individual who homes in on Ephraim, subtle at first, sowing seeds of doubt in the fellow scout’s mind, festering, playing with his temper and worming deeper, exploiting his psyche, his weaknesses.

The Troop is a disturbing read, the horror elements are done exceptionally well and the pace is consuming and I’ll end on one of my favourite quotes from the book –

‘He couldn't get a grip on his sudden fear: it slipped through the safety bars of his mind and threaded—wormed—into the shadowy pockets where nightmares grew’.

Recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Body Horror Book!, 27 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Troop (Kindle Edition)
I like gooey, disturbing horror. I like all sorts of horror, as long as it's done right and as long as it does the things it's supposed to do for the genre or even the sub genre. So this one was a mashup of The Thing and The Ruins and boy's adventure novels. It was a trip. Highly recommended. Lovers of David Cronenberg and people who are icked out by things happening to the human body will love (or I guess hate) this book. Looking forward to reading more of this guy's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's something spooky in the woods..., 15 May 2014
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Troop (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A boy scout troop and some sinister/horrific/frightening things going on.

Well-written and not bad at all, m'lud - plus it comes with the obligatory hyperbolic blurb from the master, Stephen King.

For horror fans everywhere.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sort of "Lord of the Flies" meets "The Stand" cleverly bundled for the Facebook generation, 20 Feb 2014
By 
Cartimand (Hampshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Troop (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Troop is a very well written thriller that combines stomach-churning (quite literally!) horror with more psychological thrills, as the façade of civilisation melts away when our isolated protagonists are faced with the deadly threat of a mysterious contagion.

Nick Cutter gets into the skin of all the main players very effectively and I found the individual characters and the brutal camaraderie of the scouts were particularly well depicted. Their conversations, often centring around the adolescent staples of girls and scatological humour, felt utterly convincing and generated a few welcome blackly comic moments between the elements of grand guignol excess. For make no mistake, this is pretty strong material, including plenty of wince-making anatomical horror and other nasty stuff, which I should warn, includes cruelty to animals.

Cutter's use of language throughout is worthy of note, with many an inventive and entertaining use of simile and metaphor. There are plenty of hat-tips to the Internet-savvy to enjoy along the way too.

Only criticism? Well perhaps that I felt the main theme was exposed too early and things may have worked better by building the tension slowly and then hitting the reader with a nasty surprise. Furthermore, none of the characters come over as particularly sympathetic so, if you like a story with clearly demarcated heroes, you may struggle here. But what do I know?

No big deal though. If you enjoy the survivalist and/or horror genre of novel, then The Troop rattles along at a helluva pace, is a compelling page-turner and is certainly well worth adding to your reading list.

It would also make a great horror movie! *

* Provided no animals were harmed during the making of.
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3.0 out of 5 stars lord of the worms!, 21 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Troop (Kindle Edition)
An excellent first half with a gripping premise - teenage boys alone on an island fighting for survival against the elements and a horrid viral parasite gives way to a rather disappointing second half which is really just a succession of body shock gore moments. The literal equivalent of a David Cronenbourg movie. The Lord of the flies style set up becomes a lot more like Stephen king's splendid Dreamcatcher as it develops and it is clear that was who the author was channelling whilst writing this book. Having said that, he is clearly a hugely talented author with some acutely well observed characters. I am keen to read something more from him, which is hopefully less derivative because he clearly has a lot of skill.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD REASON TO BECOME A SCOUT???, 26 April 2014
By 
Greggorio! (Amazing Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Troop (Paperback)
If you excuse the corneyism of this opening sentence, this book reads like a teenage horror fan's dream. Which as everyone knows, is a nighmare. *grins*

A battalion of boy scouts are given the luxury of a trip to an isolated island for a heightened "learning experience" but what they get out of the trip is way beyond everyone's expectations, including those of the reader.

The horror starts to unfold when the leader hears noises after sunset when the scouts are put to bed, knowing that they should be alone on the island. It turns out that the noises are caused by an emancipated looking individual who approaches the scouts dwelling as if he is about to expire from starvation. (Or he already has?) The leader takes pity on the "thing" given his humanitarian beliefs, and allows it to enter and eat at the hut.

What happens you will need to find out for yourself. *grins*

The writing from the author of thus work (Nick Cutter, which is not his real name) is perfectly balanced. It is not too wordy and the story moves along at a decent pace. Not too fast, and not too slow. Characterisation is excellent. Tension is set right up to maximum. Horror scenes are beautifully drawn and overall the tale itself is very frightening. Given the calibre of people who have supported this book, I am not surprised.

Four stars for this effort from me. Looking forward to reading more scary stuff from this author.

BFN Greggorio!
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