Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Audio Review: The Troop
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book - this book is felt as much as it is read
Audio CD (uncertain of length)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Released: February 2014
If you're familiar with TNBBC, you know I typically don't review the 'big publishers' on this blog. Heck, I don't usually read the big publishers. But in the rare instances where one of their books catch my attention, I have no qualms with taking it up on audio and giving it a listen on my commute to and from work.
When Simon and Schuster initially pitched THE TROOP my way, I couldn't say no. It simply sounded too amazing to pass up. I explained my audio preference and within weeks (due to some issues I was having with the audio downloading from their site onto my pc) their publicist had burned a copy onto CD and shipped it over.
THE TROOP is a slow-burn horror novel that grows in the deepest, darkest parts of your gut. It sneaks up on you from behind, like the villain in a monster movie, tickling the hairs on the back of your neck with its rancid breath, sending horrible shivers down your spine. And the very moment you become aware of its presence is the moment you realize it's already too late...
Think Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins and you'll begin to understand the nightmare that is THE TROOP.
It all begins with five teenaged boys and their scout master, Tim, as they embark on a camping trip out on Prince Edward Island - an uninhabited body of land, complete with a cabin and very little else. At first, the group of boys get along fine, forgiving each other their differences under the friendly guidance of Tim. There's Ephriam and Max, BFF's for as long as they can remember; Kent, one of the most popular kids in school, who enjoys bossing the rest of the group around; Newton, the nerdiest of the bunch; and Shelly, quite possibly the most disturbed. As the boys settle in and prepare for their first night on the island, scout master Tim discovers someone else is there with them - an incredibly thin, incredibly ill, and insatiably hungry man. He knows there is something unnaturally wrong with the unwelcome visitor but is unable to stop himself from offering him help. Bringing the stranger back to the cabin kickstarts what is quite possibly the most mentally tormenting and physically assaulting book I've read in years.
As the unwell man infects the troop with the bioengineered horrors his body contains, life on the little island takes a turn towards survival-of-the what? The smartest? The fittest? With no means of escape, the boys begin to quickly turn on each other, and some even turn on themselves.
As I listened to the audio, I found myself driving my car with one hand wrapped around my throat, or covering my mouth, in horrified reaction to what was happening as narrator Corey Brill read Nick Cutter's words aloud. There were even moments where my finger hovered over the pause button, so close to ending the whole ordeal because I didn't think my stomach could handle it, but unable to do it because I had to know what would happen next.
Cutter did a great job of stretching out the tension by interspersing the main story with court hearing transcripts and scientific experiment logs that gave us a peek into the history (and future) of what, exactly, our troop was dealing with.
While not a book for the extremely sensitive or weak-stomached, I highly recommend this novel to anyone who craves a well written, gut wrenching horror story - one that will challenge them, one that will push them to their very limits, and stretch those limits further than they ever thought possible.