The Troop is a horrific, terrifying and brilliant tale exploring what happens when boys are forced to become men. Part horror, part psychological thriller, part sci-med, The Troop starts out with a small scout group and their scoutmaster taking a trip to a remote, deserted island, all seems normal until one night a man arrives, clearly ill. Tim the scoutmaster feels that it is his duty as a doctor to try to help the dying man without fully realising the horror incubating inside the stranger. Soon the evil emerges and starts to slowly work its way through the small group, who have no one but themselves to turn to for help.
The Troop is so captivating that even when you really feel like you can’t take anymore you keep reading. The actual infection (I will say no more) pales into insignificance compared to the palpable fear of the characters and the detailed exploration of their psyche as the situation shows the best and the worst of the teens. There is no shying away from the necessities of the situation, and there is no clear ‘hero’, each of the boys will do something they regret. The author cleverly weaves in reports from those on the mainland taken after the events in the book, which allows the reader to catch their breath and regroup, as well as showing us how futile the boy’s situation is. The final bid for survival and the last twist had me in tears and goose bumps respectively.
This is not the book for those with a weak constitution, there is an abundance of gore, with some very graphic descriptions, there is swearing, there is some sexual activity, there is self-mutilation. However, none of this should bother most adult thriller or horror readers enough to stop them reading. I did however draw the line at the very graphic descriptions of animal cruelty by one of the characters, and did have to skip over one particular part involving a kitten. Whilst completely fitting to the story, it did upset me. There are also descriptions of animal experimentation, but this is presented more clinically. If any of this bothers you, you may want to give The Troop a miss.Overall a horrifically good thriller that I recommend anyone with a strong stomach gives a go but not one for the kids.
The Troop is available for £7.99 from Amazon.co.uk and from Amazon.com.
[An ARC was provided by NetGalley]