17 June 2015

The Troop, by Nick Cutter (Audio Review)

I just finished Nick Cutter's The Troop and... and... I...

Without a doubt, this is probably the most stomach-churning, disturbing, and yet totally fascinating story I've read in a while. Even more so because each tough scene was spoken by the very creepy and capable Corey Brill, who was a new-to-me narrator.

Scoutmaster Tim takes five boys every year to a Canadian island to practice survival and wilderness skills, and each time Max, Newt, Shelley, Ephraim and Kent continue their friendship and build memories to last a lifetime. They didn't realize that on this very boat ride to the island, it would be the last one they would all take. Someone, or maybe something, else will be on the island that will change all of their lives.

Told in alternating time periods when the boys first arrived on the island with interviews and articles taken and written after the events on Falstaff Island, The Troop is a horror-filled tale of total and systemic destruction of life, sanity and friendships. When a skinny yet terrifyingly hungry man arrives on the secluded island, Scoutmaster Tim does his best to help the stranger, using his medical skills to treat his unusual patient. He doesn't realize that he's unleashed a disease, a contagious sickness so debilitating that it quickly reduces a person to one very simple, primal urge. Unbeknownst to them, this quiet and thin newcomer carried a man-made weapon that could destroy them all.

This is Lord of the Flies on crack, the even more disturbing and disgusting version. Even Stephen King blurbed, "The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night." And he's right. This was horror, through and through, and like the cliched "can't look away from the accident" feeling, I could not stop hitting the play button on my iPhone every chance I got, even though the majority of the story made me cringe and cock my head to try to half-hear some of the truly tough scenes of simplistic annihilation of this sickness. In a lot of ways, this also reminded me of The Ruins, by Scott Smith, particularly one scene that I still remember and which also immediately jumped into my mind when Ephraim was left alone with Shelley, the psychopathic of the group. My heart hurt for them all. (Well, all of them except Shelley.)

This was my first time listening to Corey Brill and it won't be my last. While it took me about twenty minutes or so to get used to the staccato like rhythm of his cadenced narration in some parts, I got used to it and thoroughly enjoyed the story told in his voice. I'll likely pick up The Deep in audio soon to carry on with the horror.

FTC Disclosure: I purchased this audiobook through my Audible.com membership. Click here to listen to the sample.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: 02/25/14
Audio Time: 11 hours, 2 minutes
Narrator: Corey Brill

About the Author
Nick Cutter is the pseudonym of an acclaimed Canadian novelist who has been compared to Stephen King and Chuck Palahniuk.

Visit the author:
About the Narrator
Corey Brill is a theatre, television and film actor living in Los Angeles. He's got so much to his background that I'd suggest you visit him: