Those of you who like me have any involvement with The Scouts will know all to well the horrors of going away on a Scout Camp. Camping in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by lots of smell spotty kids, the thought of something straight out of a horror movie finding your camp and working it's way through the kids is one that will come to you every night.
So when Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boy scouts into the Canadian wilderness, he will live the dream that all Scoutmasters secretly dream of.......
The Troop is what I like to call a Columbo novel you know right from the first page that everyone of the Scouts is doomed. With Columbo the enjoyment came not from discovering who the murderer was, but from watching the story unfold as Columbo went about his investigation. The Troop despite playing it's hand early on, still manages to be one hell of an entertaining novel.
The Troop, is horror boiled down to its most purest form, with a narrative that screams out for a film treatment, this book will literally get under your skin. Don't be fooled this is not a novel for those of you with a weak disposition, this one of the grossest main stream novels I have ever read. That's not say that this is page after page of horrible descriptions of Scouts being violently killed, that in itself would just get boring. Holding all this carnage together is an intelligent narrative structure.
Cutter keeps the reader hooked, with a tight and descriptive narrative style. There are some neat touches, such as interspersing the story with interviews from Scientist, police and witnesses. A nice touch as it grounds the over the top grossness of the action in reality.
What prevents this book from being a total all out winner is Cutter's use of well worn and slightly lazy ciphers for the Scouts. There's the Jock, The Nerd, and The Fat one. No while I understand the need to have characters that individual characteristics, it would be have been nice to have ones that weren't your typical bog standard horror fare.
Which is a pity as The Troop really had the potential of being the horror event of the year, based upon the strength of the narrative, and Cutters excellent descriptions of death and destruction.
The Troop is still a worthy novel, and I would recommend that you seek it out, it succeeds brilliantly in scares and thrills department, it's just let down by a poor cast.
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