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The Troop

Written by: Nick Cutter
Narrated by: Corey Brill
Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (121 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Once every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip - a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfre. The boys are a tight-knit crew. There’s Kent, one of the most popular kids in school; Ephraim and Max, also well-liked and easygoing; then there’s Newt the nerd and Shelley the odd duck. For the most part, they all get along and are happy to be there - which makes Scoutmaster Tim’s job a little easier. But for some reason, he can’t shake the feeling that something strange is in the air this year. Something waiting in the darkness. Something wicked...

It comes to them in the night. An unexpected intruder, stumbling upon their campsite like a wild animal. He is shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry - a man in unspeakable torment who exposes Tim and the boys to something far more frightening than any ghost story. Within his body is a bioengineered nightmare, a horror that spreads faster than fear. One by one, the boys will do things no person could ever imagine.

And so it begins. An agonizing weekend in the wilderness. A harrowing struggle for survival. No possible escape from the elements, the infected...or one another.

©2013 Nick Cutter (P)2014 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about The Troop

Average Customer Ratings
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Gory with lots of animal cruelty

I didn't finish this. I was so tired of readying gross stories about awful things happening to innocent animals. I looked up the ending and I'm glad I didn't listen to the last 3 hours. What a depressing book.

2 people found this helpful

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This is a mess

This book started strong enough. It started on PEI. So, for once I actually knew the landmarks and setting locations quite well. It went downhill from about there. THE STORY: Tonally and thematically, I don't think this book knows what it wants to be. It is technically written fine, but it tries to be a mixture of so many different pieces of media that it loses itself and becomes this homogenized mess of mediocrity. This is mystery, mixed with science fiction, mixed with drama, mixed with children of the corn, mixed with boring. It all felt so forced and awkward. That's why I don't want to say the book is well written. I don't think it is. But the book is at least competently written. The proper things are used in the proper places. They just aren't good. The words and grammar are good, but nothing special. The writer uses a set up and pay off, but blink and you'll miss it. The characters, all of them, are unlikable. Things just happen, because. Everything that happens in the book is just too absurd to take seriously. Near the end of the book there is a literal super villain monologue about how the worms will inherit the earth. Like, nobody in the book is real, and the really don't feel real. THE GORE: There were two reason I bought this book. I really wanted something really intense and this book had both great reviews, and terrified comments. Most of the good comments were saying how gross the book was, how graphic. And the negative reviews were saying the same thing, but that it was too much. Well, I am pretty sure all the reviews were written by the children in this book, and have no life experience. By the end of part one, I was still waiting for this horrific, scary, skin crawling book to start. All I had at that point was a group of semi dysfunctional boys, and the plot of Futurama where Fry eats the truck stop sandwich. And it was a slog to get that far. Near the end of part two, and the end of the book, I came to a realization. This book wasn't going to get good. The book tries to go into excruciating detail about the things that happen in the book, but that is the only excruciating part. It drags scenes out for pages and pages, thinking it is making us squirm. One such instance is when they kill an animal for food, and the process of killing the animal is "so horrific", and "nothing like the movies". In the movies it is quick, but in real life there is blood and stuff, and things suffer if they aren't killed quickly, etc etc. Well, yea. What did you think? I can understand the characters sort of not getting that, but the reader should live in reality and know "stabbing an animal and watching it slowly suffer to death" is a bad thing. So, it seems stupid for it to be a character moment, and we should already know so it comes off as just really terribly slowly paced pages upon pages of us finding out it was a bad thing. It would be like reading "and we watching my grandmother burn in her rocking chair for five minutes", while graphically explaining how her skin sloughs off. And on the final page of the scene they come to the realization that "Fire is indeed hot". The other "graphic" stuff is mostly medical stuff (and explained as such, which doesn't make it overly gross or anything), or about worms. And yup, worms are gross, but that is about it. They aren't scary, and there really isn't any crazy body horror or slasher moments. Honestly, I think if you've ever lived on a farm (or owned a pet, or walked in the woods, or watched a medical documentary, or had kids, or...) then you've seen far worse than what most of this book has to offer. THE KIDS: I will keep this short. The kids are dreadful. But honestly, so is every character in the book. They start out as a group of young boys who are more or less friends. But they aren't friends, because these people know nothing about each other. These people aren't good people, but nobody in the group seems to know. Like one kid is comparable to Ted Bundy, with detailed scenes of him rubbing his dong because he is so hard from the violence, but nobody knows. Everyone is made of rubber. Being one character type in this scene, but another in another scene. "I am cowardly, I am brave now, but now abused, and now...". And when we get to witness the story from their point of view, it never feels right. It feels like an adult wrote some dialogue, then went and watched some kids be boys for a while (insults, gross out, stupid stuff). They then incorporated that into the story and said "there, characters". But the characters all being unlikable, on top of being just completely off the walls, combined with the story that does the same (one story now, but now I'm this story...) makes this book feel bloated with bad things. This book has worms.

2 people found this helpful

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If you're into detailed animal abuse

Didn't even finish listening... Lots of detailed animal abuse that I couldnt listen to.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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I wanted to like it

From all the reviews I really thought I would like it. Just terrible. No real story, just gross scene after gross scene.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Kept me listening!

I really enjoyed this story. I found myself making extra time during my day, and before going to bed, so that I could listen to it more. I was prepared for the gross/gore factor from reading the reviews. It didn't bother me - I read and watch a lot of horror. But be aware that it certainly is very prevalent throughout the entire story, both to do with animals and humans. The narrator was pretty good, although I found there wasn't a lot of variation between the different characters' voices. It didn't keep me from enjoying the book though.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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good story, okay voice actor

l really liked the story alot, it kept me wanting to listen to more. The reason I give it three stars is because the author went into too much detail when describing gore and animals being gruesomely killed. I had to skip ahead because i couldn't listen to it. I can't say he wrote it badly though because it was a horror novel and some gore is to be expected. That being said, he was very good with his descriptions and painting pictures in your head.

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Too much animal cruelty

The book was ok, very interesting story and mostly ok characters. There was far too much attention drawn to animal cruelty though, and it was often needlessly lengthy. I don’t know if the intention was to make it extra gory and “scary” but it seems excessive. I love horror, I even like gore in my books and movies but I had to skip ahead several times. It’s basically torture porn for your ears.

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Seriously scary

This story had me hanging on right through to the very end. It is as scary as anything by Stephen King. VERY well written and unfortunately a little too possible

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    4 out of 5 stars

liked it

maybe the most gruesome book ive ever read. the kids are written so well and it makes their descent feel excruciating.

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Horror at its best

This book hit me right where the snakes in my spine live and squirm. Very disturbing.

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  • Jess B
  • 2018-02-15

Mild spoilers

I am going to post some mild spoilers, but nothing super major that would ruin the story. The narrator was perfect for this type of story. He had a voice that really captured a story being told by a campfire. The story has some gross moments. I am going to leave some words here, just in case you may not be able to handle it: Animal cruelty, anal prolapse, parasites. If you cannot handle stories involving those words, do not buy this book. Being honest, I had to skip over some of the "animal" moments. What happened to the humans didn't bother me as much as the description of those scenes. At points, the descriptions of what was happening did turn my stomach, but I kept reading because I needed to know what happened. Overall, it wasn't that bad of a horror story, even with stereotypical characters and tropes. I will have to see what other Nick Cutter stories are out there.

64 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kim Venatries
  • 2014-03-13

Seriously Messed Up Gruesome Horror

Lord of the Flies meets Hannibal Lector. I’ve been reading horror stories since junior high and it takes a lot to ‘disturb’ me. There were points in this story that made me nauseous. There are parts I wish I could un-hear. But there were also parts that made me ache for the characters. Some of the characters that is. Hell is not hot enough for a couple of the characters. Overall I’m not sure how to judge this book. But I can warn you that there are scenes of animal torture that are ugly and graphic.

The plot is interesting. A group of boy scouts on a remote island encounter a seriously ill man. It turns out the man is carrying a contagious “disease” that infects their scout leader leaving the boys on their own. One of the boys is a secret sociopath that would make Dalmer and Bundy turn away in disgust. And then there’s the disease… well that’s another very dark road. The writing and narration were good but imho the horror is too grisly, too nasty and too real. Listen at your own risk.

347 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Gross
  • 2018-03-21

Pretty thin

I wasn’t put off by all of the gore which I expected after reading the reviews however the story itself was pretty thin (no pun intended). I heard it described elsewhere as a cross between Stephen King and Hannibal Lecter which I guess is a pretty apt description however I did find some of the narratives gratuitous. Held my attention mostly because I wanted to find out how it ended but I really couldn’t give it more than 3 stars.

19 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • kmv
  • 2018-05-13

Read if you like gross books

Fixation on worms with unnecessarily gross and detailed, drawn out description of injury, violence, decay, etc. stomach turning....

75 people found this helpful

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  • Keith
  • 2018-04-18

Slow and Devoid of Real Scares

The Troop is, at its core, the literary equivalent of torture porn. The novel is filled with wildly overlong descriptions of scenes that only exist to gross out the reader/listener. Cutter, who can be a very good writer, judging by the chapters in novel that are interviews with secondary characters, uses the most amateurish tactics to try and get under the listener's skin. Instead of creating suspense, he murders helpless animals. The animal killings are described in slow, painfully boring detail. The story to takes a screeching halt for these scenes.

Worst of all, the book feels like a patchwork quilt consisting of scenes from horror movies. Without spoiling anything, I felt like I was listening to descriptions of scenes from Alien, the Thing, Cabin Fever and Resident Evil. Even the main characters were stock children from a million different movies. Big jock, fat nerd, creepy skinny kid. There are two others, but only of those two has any dimension.

I can't recommend The Troop to anyone. It's a very slow, very dull, very forgettable read. I loved the few chapters that were interviews and I wish Cutter has written the entire book like this, but unfortunately, he decided to go for the lowest common denominator and write endless gross-out scenes that drag in to nowhere.

49 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kelly
  • 2017-10-18

Lord of the Flies + Battle Royale + The Ruins =...

First and foremost, I didn't hate this book even though I gave the story 2 stars. I love Nick Cutter's writing - some people claim that he goes off on too many "tangents," but for me those flashbacks helped create three-dimensional characters whose memories and experiences influence their every decision, making them that much more believable. That being said, the plot definitely borrowed from a lot of existing works and I was pretty bummed about it. I'm a huge horror fan and have devoured a ton of movies/books and the plot of The Troop ended up seeming like a mash-up of a few existing motifs (***SPOILER*** early psychopathic behavior = killing small animals, cutting flesh to get parasites out, psychopath given free reign to kill peers in isolated location without repercussions, boys left to fend for themselves on a deserted island, etc) ***END SPOILER*** I listened to Little Heaven first (which I enjoyed immensely) and this book had been recommended to me for a few weeks, so I dove in. Two important trigger warnings that I wish I'd known before purchasing this book: 1. Animal cruelty. There are 2 scenes that are so graphic and heartbreaking that I had to skip them - even though I skipped most of them I so badly wish I could un-hear what I heard. I'm a huge animal lover, and there was some animal cruelty in Little Heaven as well, so I'm a bit wary of listening to this author's other works even though I do enjoy his writing style. 2. Parasitic worms. I had a phobia of tapeworms when I was younger, and some of the scenes in this book made me nauseous. All that said, I did finish this book in just two days. I quite liked the characters, ending, and how the main narrative was interspersed with interviews and news articles pertaining to the events of the story. The narration by Corey Brill was fantastic, (though not as good as his work in Little Heaven in my opinion). The two trigger warnings I mentioned & the somewhat trite/expected/been-done-before motifs earned this book's story 2 stars, but I don't regret listening to it - though I probably won't listen to it again.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lesley
  • 2014-03-27

Horror that's really horrifying

Horror fiction is in kind of a weird place right now. There's the old classic stuff, where the horror is all in the mind, and then there's the plain gross-out stuff. A lot of the first type hasn't aged well--the things that scare us now are so different than they were back then. And the gross-out kind, while fun, can get boring after a while: another eyeball falls out, another arm gets torn off, but does anything actually happen?

Not too many people are hitting the midline these days: psychological exploration of fear mixed with just enough yuck to keep things interesting. But this guy, Nick Cutter--he's right on top of that balance beam in The Troop.

Scoutmaster Tim and his troop of five boys set off for a remote location off the coast of Prince Edward Island (which itself qualifies as remote!). Everything's going great--for a little while. And then, almost immediately, things begin to unravel when a stranger arrives. A really strange stranger. Suddenly, everything is falling off the edge of normal, especially the scouts themselves.

Fans of earlier Stephen King novels may recognize the structure: everything's fine and then the Bad Thing shows up, making everyone show their true, ugly colors. But this book reads like a later King actually wrote it, especially in the characterization. The boys start off as templates: bully, nerd, weirdo, kid with issues at home, normal (if confused) kid. And then stereotypes vanish as personalities evolve and blur under the stress of the situation.

Other reviewers have mentioned that parts of this book are just plain disgusting. I actually yelled out "Oh, gross!" on the bus at one point, causing my fellow passengers to look around cautiously. But even the gross stuff wasn't just there for effect--it was disgusting, squishy, and smelly, yes, but it was also truly horrifying. Suddenly I remembered what "spine-tingling" actually means. Yikes!

The only issue I had with this edition, and it was a little issue, was the production value. The narrator was fine, but I heard a few page-turns and there were parts where the sound level dropped for a few seconds. But like I said, it was a pretty small issue.

I can't remember the last time I read a book with virtually no boring parts. This book didn't have any that I noticed. I wandered around with my earbuds on for an entire day, completely glued to the story. I kept listening for "tells" that might point to Stephen King actually writing this book--apparently it's a first novel, but that was hard to believe because it's just so good (I don't think Stephen King wrote this...but I can't be entirely sure!). If you love horror that's really horrifying, and you don't mind some squishy parts, you will love The Troop.

72 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2015-03-21

JOSEPF MENGELE 2.0

ISLAND WOMEN WERE LIKE CHRISTMAS TREES, NOBODY WANTED THEM AFTER THE 25TH.
This is a gruesome story, not the grossest I have ever read, but it was up there. I like mad scientist and I like biology gone wild, so this was a great book for me. It was a great look at the kind of kids who are in scouts these days and most kids were good, but!!. The story about the tape worms was not gory enough Cutter brought in a few evil characters.

The only complaint I would have is I believe it dragged on a little long. The children or people that are killed are killed one at a time, which takes a long time and we get a background on all the kids. Edit out about two hours and this would have been much better. It is still a five star listen.

91 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Studio_2053
  • 2018-05-10

Holy M#$_F-++-&g Head Trip

So I'm not one to normally use profanity on an Amazon review, but I hope I have your attention now. This book is NOT for the week stomached, or week minded. It's horror all right and when Stephen King said it scared the piss out of him oh he wasn't kidding. Not because of Monsters or Boogie Men and not because of Serial Killers or Mad Men but because of things you don't think of, at least not daily. All the same they are there, everyday, with us, within us, not just the proverbial "us" but actually within YOU! NO matter how many times you shower, how clean you think you keep your system, how healthy you eat, much you wash your hands. This truth is WHY this book terrified even Stephen King, and made Clive Barker tell nyt bsl i couldn't finish, and this is what my nightmare dream about. if your like me and thought you could never find an intellectual, engaging, captivating, book that also took you so far over the edges of horror, science, gore, that you're mind snaps line a twin into the ground from which same said twig once grew. This is your read. But BE WARNED: when I say gore I'm not talking zombies chewing on intestines. I'm so far past the intensity and mental darkness of that concept it almost seems "rainbow bright" ish, and when I say mental twists and breaking you down into darkness beyond typical "dark" books *breath* *shallow laugh* I'm not talking incest, child molestation, rape, prostitution, enslavement, serial killing by genocidal governments. go. deep. er.

17 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • tldward
  • 2017-10-13

Horrifying version of Lord of the Flies!

The easiest way to describe this book is to say it was a more creepy and horrifying version of Lord of the Flies. Very detailed and oh so interesting! The narrator did a fantastic job. There were definitely some parts that made me cringe and made my stomach churn. There were a couple short scenes of animal torture that made me want to pull away, but I felt they added to the book and definitely helped me to better understand certain characters and situations. It really added to the uneasiness and dread brought on by the story. If you are looking for a good horror/thriller about a group of young boys trying to survive on an isolated island, definitely check this book out. This was my first Nick Cutter book and I cant wait to read more!

3 people found this helpful