What appears to be a routine camping trip for five teenage Scouts and their leader becomes a nightmare in the style of a classic Stephen King horror book.
Let's step back a moment. I'm a mom. I do have a son in Scouts and he's about the same age as those boys. I literally had to think twice about sending him on his next Scout overnight trip. Yes, this book had that kind of effect on me. Thankfully, his Scout overnights are nowhere near a remote island off the coast of Prince Edward Island.
I think that what appealed to me about this book was that the boys were portrayed as normal kids from a cross section of their little town. There's Newton - a fat, sensitive kid with a very popular alter ego on the internet. Kent is a jock and the son of the local police chief. Ephraim has had a difficult childhood. His father is absent and in jail. Max has self control issues but he is the coolest in all the crazy situations the boys find themselves in. Then there's Shelley who likes to play mind games with his friends. I think that Shelley was the scariest character just because he had sociopathic tendencies.
Let's get to the scary part. Whoa, I think I probably should not have read this book so close to Parasite by Mira Grant. I don't need to be afraid of monsters - it's the parasites that really freak me out. So when a hungry stranger crashes their camping trip, things quickly go downhill. Tim the Scout leader is the town's doctor so he tries to treat the man who was eating literally everything in sight including non-edible things. The man dies and Tim cuts the man open (in the name of science, no less) and a thing comes out of the man's stomach! Gross! Yuck! You can guess what happens next. More infection, more craziness. Of course, the radio is busted, so no one can call for help. This was an electronics free camping trip - no cell phones were allowed. And the kids actually listened, so no calls for help. Oh, and how did the stranger reach the island? A boat that is conveniently not operational. And then there's a big storm brewing.
I enjoyed the writing style. At the beginning of each chapter the author included some part of the investigation, the inquiry transcripts, lab reports, and even an advertisement. The writing style did remind me of Stephen King a little bit and the author does thank Mr. King for inspiring him at the end of the book. This book has a major ick factor. If you get queasy, you may not enjoy this book. Parasites are icky.
The Troop will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's a fast paced character driven survival story. It'll make you think twice before you set off on a camping trip on a remote island....
Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster for a review copy of this book.
Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.