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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

‘The Troop’ is a twisted, thrilling horror novel


Bioengineered tapeworms, an abandoned island and a group of hormonal teenagers may seem like a recipe for disaster. But for Nick Cutter, this is the setting for a near-perfect horror novel.  

“The Troop” follows Tim Riggs, who is camping with his Boy Scout troop on an uninhabited island in the Canadian wilderness. When a sick man stumbles upon their campsite, Scoutmaster Tim and the boys are suddenly exposed to a deadly parasitic worm that lives within the stranger’s body. 

The gangly group of boys must fight against the elements, the infected and one another until help arrives.

Cutter expertly crafted a horror novel that will have the reader’s stomach churning and heart racing until the very last sentence. The sheer grossness and gore make this story a hard read. 

As if tapeworms were not already gross enough, Cutter graphically describes the worms preying on the inside of their host and the slow deterioration of the victim’s body. The novel also explicitly details things that the host will eat to suppress their devastating hunger. 

The novel would be less scary if readers did not develop an attachment to each character. Cutter paints the characters as real, flawed people thrown into unimaginable situations. It is almost impossible not to feel sorry for them. 

 “The Troop” also experiments with nonlinear storytelling. Interspersed between each chapter, interviews and news articles provide some insight into what happens to the boys. The articles allow the reader to connect the diverging storylines of the characters piece by piece. 

Cutter’s unique approach to storytelling makes “The Troop” a particularly haunting read. 

Without these details, the novel would fall victim to classic tropes embraced by slasher films and popular horror novels. Hundreds of horror films and novels focus on characters attempting to escape from horrific monsters. The trope of a creature hiding in the woods seems older than dirt itself.   

 Cutter subverts the reader’s expectations by adding his own special twist on the horror genre. No one can guess how “The Troop” will end. 

A great horror novel continues to haunt the reader long after they finish the book. Readers of “The Troop” will be having nightmares for months on end.  

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