Nothing like some good old-fashioned paranoia and body horror come Halloweentime!
The Troop follows a group of scouts on a camping trip on an island. Scoutmaster Tim takes the troop out every year for a three-day camp in the Canadian wilderness. And this year, there’s a ravenous, sickly something at the campsite with them–and this something was created to infect as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
The scares in this story come both from the goriness of it (and it’s pretty cringe-inducingly gross!) and from the paranoia and claustrophobia of the island. The boys in the troop quickly find themselves on their own and open to infection–who’s still safe? Who’s been infected? Can they get themselves safely off the island, or are outside forces going to keep them there? It’s very reminiscent of the classic The Thing, though our monster originates far closer to home.
The Troop is a profoundly creepy and unsettling book, in the very best possible way. The characters are great, too–you’re really invested in each of these boys (uh, except one, but I won’t spoil it), and it’s both scary and sad to watch them all fight it out and try to survive.
If you’re an old-school Stephen King fan, definitely give Cutter’s work a look!