Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Done Reading: "The Troop" by Nick Cutter.

Done Reading: The Troop by Nick Cutter (Craig Davidson), 2014, 9781476717715.

I read a Davidson novel - cannot recall which - and saw he wrote a couple horror novels under the Cutter name. This one was good. 358 pages long, but still good.

Five Scouts and their Scout Leader are on a small island off Prince Edward Island for a multi-night campout. They're staying in a cabin and will hike during the day. A ravenous man comes ashore at night. The man looks like a skin covered skeleton. Scout Leader is a physician and tries to help the guy. The guy is infected with a laboratory produced worm that travels and lays eggs throughout his body and eats him from the inside out. Bad, disgusting and scary things start to happen.

There are plenty of gross parts as the worms kill the host, infects the Scoutmaster, and goes from boy to boy. Meanwhile, Cutter fills in the story about the worm and it's laboratory creation with news articles, investigative reports and transcripts. The island is quarantined by the Canadian military and the boys have no contact. They despair at being abandoned by their families and other adults when their pick-up boat never arrives.

The five boys are a mix of jock, picked-on-nerd, anger issues, sociopath, and average kid. Sure, he's giving us some stock characters, but I think Davidson writes extremely well about adolescent boys and how and why they do what they do. I disagree with a review on the Kirkus website that says the boys all sound alike. They are similar in their fear, and of course they share common characteristics, but I disagree with the boys having lack of characterization. Complaints about the dialogue? Meh, I don't recall.

1. My only complaint is that the I prefer a shorter book.
2. I started wondering again about taking a vacation to Canada. I was checking routes on Google maps and wondering about driving to Quebec, or even PEI, and gas costs, and ease of camping. My wife would never camp though.
3. That Kirkus review complains that the book stays within it's horror confines and does not push boundaries. Well, shit. When a book does push boundaries the author is just a likely to get crapped on. Besides, why not stay within those confines? Isn't that the point? You're writing a horror/romance/mystery/thriller novel so you stay with the format. Forget it, Gerard. It's Kirkus.
4. A Quebec drive could take the speedy Lake Michigan ferry from Milwaukee. But, that thing runs $91 for a one-way car trip. It leaves Milwaukee at 6AM and arrives in Muskegon at 9:30AM. Travel time is the same for the Chicago path- barring city traffic. I suppose nixing those three behind-the-wheel hours would be worth the cost.
5. But, how much time is spent loading and offloading the ferry? That could increase total travel time by 30-45 minutes on both sides.
6. Shit. I just saw this:Please note, vehicle prices do not include the driver or any additional passengers. One-way fair for my family and a car would be $324. Heck, Driving would be 223 miles more via Chicago - no Wilco jokes - and the old Honda van gets 25 MPG Hwy.  So, at an extra 9 gallons for those miles at a rounded up price of $2.75 a gallon it'd cost $24.75 to go that way.

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