Cannonball Read V: Book #34/52
Published: 2014 (expected)
**I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. It is expected to be released on January 7, 2014.**
Scoutmaster Tim takes his troop of 14-year-old boys to a remote island in Canada so they can earn a merit badge. Unfortunately for them, the island isn't quite as remote as they thought. A sick looking man shows up at their cabin on the first evening and since Scoutmaster Tim is a doctor, he invites the man in to see if he can help. Turns out, the man has FRICKIN WORMS basically eating up his insides. As you can imagine, it all goes downhill from there. It doesn't help that one of the boys ends up being a certified sociopath.
Don't let the Boy Scouts trick you - this is a full on horror novel. There are WORMS. And lots of blood and gore. I am terrified of most worms and the idea of parasitic worms makes my skin crawl. That may be why I found this book to be so terrifying. I read a lot of horror novels and parts of this book made me ill at times.
The writing is actually really good. I've read some pretty awfully written horror novels, so this was a breath of fresh air. The characters are well-written, although a little cliche at times (there's the nerd, the jerk, the sociopath, etc.). I was afraid the teenage boys were going to get on my nerves by the end of the novel, but the author did a good job of making them authentic without being irritating or over the top (for instance, they told a dirty joke here and there, but it wasn't overdone for the sake of trying to prove to us that they are teenage boys). Once they are fighting for their lives, the boys get downright insightful and each boy has his own way of dealing with the terror they face. That's where the writing gets really good. I loved the juxtaposition between two of the boys tearfully trying to kill a turtle because they are out of food (that scene was so awful!) and the sociopathic boy reminiscing about the animals he tortured and killed for fun as a kid.
The Troop actually reminded me a little bit of The Ruins by Scott Smith. If you like well-written horror, I'd highly recommend checking out this book out when it is released (and maybe reading The Ruins in the meantime).