I have never read a horror novel before. This is admittedly my first. I don’t know why I didn’t start with Stephen King, but this one was endorsed by him, so that makes it okay, right? Nick Cutter is a pseudonym of Craig Davidson, a Canadian author of novels and short stories.
From the jacket of the book:
Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.
Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.
Let me just say that this book was all kinds of messed up. Of course, the summary intrigued me, especially after my zombie movie marathon a few months ago. The biggest advice I could give to someone who is looking to pick up this book is: Do not read if you have a weak stomach. The storyline is a mish-mash of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, action flick/video game Resident Evil, and a writing style that is reminiscent of David Wong’s John Dies at the End.
I am not usually a squeamish person, but the descriptions of these creatures and what they do to the human body, well, that would make anyone hurl. Not only does Nick Cutter appeal to our visceral responses, but the things that he forces these young boys to do and the situations that he puts them in is horrifying; quite fitting for its genre.
This book was a rollercoaster, not fast-paced, but the twists and turns you take as you’re unearthing what is really happening on this previously uninhabited island will make you squirm, and the gut-wrenching feelings you get when you see this group of young boys struggle to survive are heart-breaking.
There were so many times I would be reading this book with a look of pure disgust on my face, and every so often an “Eww…” would slip out, that boyfriend would ask what happened in the book. I would read out the passage, and he would immediately regret asking. It happened quite a few times before he had to struggle between satisfying his curiosity or keeping his lunch.
That being said, if you are a fan of morbidity and the human condition, and are looking for a light, fun read, don’t be too afraid to pick up this book.