Written by Nick Cutter
Published by Gallery Books, February 2014
My star rating: 3 stars
Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected…and one another. Add to Goodreads
This is one that I was excited for for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a horror novel and it’s currently October, so that’s a given. Second was that it’s set in Canada and written by a Canadian. I had high hopes for this one, especially since it came recommended to me. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
This book totally reminded me of Lord of the Flies mixed with some messed up infectious disease. We meet the “hungry man” as he comes across a Scout camp looking for food because……… he’s just so hungry! The description of this man had my skin crawling (ewwww ok bad description… saying my skin is crawling after reading this book makes me a little nervous!!!!) He was super creepy, gross, and you had no clue what in the world could be wrong with him. All you knew was that he was starving and in a whole lot of medical trouble. The scoutmaster tries to take control of the situation but they’re stranded on an island and he has no supplies. As the true mystery of what’s wrong with this man is revealed, the truth is more horrifying than the symptoms.
I did like that throughout the book there were bits of diaries, news articles, transcripts and more. In the beginning it gave the reader a little bit of insight and connected a few dots. It also gave the author a chance to write about this “infection” on a more factual level and step outside of the human emotion connection, giving the author a chance to focus more on the gore and horror. When the story slowed down a bit, these bits of the story propelled me a little more to get to the root of the situation.
My biggest problem with this book was the pace. It started off really well. Fast paced, interesting, moving from one thing to the next quickly. Then all of a sudden things calmed down and I was finding myself so bored. Once the mystery of the “infection” was cleared up a bit and we knew what was happening with the man it all went downhill. It was just the same thing over and over. I feel like this book could have been condensed by at least a hundred pages or so. Once we knew the nature of the disease there was just so many detailed descriptions of what they were doing and where they were going. The details seemed unnecessary at that point. If it were condensed then my intrigue probably would have kept on a steady stream.
As I just said, this book was very detailed, so if your stomach is easily turned then this may be something you want to skip. It’s really gory and gross! The true nature of this mysterious disease was just……… ewwww!
All in all, this wasn’t a bad book really. It was a solid horror read I guess. But I found myself bored and not much caring for the characters. I’m pretty sure that I made myself not connect with them because you learn that they’re basically doomed from the beginning. Not to mention the fact that the characters were mainly teenage boys which I’m obviously not so, naturally, I had a hard time connecting and understanding them. So if you like a slow burning and detailed horror book – you may love this one more than I did!
Until next time, happy reading!