Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bait - J. Kent Messum

The pitch for this book from TLC Book Tours was something along the lines of "if Jaws, Survivor and Stephen King had a baby, this book would be it".  (I can't find the e-mail so I apologize if I am misquoting!)  Anyway, that was the spirit of the e-mail, and combine that with the fact the story takes place in the Florida Keys?  It was like dangling a bloody steak in front of a dog...or a shark for that matter.  I was in.

Synopsis:  Six strangers wake up on an uninhabited island in the Florida Keys, clueless on how they got there.  Soon however, it becomes very clear what they all have in common...they are all heroin addicts and they soon begin to have violent withdrawal symptoms.  They also discover a chest filled with food, water and a message.  Swim a mile, it says, through shark-infested water, to the nearest island for additional food and your next heroin fix, or die.  Just off the shore, a yacht's mysterious inhabitants observe what happens next.

What follows is a brutal and deadly game of survivor, played by crazed junkies...two woman and four men.  Not only do they have to battle each other and their own demons and agendas, but their unknown adversaries who seem to be bent on proving a point.

My thoughts:  One thing I can say about this book, and that is it is a rip-roaring fast read.  The author doesn't waste any time.  He immediately plunges you into the nightmare and drags you through to the last page.  The plot is gritty, grisly and unflinching.

But as fun as it is to read something like this, I felt there were some missed opportunities in really developing these six characters.  You get a small amount of background, but I didn't get nearly enough.  These were all real, sympathetic folks that had fallen on bad times.  I could have easily invested in them, but I wasn't given much time to do that.  With what I was given, I placed by bets on the guy with the most fight in him.

I also felt the reader got the barest of explanations on the motive of the game players.  I sort of got it, but thought it was a stretch that these people would go to such extremes and expense to prove their point.  In a conversation I had with Ti, we agreed that it might have been better to have no explanation at all versus one that just skimmed the surface.

Be that as it may, this would be a perfect book for the beach or for a readathon.  Your attention won't stray.  In fact, don't be surprised if you finish in one sitting.

I do have a copy to give away, so leave me a comment if you are interested in reading this, and I'll randomly select a winner by September 30.

3.5 out of 5 stars   


bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a good one for when you need a mindless read.

Unknown said...

How disappointing that the characters weren't fully developed because the premise is fascinating. I'd definitely want to get to know the six people involved really well and know what happened and why their lives went off track. You have really piqued my interest talking about how no explanation for the players motives might have been better than what was given. This book seems to have some big flaws but is still interesting enough to read!
Great review, Sandy, thanks!

Anonymous said...

This has such a unique premise. I'm not sure if it would be a good read for me, but I am willing to take a chance on it. You have to give this author credit for coming up with something unlike anything I have read before. Thanks for sharing.

Darlene said...

This sounds good. I bet it would make a great audiobook.

Iliana said...

What a wild premise! No need to enter me in the drawing but just wanted to say as always your reviews are such fun to read!

Literary Feline said...

It's too bad the characters weren't better developed. I admit I passed on this one because the description didn't grab me. I still am not sure it's something I would like, but it does sound like a fun read.

No need to enter me in the giveaway. :-)

Ti said...

I think his writing showed a lot of potential. I'd read something else by him for sure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

Julie P. said...

Sometimes it's just enough to read a light book without having to think.