Book recommendation: Bait by J. Kent Messum

I should say up front that I won Bait through a Goodreads giveaway, but that doesn’t play any role on my opinion of the book.

Bait had me hooked (no pun intended) as soon as I read the prologue. It was intense, it was intriguing, and it made me want to keep reading.

And although I recommend it, it’s not a book that I would recommend for everyone.

Bait is definitely the type of book that’s best suited for people with a strong stomach. It gets a bit detailed with some of the gore, which is why I know that there are some people out there who won’t enjoy it.

I’m not one of those people, however.

Gore, for the most part, doesn’t really bother me. In fact, if it’s done well, I think it can really add to a novel. This is one of those situations where it does, because it helps you to more fully sympathize with the characters.

Although, really, it’s not too difficult to sympathize with them, even without the gore. The situation they’ve been dropped in would be a nightmare for pretty much anyone, but it’s somehow a bit worse for these characters because of their common addiction, and the withdrawal symptoms they’re all dealing with.

In fact, one of my favourite aspects of this book is the way Messum is able to get the reader to sympathize with his characters. Being heroin addicts, they aren’t exactly people that many others would have overly good feelings for. But Messum forces the reader to push out any negative feelings toward addicts, and the result is a novel that is very difficult to put down.


Goodreads summary

No one is coming to your aid. We have ensured this.

Six strangers wake up on a remote island in the Florida Keys with no memory of their arrival. They soon discover their sole common bond: all are heroin addicts from the slums of Miami. As their excruciating withdrawal begins, the six face their captors across open water. The four shadowy figures on the yacht are dangerous predators who know that their victims’ need never falters—and that the creatures that swim beneath the waves have equally rapacious appetites. So begins a dangerous game. The six must make an impossible choice—swim to the next island, where a cache of the purest heroin awaits, or die trying. Alliances form among them that may seal their fate—or extend it. As the fight to survive intensifies, the astonishing motivations of the men onboard the boat emerge, raising the stakes to towering heights. An adventure that pin­points the distance between fragility and strength, Bait pulls the reader in deep.

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