Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bait by J. Kent Messum

Morning, everyone! Today I'm on two tours with the TLC folks.

First up, Bait by J. Kent Messum, a messed up horror-ish psychological suspense/survival tale that pits a bunch of junkies against each other on a deserted island.

Six strangers awaken to find themselves stranded on a remote beach. They don't know each other and they don't have any idea how they got there, but they do have one thing in common: they're all a slave to their addictions. On the beach they find a trunk with limited food and a letter. The letter claims there are more resources and some of the drug they're all craving just one mile away on the next island. With withdrawal symptoms already hitting some of them, the strangers know that time is running out. Either they risk it and swim, or the sweat out detox with no more food and no help coming. 

I don't know where to begin here. On the plus side, Bait is short. On the negative, I didn't actually like any of these characters. Unlikeable characters are never a deal breaker for me, but in this case it weighed the book down. I didn't sympathize with these people or their captors.

The six junkies are nasty and manipulative. They're more concerned about their next hit than they are in simply surviving the situation. Frankly, they spend all of their time trying to figure out how to get to the drugs rather than trying to figure out a way out of the mess they've found themselves in. The characters didn't have the appeal or seeming chance for redemption that, say, Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad has going for him. Fortunately it's not because the characters aren't well developed. Messum does accomplish a lot in his short novel and giving each character a good bit of personality and background are amongst those things. The tension in the book is also quite good and keeps the book moving at a super quick pace. I just didn't know that I cared all that much.

The driving force here for me was in seeing why these people were chosen for this feat, what motivated the captors, and how/if any of the characters would survive. Had the book been longer or not quite as suspenseful, I'm not sure that I would have had the motivation to see Bait through to the end.

Rating: 3/5

To see more stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on J. Kent Messum and his work you can visit his website here. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.