Paperback | August 27, 2013

byJ Kent Messum

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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. As the first excruciating pangs of withrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. On it lurk four shadowy figures, protected by the hungry sharks that patrol the waves. So begins a dangerous game. The six must undertake the impossible—swim to the next island where a cache of heroin awaits, or die trying. When alliances form, betrayal is inevitable. As the fight to survive intensifies, the stakes reach terrifying heights—and their captors' motives finally begin to emerge.

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From the Publisher

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. As the first excruciating pangs of withrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. O...

J. KENT MESSUM is an author, musician, and always bets on the underdog. He lives in Toronto with his wife, dog, and trio of cats.

other books by J Kent Messum

Bait: A Novel
Bait: A Novel

Kobo ebook|Aug 27 2013



Kobo ebook|Apr 29 2015


Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.19 × 5.24 × 0.74 inPublished:August 27, 2013Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143188658

ISBN - 13:9780143188650

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sharks! Drugs! Survival of the fittest! It's the stuff movies are made of. From the first page to the last I couldn't put Bait down. The storyline was original, gritty, hard to swallow (like an 'armpit'. Read the book, you'll understand), dark, raw, and imaginative, all of which made it one of the best thrillers I've read in a very long time. If you're looking for a quick read that will leave you shell-shocking yet clamoring for more, snag yourself a copy. I got one that was signed at Indigo, I'm betting it'll be worth something one day.
Date published: 2013-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Dark & Brilliant Book! Desperate junkies, depraved tormentors, & vicious sharks? My God, there was never a dull page in this novel! To say it was 'Action-packed' would be an understatement. It really motors right from the prologue all the way to the epilogue. I couldn't put the thing down once I started. The author's writing is lean and fluid, making for some effortless reading. This book is a dark, gut-wrenching, bloody, rollercoaster of a ride. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. I also realized while reading that the book was a sharp social commentary about the filthy underbelly of the human condition and the psychology behind certain fringes of society. You kind of just have to experience it... The book will leave you thinking about things for a few days and asking some big questions. I got to say, 'Bait' would make an awesome of a movie. This J. Kent Messum guy has certainly hooked my attention with his debut. Can't wait to see what this guy comes up with next.
Date published: 2013-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intensely Good! Amazing story from Toronto writer JKM about a group of heroin junkies trying to survive in the shark infested waters of the Florida Keys. This fast-paced book is a combination of Running Man meets Jaws meets Drug Store Cowboy. This intense story of survival is a page turner and I was hoping that the story would not end. Great debut book!
Date published: 2013-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Catch this debut 3.5/5 Bait is the debut novel of J. Kent Messum. Messum had me 'hooked' from the opening prologue - a desperate attempt by a man in the water to out swim the natural predators of the ocean..... But the sharks aren't the most dangerous animals out there. Instead, it is the men on the boat, making bets, drinking beer and filming the carnage that are truly more dangerous. Six people from the down and out neighbourhoods of Miami wake up on a deserted island deep in the Florida Keys. Strangers to each other, they eventually find common ground - they're all junkies. And each is starting to jones. The men on the boat have left them an envelope with instructions, along with a few sandwiches. What they crave is on the next island - all they have to do is make it there. Sound like the TV show Survivor? Absolutely - Survivor combined with Jaws - on heroin. Messum spins his story in past and present chapters, allowing us to know the lives of each of the six in the days leading up to the island. Although each of the six has a set of hard luck circumstances that led to them being 'chosen', it's hard to be empathetic. They aren't likable characters. Messum doesn't spend a lot of time developing their personalities though. Bait is completely plot and action driven. And Messum has done an excellent job with that. We just know that someone's going to bite it. Or get bit as the case may be. The question is, who? Will someone make it to the end? How will they do it - working together or sacrificing each other? Who are these guys on the boat? Messum uses worm metaphors to describe the lure of and the junkies' love of dope that made me squirm more than once. "The worms in their heads grew fat and satisfied, rolling cool and wet through their disjointed thoughts." I did find the motivation of those on the boat to be a bit clichéd and predictable. These characters seemed more like caricatures. But they work if you look at it with an action flick eye. Bait has thriller movie written all over it. Messum provides a nice little twist near the end. Bait was a quick down and dirty one sitting read at 288 pages - addictive and adrenaline reading for sure. Read an excerpt of Bait. (Gentle readers be warned - blood, gore and violence) A strong debut - I'll be sure to 'catch' Messum's next book.
Date published: 2013-09-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read! You can find my review PLUS additional comments/info on this title at LazyDay Reviews (http://www.LazyDay.Ca/bait) a Family run blog of book, product & attraction reviews! It’s official, Bait snuck into my mailbox at night and took my E-card by finally “baiting” me into picking up an e-reader (my iPad for familiarity, you know I just wasn’t quite ready yet..). So thanks to Penguin Canada and J. Kent Messum for sending this on to me for review and at the same time intriguing me enough to finally give this whole eReading thing a shot. When a bunch of heroin addicts wake up on a deserted island in the Florida Keys with little recollection of how they got there and the beginnings of withdrawal setting in, you immediately know that some very interesting social dynamics are in store! That’s not all though, they have a very keen audience who are all guiding them into danger and then betting on who is going to live or die. Let’s think Rat Race and Hostel here… Well that was one extreme to the other now wasn’t it? They are goaded into playing their audience’s game via their own symptoms of withdrawal as well as pre-written letters telling them of rewards such as money, food, water and of course lots of heroin. The only thing separating our team of addicts is the body of water teeming with blood thirsty sharks. These rewards are of course located on a nearby island. I think we can all see where this is going. Who will be left standing (in this case an extremely serious threat) and who will be shark bait? All character’s have their own small back stories throughout the book of how they got there. They all have their own unique problems and personalities yet they all share many similarities. The character’s weren’t really in-depth, but the main thing here is that they are believable. I think Messum very carefully crafted his characters to be an accurate sample of personalities with just as believable thoughts. My only issue with the book was it’s predictability. I don’t think that it would be fair to blame the author nor really the story itself. In some ways I felt like I had read this before, a new twist on an old idea. Overall, I think it’s a great light read with suspense, excitement, and a lot of dirt. - Fatman
Date published: 2013-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story I started this book today and I couldn't put it down until i finished it. Several heroin addicts are kidnapped and left on a stranded island. They are left instructions regarding what they need to do next. The story reminded me a lot of The Manhattan Hunt Club. I believe the under the story are questions about social classes, beliefs and values. Who has the right to label someone else's worth? Who has power to instill their values and beliefs on others and should they do it if they believe they are helping the human race? Does everyone deserve another chance? All tough questions. Excellent book.
Date published: 2013-08-30

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Editorial Reviews

“Reading J. Kent Messum’s Bait is like taking a high dive into black water. What you find in its murky depths is disturbing, pulse-pounding and utterly surprising. An exhilarating debut.” - Megan Abbott, Edgar-Award-winning author of Dare Me“The stakes could be no higher in this crisply written, fast-paced novel that examines the shifting line between right and wrong, good and evil. Bait will keep readers turning pages late into the night.” - Lori Roy, Edgar-Award-winning author of Bent Road and Until She Comes Home"The suspense blazed so much so I had to put the book down a couple of times just to look away. A brilliantly written novel. Bait makes Jaws look like a frolic in the pool.” - DJ McIntosh, bestselling author of The Book of Stolen Tales"Bait reads faster than a feeding frenzy, I was hooked from the very first page. A terrific debut from a talented new writer!" - Daniel Palmer, author of Stolen"Jaws meets Lord of the Flies meets Drugstore Cowboy! A powerhouse debut. The horror dawns on the reader as it dawns on the characters, making for a mesmerizing, one-sitting read." - Steve Ulfelder, Edgar-Award finalist author of Purgatory Chasm and The Whole Lie