Bait is the debut novel by Jamie Kent Messum and is a quite gripping look at heroin addiction, isolation, desperation and how far you’d swim for a fix, how far you’d really go when death comes calling.
Six strangers wake up on the beach of an island in the Florida Keys, stolen away from their shitty lives and for reasons unknown. All they have is a box with instructions to swim the one mile over to the next island and the only way to get their next high.
Someone watches them from a boat offshore, this is a game and our six strangers are the entertainment because in this mile stretch of water is something that would stop just about anyone from even wanting to get their feet wet.
The strength of the story is with the characters, we first meet them on the island and then travel back to the past, when there was a semblance of normality, at least in their lives anyway, to see how they were chosen. My favourite character was Ginger, a hard ass bitch who occasionally shows a glimmer of compassion through the tough exterior.
‘The sweet, the funk, the illicit stuff infused with her blood, attaching to receptors, swallowing her bio-chemistry in a warm, satin lined mouth. A hit hadn’t been this good or strong in years. Felt like she was having her cherry popped for the first time.’
So druggies take on jaws for their next bit of action, winner gets the best quality taster known to man, or shark, game on.
Words by Paul Nelson, @pgnelson72