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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  917 ratings  ·  204 reviews
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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Penguin Canada (first published November 2012)
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PUMPKINHEAD It turned out to be a great subject for a book! I guess you could call Bait a 'horror' novel, but that's because it observes the horrors of drug…moreIt turned out to be a great subject for a book! I guess you could call Bait a 'horror' novel, but that's because it observes the horrors of drug addiction with an unflinching eye, and some of the shark stuff in it is naturally gruesome.

Personally, I highly recommend this book (or Messum's other one 'Husk'), but I gotta say this author's novels are definitely not for the faint of heart. He's a tremendously talented writer, great command of the language with no bullshit. If you like your books on the serious side, definitely check this one out. But if you like stuff more on the cheerful and entertaining side, it might be wise to steer clear of Bait.

The shark attack scenes alone will stop you swimming in the ocean for awhile...
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3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  917 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
will there be more sharks tonight? probably - it's SSSHHHHAAARRRKKK WEEEEEEKKKKKKK!!!

the best book pitting sharks against junkies of 2013!!

or ever.

when i first heard about this book, i was in the middle of making this weekly bn mystery email thing that i do for work, and i immediately knew i had to feature this title and i also knew i would have to read it. because - come on! so i made a whole NOOK channel around this book called "the killing games" (while, naturally, this was running through my
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Six stolen junkies
an island their new home.
One tried to slip away,
never more to roam.

Five jonesin junkies,
a swimin in the sea.
Along comes a tiger shark,
as hungry as can be.

Four fearful junkies....

The abductors in this story wager with each other as to which junkie may best survive the sharks.
It was fun as a reader to play along.
My pick made it well over half way but alas... twas still a pick of doom.

"if he ever made it out alive, he would turn his damned life around, ask forgiveness..
Dan Schwent
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 2016-books
Six heroin addicts wake up on an island in the Florida keys with no idea who they wound up there. The only thing standing between them and a top quality heroin fix on the next island is an expanse of shark-infested water...

When J. Kent Messum hit me up to review an ARC of this, I hesitated at first. Until I read about the sharks and the heroin, that is! Who doesn't like grim death sports? Welcome to the Heroin Games! May the odds be ever in your favor...

Jokes aside, this was pretty bad ass. Whil
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: NOT for you Ivonne. :)
I don't normally go out of my way to acquire very many paper copies of a book- but this time I felt it was very important. First I pestered selfish Dan 2.0 to give me his copy...and when he wouldn't budge I went all the way to the tippity top- and semi-stalked the author himself. And low and behold- he decided it was in his best interest to provide me a copy rather then have me hound him for the rest of his days...I will leave you be now...but I have to say this is an author to watch- I wouldn't ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: Paul Nelson
Kids, if you ever thought about trying drugs grab up this book. You'll run so far away from them that you will leave your butt-hole behind.

Six heroin addicts find themselves unconscious on a deserted island. They start waking up and realize that something ain't right here. They have a box left with a few food items and a note that says that must swim to the next island in order to get that ever elusive next high.
commercial photography locations

Stone cold addicts that they know they are gonna get to jonesing and hea
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Needles are squicky, so I’m gonna ignore that part of the story and SHARK THE SHIT out of this review instead!!!!

Commercial Photography

A couple of years long time ago I was just your average wife and mother who opted to read a lot of fluffy nonsense in my downtime. Then a bad influence came into my life . . .

Commercial Photography

Instead of reading stuff like Twilight, he encouraged me to read the darker side of fiction. When Mitchell saw there was a book all about smack/t
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

It’s been a lot of years since I missed my bus stop because I was so absorbed in a book.

Now that I take the bus to work every day, I mostly use that time to read, except when I’m playing Words With Friends or observing my fellow passengers.

This book was on my radar for a while and I kept putting it off because I was afraid it would be derivative and predictable. Thanks to my Goodreads friends’ reviews, I thought I’d take a chance and dive in. I’m so glad I did!

It’s the
Six down and dirty junkies awaken on an island and find they are neck deep in a deadly game of survivor they never intended to play. All are plagued with relentless itching, all of them scratching incessantly. They are fighting severe cramping and extreme nausea. All that stands between them and their next fix is a short swim to an island across the way. All too soon, they find out those particular waters are swimming with sharks. Sharks! Ready yourself for gore galore. The war on drugs is fough ...more
I'm floating this review from last summer to offer my congratulations to the author. BAIT is the 2014 recipient of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.
You know, the thing about a shark...he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya ~JAWS (1975)
The perfect beach read (for my twisted tastes anyway) found as summer's door closes on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. The book's blurb describes BAIT as: "Survivor m
I received a free copy of this book for review from the author.

Can you imagine waking up on an island with a bunch of good-for-nothing junkies who almost immediately start going into withdrawal and puking all over the place? And your only way out is by swimming through waters infested with hungry sharks?

Still, it sounds more appealing than being on a season of Survivor.

So these smack-hounds wake up on a beach in the Florida Keys with no idea how they got there. There’s a small amount of food and
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Dear Mr. Trump,

I know you’re always on the lookout for creative new ways of tackling age-old issues. And, you clearly aren’t afraid of ruffling a few feathers or resorting to extreme measures. Therefore, in my view, it’s high time we adopt a radical new approach in our fight against the drug crisis plaguing America.

For your consideration, I present, Bait . . .

Six heroin addicts are in for the ultimate rude awakening when they come to dazed and confused and somehow marooned on a deserted island
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fast Food Junkies
Shelves: lets-get-real, i-said
Gerald Francis McCabe, he thought. That’s who I was-
He was struck from every angle and with every measure of force.
Blood bloomed thick around him. Tick did not resurface.
Nearby, beer bottles clicked, cigars burned, and significant money exchanged hands.

Six heroin addicts, strangers to each other, all from the seedy underbelly of Miami, find themselves stranded on a deserted island in the Florida Keys. They are jonesing for a fix and the only foreseeable way to get that is to swim to the next
J. Kent Messum
Jul 05, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
It's that time of year again: SHARK WEEK!

Every summer, BAIT often finds a new crowd of readers who didn't know there existed a book that featured junkies and man-eating sharks in the same plot. And every summer my debut novel gets a little boost that always makes me smile from ear to ear.

I'm thrilled that five years later, people are still discovering BAIT and enjoying it. Big thanks to everyone who has been recommending it to their friends and fellow readers! Much appreciated!


J. Kent M
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

4.5 stars

A small group of unlucky souls are gathered up and deposited on an island, told with directions to go to the next adjourning land by crossing the dangerous inlets so they can receive their new doses of heroine, food and other essential goodies. They have to figure out how to work together - or work apart - to survive and get that next fix and avoid being shark bait.

Several of my friends have been reading this one, reviewing it highly, so I was happy to dive in - plus, Sharks? We are so
A really great book. Bait gets 5 out of 5 stars from me for a few reasons...

Firstly, there was never a dull page in this novel. 'Action-packed' is such a cliche term, but it describes this book perfectly. This novel really motors right from the prologue all the way to the epilogue. The novel was short, but it's also the kind of book you can't help but read very quickly. To be honest, I couldn't put the damn thing down once I started. Finished it in only a couple of sittings.

Secondly, I happen
Edward Lorn
In my original review of this book, I called the characters "cardboard". I gotta say, that's not quite accurate. It's not wrong, but it's not completely accurate.

First off, one thing that annoyed the piss out of me but is purely subjective is how Messum described being high on heroin. I don't know if Messum has ever done heroin. If he has and it felt like he had a worm in his brain, more power to him. That was never my experience with H. My experience was a warm, snuggly, extended-orgasm sensat
Ellen Gail
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yum-tasty-people
Well who knew sharks and heroin went together like peanut butter and jelly? This was fun!

He and the others, they were mere flecks of flesh on a blue body of unfathomable dimension. The deep would take them all, sucking skin tones and white bones into the liquid void to be crushed into nothingness.

Take six heroin addicts and throw them on an unknown island somewhere in the Keys. Add in a mysterious boat with people who are watching (and decidedly NOT helping), impending withdrawal, and a whole
Paul Nelson
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,
``Laurie Henderson
Having strained my wrist after reading the large tome "Matterhorn" I was looking for something light and easy to hold for my next book. "Bait" was feather light and the synopsis sounded exciting so I eagerly began reading this tale of horror.

6 junkies are kidnapped and placed on a deserted island while their tormentors watch their struggles from a near by yacht. Reminiscent of the TV reality show "Survivor" but much darker since this will truly be a life or death struggle and there can only be 1
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
It's not often that I can look at a book blurb and wholeheartedly agree, but Bait: A Novel is, in fact, a case of "Jaws meets Lord of the Flies meets Drugstore Cowboy!" About the only thing I might add to that is, "in the style of early Richard Bachman."

What J. Kent Messum has crafted here is a dark, disturbing tale of disposable people. On the one side you have a group of drug-addicted strangers, damaged outcasts who survive by feeding on the underside of society. On the other side you have a g
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Junkies are stuck on an island and sobriety is hunting them. Their only chance to get high is to swim through shark infested water. Needless to say they choose...poorly and there is a lot of gnashing of teeth. The author does a good job particularly in the bits where people are getting eaten by sharks. There was one bit where a guy got eaten by a shark that was awesome.
Faye, la Patata
Shark-infested waters.
A group of hopeless drug addicts.
A bunch of ex-soldiers with questionable motives.
The purest dope you'll ever find.

I'm not really interested in reading about a couple junkies fight for heroin, but I was intrigued with the possible conflicts that could come with this. Oh, the drama! Oh, the transformation of oneself as they fight for survival and for their health and sanity! And I love thrillers, too, so that's akin to killing two birds with one stone. However, upon turning
What can I say about this fast paced novel? Check out the synopsis:

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 common bond: all of them are heroin addicts. As the first excruciating pangs of withdrawal 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
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four men and two women wake up on a deserted island in the Florida Keys. It doesn't take long for them to find the common thread that they all have: an addiction to heroin that rules their lives. Off the coast on board a boat, their sadistic kidnappers observe them, waiting for the game to start and placing their bets. Facing gut-wrenching withdrawal symptoms, all these strangers can piece together is what they find in a letter inside a chest with some food and water--orders to swim to the next ...more
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
By no means is BAIT an 'easy' or comfortable read; the readers emotions are taken through a roller coaster of anger, bereavement, desperation, and relief, with a final unsettling knot left in the pit of the stomach. Don't get me wrong, I was engrossed by this page turner and would recommend it to anyone in need of a good shake, however it would come with fair warning this is not for the faint of heart.

As the story unfolds the reader is given glimpses of how each person fell victim to their curr
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
This is it folks.....the perfect book to drag along with you on your next trip to the beach!!

Bait by J. Kent Messum

Okay perhaps it may give you nightmares of being eaten alive by sharks but that's really not so bad.

Seriously though, what a book! I freaking loved this! I had no idea what this book was about, who the author was, I didn't even bother reading the synopsis when I bought it. The cover drew me in and so it came home with me that day. If I didn't have to sleep and do life things, I'd say this can be finis
Denise MacDonald
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 a
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! I work for a publishing house and review a lot of modern writers, but I can’t remember when I was this much impressed. If you don’t faint at a mention of an f-word and want to read something breathtaking, BAIT is the book for you. It will give you an insight into the mind of an addict and of a person who hates addicts, and will help you understand both. This book will keep you in suspense till the very end, and even after you’ve finished reading!
Lizzy Lessard
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
PJV Quickie: The horror in BAIT is not for the faint of heart. J. Kent Messum took a risky gamble starring vulgar, racist, heroin addicts and if you’re easily offended I suggest you put this book back on the shelf.

Review: BAIT is unique in the fact that it terrifies the reader in multiple levels. BAIT is about a group of heroin addicts dumped on a tiny island in the Florida keys and directed to swim across shark infested waters for their next fix…and meal. Each addict gets their own POV and flas
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J. Kent Messum is an author & speaker who always bets on the underdog. His first novel BAIT (August 2013, Penguin Books) won the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for ‘Best First Novel.’ His second novel HUSK (July 2015, Penguin Books) was optioned for an international TV series by Warp Films in the UK.

Messum lives in Toronto with his wife, dog, and a pair of cats. He is currently working on his third
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