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Bait: A Novel - J. Kent Messum 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 the last page, I was left not only with utter disappointment, but with a horrible migraine as well. I've watched a lot of movies in my twenty years of existence, and while a lot of them were A+, there were a bunch of B-rated movies as well that included awkward dialogue, poor cinematography, godawful camerawork, obvious and poorly done CGI affects, rushed storyline, gaping plotholes... and sad to say, if Bait were to be made as a film, it would join that sad category.

I read a lot of Young Adult, but I do indulge myself in some dark Adult books from time to time, and more often than not, they're well done and leave me shaking to the core. But Bait was just... I don't know. It's weird and uncomfortable; the characters are deplorable and unlikeable; the premise didn't really make any sense; the reasons the bad guys did what they did was shaky and ridiculous; the pacing was awful and choppy. It reminded me so much of those horror movies where instead of getting scared, you just laugh at everything because of the over-the-top acting, the clumsy execution and the fake blood that look like red goo.

I understand that this is a novel about a hopeless and desperate bunch of people. Even though in real life I don't like this kind of individuals very much — the ones that are so screwed up in the head and would gladly ruin everything else just to get high for a night — I took it in stride in this novel in hopes that I'd be able to read something good. But the personalities of the characters, one-dimensional they may be, were just so uncomfortable to read. They were absolutely unlikeable. Characters don't have to be unlikeable, but in my opinion, the reader must at least be able to sympathize with them, or at least connect to them somehow. But I couldn't here, especially not when the men in this novel were outrageously sexist. They called the women "cunts" and "bitches" and talked about having sex with them like that's all they're good for. One of the women tried to encourage a boy to swim the heck out of the water and got slapped that her head turned all the way, and when she fought back and injured him in the process, she got blamed, got called named, was wished dead, and was even PUNCHED by the macho guy that her jaw was broken! AND THE REST? Well, they didn't care. They didn't bat an eyelid. How the fuck am I going to sympathize with these deplorable people? It was so hard reading that, reading how the males objectified the females and hurt them without any hesitation for questionably reasons. LIKE WTF. NOPE. NOTHING TO DO HERE.

The villains, the ones that kidnapped the supposed "dregs" and made them pit against each other for the "purest" heroin, are absolutely one-dimensional and bland. Their reasons didn't make any sense to me, and felt so random and contrived that I actually laughed out loud. I wish I could lay thm out here and show to you guys how far-fetched and ridiculous they were, but I'll restrain myself. I just think they were just too flat and decided to do the evil thing just for the heck of it. I wish there were more complexity, but as usual, it took the "Wahaha! I'm evil because I feel like it!" route and that's just too lazy, imo.

And the dialogue! The dialogue was the reason why I felt this book was like a B-rated movie. I felt it was very vulgar (lots of boob and dick words, but I guess that's normal in an adult book? But it seemed like it was overdone here) and it had an air of "trying hard to be witty but yup, no." I thought the narration was better, but the dialogue was just... UGH.

The pacing was a bit off, too. The first fifty percent was composed of the past 24-48 hours of the characters prior to their kidnapping — how they were leading their lives, how they came to this point, why they were kidnapped — and the rest of it became one huge fast-forward that it didn't give any more chance to flesh out the characters. It was action, after action, after action, then insert "wahahaha!" of the villains there, then action, after action, after action... I guess if you like that, maybe you'll enjoy this book, but it felt absolutely rushed to me. It could've been longer and made me feel sorry for the characters, but nope, it didn't happen.

And the ending? -_- Whatever.

At least it was short. That saved me a lot of time, and I guess a lot of rage if things weren't going to get any better. Do I recommend this? Not at all. But if you like a beach read to pass the time and don't mind unlikeable characters, juvenile dialogue, and the like, to read a situation about addicts getting their next fix, then why not. You know my answer to that, though.