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Bait by Nick Brownlee
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Bait (edition 2008)

by Nick Brownlee

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306367,255 (3.38)1
Member:austcrimefiction
Title:Bait
Authors:Nick Brownlee
Info:Piatkus Books (2008), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Crime, Review

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Bait by Nick Brownlee

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Just didn't grab me, but I think its more my mood than the book. On my list to try again later because (1) good writer, (2) good characters, and (3) good plot so far (pg. 82) and perhaps after the Holidays and all that stuff. ( )
  McHenrysPlace | Dec 23, 2016 |
Bait is the first novel in the Jake and Jouma series by author Nick Brownlee. Jake Moore is a retired British policeman trying to make a living as a tourist fisherman in Mombassa, Kenya. Jake becomes reluctant involved in an investigation with Inspector Jouma of Mombassa police when one of his friend's boat is found blown up and a dead body washes up on shore. As they investigate they uncover a world of corruption that threatens their lives.

At first glance this book seemed like an interesting novel. It actually turns out to be more of a straightforward action yarn Read the full review here ( )
  thecrimescene | Sep 30, 2013 |
Bait is a story of violence. It opens with a young boy gutting a white man on the bow of a fishing boat off the coast of Kenya. The boat is then blown up with the body of the white man and the live young boy on board. Subsequently there are more violent deaths (several shootings, a harpooning, an attempted murder by crocodile and probably a couple more I’ve forgotten), several near-deaths and other violent outbursts. Amongst all of that is the story of Jake Moore, an ex-cop from Britain, and his partner Harry who run an ailing business offering big game fishing trips to rich tourists. They get caught up in the violence via several threads, not least of which is Jake’s encounter with Mombassa’s only honest cop, Detective Inspector Daniel Jouma. Initially investigating a disappearance Jouma (with help from Jake) eventually ends up on the trail of the nastiest kind of crime you can imagine.

The setting is the most distinctive thing about the book but for me. Brownlee has depicted Kenya following the post-election riots of 2007; tourism has significantly reduced and crime and corruption has flourished. The wealth and luxury enjoyed by the owner and visitors to the Marlin Bay Hotel where much of the action in the novel is set is juxtaposed well with the extreme poverty endured by those outside the five-star compound.

Ultimately though this felt like a film script more than a book to me. It’s full of action and imagery (most of it bloody) but not a great deal of substance and the characters were a bit too stereotypical and shallow to really engage me (the rich man is evil, the South African is a racist etc). To be fair I think perhaps if I was an occasional reader of the genre I would have liked it more, but as it stands the book fell into my ‘meh’ category which I broadly describe as a ‘book that’s OK to read but barely distinguishable from a hundred similar tomes and will be quickly forgotten’.

Given that I really did enjoy the narration from Ben Onwukwe the book probably would have scored 3 stars despite its flaws but for the very end. There’s a wrap-up where one of the characters explains the message of the book, in essence explaining in words of one syllable why it’s called Bait, that I found particularly patronising. When you add that to the colossal amount of violence and other elements I’ve described it’s just not a book I would recommend ahead of other African crime fiction such as [a:Deon Meyer|283304|Deon Meyer|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1225442760p2/283304.jpg]’s excellent South African books.

My rating 2.5/5 stars ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Ex-Scotland Yard cop Jake Moore’s career was cut short by a bullet; ten years later, he runs a game fishing business that is about to go broke. But old habits die hard, and when cerebral Mombasa detective Daniel Jouma—seemingly the only good policeman in a city where corruption is king—asks for his help in solving a baffling murder case, the two men find themselves drawn into a deadly conspiracy involving local hoodlums, murderous ex-pats, and a mysterious and psychopathic kingpin who presides over a sickening trade in innocent human life.

I picked up BAIT because I needed a crime fiction novel set in Africa for my 20th title in the 2010 Global Reading Challenge. And it fitted my requirements very well. I must admit until I read BAIT my idea of where Kenya was was very hazy indeed. (I didn't even realise it had a coastline!)

In Jake Moore, ex Scotland Yard Flying Squad, and Daniel Jouma, Nick Brownlee has created a very attractive duo. The main story is told at a cracking pace and for the most part quite believable. There were a couple of bits that were a bit predictable, but very readable. ( )
  smik | Nov 19, 2010 |
As a boy, George Malewe had gutted thousands of fish for the white men who came to catch game off the coast of Mombasa. But, as he plunged the blade of his favourite teak-handled filleting knife into the soft underbelly and eased it upwards through the stomach wall with a smooth, practised sawing movement, it struck him that he had neve before gutted a white man.

With an opening paragraph like that you know you’re not going to be in for a quiet comfort read.

As a boy, George Malewe had gutted thousands of fish for the white men who came to catch game off the coast of Mombasa. But, as he plunged the blade of his favourite teak-handled filleting knife into the soft underbelly and eased it upwards through the stomach wall with a smooth, practised sawing movement, it struck him that he had neve before gutted a white man.
With an opening paragraph like that you know you’re not going to be in for a quiet comfort read. ( )
  sunniefromoz | Apr 13, 2009 |
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Ex-Flying Squad cop Jake Moore runs a game fishing business, but when Mombasa detective Daniel Jouma asks for his help in solving a baffling murder case, he cannot help but become involved. The mangled body of a street criminal has been washed up on the beach and a fishing boat skipper and his bait boy have blown up in the water.… (more)

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