Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Bait Dog

Bait DogBait Dog by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wendig has done it again. This book is just as fast and emotionally evoking as strapping a rocket between your legs and zipping down a test track at spine snapping speeds.

Atlanta Burns is a high school student with a reputation for shooting the balls off a grabby boyfriend of her mother's. Her mother is unemployed, she lives in a house with a drunken lean, and has very few friends. One of them has just committed suicide. Atlanta must deal with grief while investigation a string of dog kidnappings.

The two plots are woven together with a deft hand. They don't drag at any point, galloping along and drawing the reader in. Just the dog plot alone had me hugging my dog with a tightness that he didn't appreciate. It is potent and evoking, but can be difficult to read since it focuses on the topic of dog fighting. (I cried, a lot.)

Atlanta herself is a shotgun toting badass despite her vulnerabilities. What makes her a strong female protagonist is that she fights through her weaknesses no matter how much she wants to run. She tackles her fears to defend those that are preyed upon by others. Atlanta burns takes no shit. Every young woman could learn a thing or two from her.

Unlike Wendig's Miriam Black novels, his Atlanta Burns stories are more young adult friendly. I won't say they are young adult because he still deals with some adult themes. Anyone who worries about what they put in front of their high school aged girl (or boy), rest assured. I wouldn't mind my kid reading this, if I had kids. I've read more disturbing things in my high school classes. Like I said, young women should be exposed to a protagonist like Atlanta.

Before reading, catch the novella Shotgun Gravy. My e-book of Bait Dog came with it's own copy before the sequel.

I can't wait for more Atlanta Burns!

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