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Just One Bite

Review

Just One Bite

JUST ONE BITE may startle those who know Jack Heath solely as an author of books for younger readers. This newly published work and its predecessor, HANGMAN, feature “adult themes,” so to speak, front and center. Both novels involve a gentleman named Timothy Blake, who in another life was a consultant for the FBI. In the present, he is employed by a Houston crime lord, Charlie Warner, in the capacity of body disposal. Blake is good at his job, given that he is a cannibal. It would be easy to cue up the Jeffrey Dahmer jokes while reading it, but it’s not that kind of book, believe me. It’s somewhat difficult to crack funnies when you’re trying not to fall off your chair.

Heath wastes very little time in drawing his readers into JUST ONE BITE. It begins with Blake waiting at an isolated location to pick up a newly minted corpse from one of Warner’s minions. The delivery is late, leading to a complication, which in turn results in Blake discovering another body lying naked in the woods. He can’t resist having a nibble, which is a problem since there is someone out in that otherwise deserted area stumbling around and apparently looking for the body as well. He can’t just leave the corpse with a chunk missing from it, so he puts it in his car and takes it home, where he has things set up for such an occasion.

"[Heath] does an excellent job of digging in the dirt and describing what he has found, with the result being that you might want to triple bolt your door locks at all hours of the day and night."

Shortly thereafter, though, Blake gets a call from the Bureau asking for his help in locating a missing college professor. He could assist them in immediately solving the case, given that the person they are looking for has assumed frozen temperatures in his freezer. This creates all sorts of complications, as one might guess. The FBI, of course, has no idea that the professor is in Blake’s freezer or that he works for Warner. As far as Warner is concerned, she absolutely does not want Blake to go back to working for his former employer. Blake is also teamed with an FBI agent named Reese Thistle, with whom he almost had a romantic relationship that he resisted due to his appetite being stronger than his romantic inclinations. Of course, he doesn’t want Thistle to find out about that appetite.

Is Blake’s life complicated? It sure is, but he must investigate what is going on because it soon becomes obvious that a serial killer is operating in the Houston area. He follows a trail that leads him to all sorts of interesting places across Texas and into Louisiana, where he finds a landfill that seems to be a nexus for what is going on. But how? And why? Blake puts himself, and Thistle, in danger, and not just from Warner, either. Things get increasingly bizarre, and at one point it appears that Blake, backed into a corner, must make the ultimate sacrifice. Then everything changes.

Be warned: Everything that Heath presents here (many of which I haven’t mentioned in this safe-for-work review) exist in the real world. He does an excellent job of digging in the dirt and describing what he has found, with the result being that you might want to triple bolt your door locks at all hours of the day and night. There are very dangerous folks out there, and most of them have protective coloration. It’s easier to read about them than to encounter them, and read about them you will in JUST ONE BITE. Recommended, particularly for horror fans.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on June 14, 2019

Just One Bite
by Jack Heath

  • Publication Date: June 4, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hanover Square Press
  • ISBN-10: 1335952845
  • ISBN-13: 9781335952844