GORGEOUS BAITS by Arthur Mezue


: Crimes of Passion
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An enterprising lawyer and his wife set up a blackmail ring on a tropical island known for amorous vacationing.

Tom O’Connor can’t survive much longer in New York City–his business is going under, his credit cards are maxed out and no new accounts are on the horizon. After taking a soul-searching vacation on the island of Bohana and witnessing the sexual spectacle of a native festival, he and his beautiful wife Amy contrive a plan to profile and blackmail wealthy tourists who come to the island for the sex trade. These wealthy men, pillars of the community at home, submit to their most base desires while on Bohana, and Tom is positive he can bilk them in return for staying quiet. Tom and Amy begin an organization devoted to electronically surveilling tourists and training a stable of beautiful native women to seduce the men. After sending the tourists pictures and firsthand accounts of the trysts and threatening to ruin the men’s good names, the O’Connors plan to reap the benefits of their work, receiving hefty bribes. Stepping into their net are Hollywood moviemakers and childhood friends Vic and Larry. Each has ties at home, but reluctantly become involved with island women on the island from the O’Connors’ blackmailing organization. Little does O’Connor know that these men have a history of foiling bigger and stronger opponents, and won’t let a group of criminals hijack their reputations. They hatch a plan to strike back against the blackmailers, employing their wits against the organization’s muscle. Along the way, Vic and Larry must contend with jealous girlfriends, the loss of the island sheriff and the FBI. The action in the plot is unrelenting, but never particularly suspenseful. The timeline of the action is also difficult to follow, with jumps in time that aren’t clearly explained. For an erotic novel, the sex scenes are few and far between, and not expansive enough to engage the reader. The premise of the book is unique, and the characters’ motivation, especially Tom’s desperation, is well-drawn. However, the writing is largely tedious and will have readers looking for a more fulfilling encounter.

A hasty erotic thriller that needs fleshing out.

Pub Date: May 10th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4196-9451-6
Program: Kirkus Indie
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