JUST ONE BITE by Jack Heath


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A cannibal is recruited to help catch a serial killer.

Much as it hurts him to admit it, and for reasons he does not divulge, Timothy Blake will tell you he's a cannibal. In fact, his dietary preference, such as it is, informs his livelihood: He disposes of bodies for Charlie Warner, one of Houston's toughest gangsters. In the course of celebrating this marriage of food and function, Blake happens upon an unauthorized corpse right where he was to receive his next assignment from Charlie; he puts it in his freezer, and things rapidly spin out of control. First, Charlie sends two of her heaviest heavies to fetch Blake for questioning. Why had he left the drop-off location, leaving a large corpse in the trunk of the wrong car? Well, it's because of that other corpse, but Blake doesn't want Charlie to know about that. And then Reese Thistle from the FBI shows up to ask him to help investigate a disappearance, and Blake soon realizes the missing man is the body in his freezer. Thistle, it turns out, was Blake's "handler" when he worked for the FBI, and in fact their history goes back to their days in foster care. Blake at one time had feelings for Thistle but had pushed her away lest his appetites get the better of him. Her reappearance is unsettling, and the two dance uneasily through an investigation that gets sidetracked in several ways. Charlie is not happy her corpse-disposal officer is swanning with the FBI and threatens to terminate Blake's employment permanently; Blake realizes that the corpse in his freezer could convict him of murder; and the investigation uncovers evidence of other murders. A messy kidnapping-for-porn subplot occupies Blake and somewhat distracts him from the FBI's agenda. And, oh yes! He and Thistle reconnect in conventionally fleshly ways. Told with energy and humor, this dark narrative is a bit overstuffed with dire twists, but the characters of Blake and Thistle are sweetly tough and naïve.

A pleasing romp through a fetid swamp, but not for weak stomachs.

Pub Date: June 4th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-335-95284-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2019


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