Top positive review
Gruesome, Good, and all together Surprising
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2014
I was delighted at the wicked quality of the stories in this anthology. In the mood for monsters, "Dead Bait" delivers creatures beneath the water, and it does so with 19 stories that while they could use another editing pass, still manage to chum the water with proper terror.
The ratio of good to okay stories is 3:1 and even those okay stories aren't bad, merely unremarkable. Rather than go through every story, I'll bring up the highlights of what I found to be the bright spots.
The anthology came out strong with "Fox Goes Fission" by Ron Lemming. The story deals with an evil, cursed, rancid, hateful lake and the pages ooze with the sense of it. I could smell the foul rot, see the loathsome menace of it, hear the burbling venom and the flies.
The title of most gruesome and excessive story goes to Tim Curran and "Piraya", where the carnage at the teeth of undead piranha is told with gleeful explicitness.
Most creative is "Blood in the Water" by Steven R. Southard, dealing with a vampire that changes into a candiru.
The man seeking revenge on a wereshark in Steve Ruthenbeck's "Dawes" struck me as surprisingly heartfelt, and the story milked a sigh out of me.
In a book of monsters and death, Lance Schonberg serves up a surprisingly thoughtful and contemplative tale. I won't even nutshell it because I don't want to diminish the story, but the slow and philosophical story stood apart from the others.
The situation of "Death Roe" stands out as most unique of the set; Mark Onspaugh tells the tale of a man hiding in the desert from a mythical mermaid after he stole her eggs. It makes a fine final story.
I was satisfied enough to pick up the sequel Dead Bait 2, which is only available in ebook.