J. Kent Messum was born in downtown Toronto in 1979, the product of a merger between a Cockney Lad and a Geordie Lass that resulted in a typical Aries who came out of the delivery room with a chip on his shoulder and an overactive imagination. During his early years his mother read fantastical stories to him every night, and his father frequently invented tales of witches and ghosts that both intrigued and terrified him. He was a frightened child growing up, convinced of a boogeyman in every closet and a monster under most beds. His stories are rooted in that same childhood fear, now evolved and molded by a mix of life experiences and a good deal of thinking outside the box.
Jamie graduated from York University’s Fine Arts Program and has worked as a session musician, freelance writer, producer, internet radio station disc jockey, bartender, office gopher, music teacher, movie grip, laborer, contractor, and a few other things he’d rather not admit. A glutton for punishment, Jamie has been involved heavily in both the music business and film business for well over a decade. He writes incessantly, putting on paper as many stories and ideas as his time will allow. The literary business is a welcome change, since he writes as if his life depended on it anyway.
Jamie’s debut novel, Bait, a dark psychological thriller about a group of strangers who find themselves stranded on a deserted island, was published by Plume (Penguin US) and Penguin Canada in August 2013, and was published in the UK by Michael Joseph (Penguin Random House) in September 2013. In June 2014, Bait was awarded the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.
Jamie’s second novel, Husk, was published by Penguin in July 2015. It has been optioned by Warp Films.
HUSK – Buy it here
LIFE GOES ON
For a lucky few, death is merely an inconvenience. With the help of technology the mind can survive long after a body has been laid to rest. This afterlife, however, is far from paradise…
MAKING A LIVING
Rhodes is a ‘Husk’. It’s an illegal, controversial and highly lucrative job – renting out control of his body and mind to the highest bidder. It’s a sure way to gain a better life in a dead-end world, but some clients go too far. Sometimes, he wakes up with scars.
MAKING A KILLING
Then the visions start – terrible sights that haunt his waking hours. They could be dreams, or they could be something far worse – they just might be memories…
PUBLISHER: Penguin Michael Joseph
PUBLICATION DATE: 30th July 2015
BAIT — Buy it here.
“No one is coming to your aid. We have ensured this.”
Six strangers wake up on a remote island in the Florida Keys with no memory of their arrival. They soon discover their common bond: all of them are heroin addicts. As the first excruciating pangs of withdrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. On it lurk four shadowy figures, protected by the hungry sharks that patrol the waves. So begins a dangerous game. The six must undertake the impossible—swim to the next island where a cache of heroin awaits, or die trying. When alliances form, betrayal is inevitable. As the fight to survive intensifies, the stakes reach terrifying heights—and their captors’ motives finally begin to emerge.
PUBLISHER: Plume/Penguin (US), Penguin Canada (Canada), Michael Joseph/Penguin UK (UK), Record (Brazilian), Bard (Bulgarian), Alpress (Czech)