Live Bait


212 pages
ISBN 0-02-947270-9





Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


Readers of Ted Wood’s earlier thrillers, Dead in the Water and Murder on Ice, will need no introduction to his hard-boiled big city cop turned rural one-man police force of Murphy’s Harbour, Reid Bennet. Live Bait, however, brings the city boy back to his old stomping grounds, Toronto, accompanied as always by his dog Sam, to investigate a series of savage assaults on security guards.

Bennet himself is the bait of the title, shambling about darkened construction sites doing his best to look like a hapless, semi-alcoholic security guard — only to reveal the dangerous combat skills that have won him the reputation of a killer when he does indeed become the target of violence.

Not as fiercely bloody as Murder on Ice, this is still a no-punches-pulled affair, fast-moving and tightly plotted, with a detailed and convincing downtown Toronto setting. Once the tangled web of intrigue has been unravelled, and the erotic complications of life in the cement canyons dealt with in fairly satisfactory fashion, Bennet is on his way back to Murphy’s Harbour, which should be a lot more peaceful and predictable — until next time.


Wood, Ted, “Live Bait,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 8, 2023,