The last time shotgun-wielding Atlanta Burns tangled with the town bullies it seemed like she and her friends had won the day. But then her cohort Chris Coyne ended up dead — dead by his own hand if you believe the reports.

Bait Dog is the sequel to Shotgun Gravy, and Chuck wastes no time kicking his fans in the gut. After a win against skinheads and neonazis Atlanta is left to figure out if her actions were the right ones. It sucks pretty bad, but it’s worse than that: Atlanta had lost many of her friends before the events of Shotgun Gravy, and Chris was one of two.

Bait Dog Chuck Wendig Novel CoverIn Bait Dog, we get to see Atlanta fighting with all the crap she’s gone through and developing into something resembling social. She’s got a wonderful character arc that shows she’s got more friends, and she’s willing to do what she can for her friends.

This time around, Atlanta is hired to find people responsible for torturing dogs, in this case, a specific dog. Sailor was Jenny’s Norwich terrier, and she came home in a sad state. Atlanta wants to keep her head down, but fallout from her previous misadventure left her with few options.

She ends up taking on a dog fighting ring, with only her tech-geek friend and drug dealer at her back.

It was definitely a ride. I’m a huge fan of Chuck Wendig, and loved Shotgun Gravy. Bait Dog definitely kept me worried about all the characters you empathize for in the first, and fleshes out some of the minor characters as well.

Some of the descriptions, and some of the people will mess with your gut, and you’ll probably be angry at the shit that goes down. You’ll also cheer for people standing up for the right stuff.

In the end, Chuck delivers a slightly twisted version on the ‘It Gets Better’ meme, but it rings far more true.

If you haven’t met Atlanta Burns yet, the e-book has both the novella and the novel, so don’t be afraid to jump right in.

The short version is this: Bait Dog is fucked up and awesome. Everyone should give it a read.

One warning though: Profanity is no stranger.

Read Bait Dog? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments!