Over the summer and autumn, my friend Simon Lucas has been working hard on a novel, “The Chicken Shak Spy”. It was published in eBook format a few weeks ago, and I bought a copy and finished reading it a couple of days ago. I thought I’d write a blog post reviewing it anyway, and hope that this helps people when considering books to read next!
One thing I should mention: this review may contain minor spoilers, I’m not going to give away anything major but if you don’t want to know anything about the story before you begin… why are you reading this review? But, more generally, skip to the summary at the end…
So. The story is about a guy, Graham Chapman (no relation to the member of Monty Python), who works for his parents fried chicken delivery company. But he is also a spy. He works for a security firm, the Hunter Group, who are investigating a plot to kill the pope. I think the best thing to do is explain what worked for me and what didn’t.
- This story definitely falls under the ‘pop fiction’ banner. It’s like an action film where you can turn your brain off and just enjoy it: I find quite a lot of old-school Bond films fall into this category for me. Don’t worry too much about the intricacies! You wouldn’t read The Chicken Skak Spy for its Shakespearean dialogue, but I found the plot to be pretty gripping. Particularly the second half – once it gets going I couldn’t put the book down!
- On the subject of the plot, there were a few moments which I just couldn’t buy. For example, one person shooting about five or six security guards without them getting off a shot. Also some of the dialogue didn’t seem very natural. That said, see what I said earlier about action films.
- I thought it was a really interesting premise about a spy who works for a fried chicken delivery firm – however it seemed that this was only peripheral to the rest of the plot (i.e. it only really gets mentioned at th beginning and the end). I’m hoping that this gets developed a bit more in subsequent novels.
Summary: despite a few minor niggles, I really got into the story. I think Simon’s strength as a writer is writing the plot and action elements of the story. This aspect of it kept me gripped right until the end. If you’re looking for something light and quite fast-paced to read, I can definitely recommend this book. It’s not Shakespeare, but it will keep you entertained!