A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Simon Lucas’ new e-book “The Chicken Shak Spy” to give a read/comments on. I’ve spent some time reading through it and have agreed with Simon that it’s ok to put my thoughts up on here as well as sending them across to him.
The Chicken Shak Spy is Simon Lucas’ second novel – a spy thriller detailing the adventures of the fictional Hunter Group. His first novel is a Famous Five style adventure story and while I’ve not had a chance to read that it seems that it would be falling into a very different style genre. Long story short, I really enjoyed reading this story, I found myself making spaces in the day so I could stop and read some more of the book as it unfolded. The story is very cleverly intertwined with real world events, namely the visit of the Pope to the UK (given the short time that the book was written in, it’s likely that these were the events occurring as it was written) and I enjoyed how it took these events and built them into the story. The tone of the story reminded me greatly of a Dan Brown book – however I found that this annoyed me a lot less, and while the author has obviously done their research and is knowledgeable about the technologies that are being used, unlike in a Dan Brown novel the computing aspect appears to be correct and doesn’t go making outrageous claims but instead, for the most part, uses real systems that are all available on the market today. To be honest while I compare this a Dan Brown novel – I also found it a lot better than a Dan Brown novel – the characters seem a lot more believable – though at points I found myself questioning how the main character got given the position he had – and the plot stayed reasonably logical, despite occasions where a vast amount of weaponry is produced by characters that you wouldn’t expect to know about the weapons, let alone have access to/be able to use them.
The characters all seemed to be well drawn and the story was carefully portioned out to ensure that each of the main Hunter Group members had their chance to shine and get something to do. There was only one character whose motivations appeared weaker/less obvious but I’m aware that Simon is looking to flesh out this character further, which should resolve this issue. In particular I found the final parts of the book very gripping with a good twist that I didn’t see coming (which is good as I often find myself predicting twists correctly).
All in all I would say that this is a great read – it’s never going to go down as a classic, but it’s not designed for that – this is a great holiday read that you can pick up, enjoy, and then get rid of once you’ve finished it. Strongly recommended and I’m looking forward to seeing the promised further adventures of the Hunter Group.