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on 29 December 2010
This book follows the adventures of the fictional spy, Graham Chapman (nothing to do with the late Monty Python member...) who happens to work for his parents' fried chicken delivery firm. As you can probably tell from the summary - it's not Shakespeare, but it's nonetheless a very entertaining holiday read.

I found the plot really got going in the second half of the book, keeping me gripped until the end, a real page-turner!

If you like 'pop fiction' and want something pretty light and fast-paced to read, you won't regret buying this book. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
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on 10 December 2010
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.
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on 17 January 2013
Sorry but I would like to read your book and see how amazing that is, this is a great book so stop hating
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on 6 January 2011
The Chicken Shak Spy is a fast-paced action thriller about a visit by the Pope to London. The plot focuses on the Hunter Group, a private security firm who find themselves safeguarding the Pope in the face of multiple threats over an 18-hour period. This is an easy book to read, and I found myself not wanting to put it down as I raced through the night with the suspense of the Pope's increasingly perilous situation. It is not really a book about the Pope, though: the main character is Graham, a fried chicken delivery man by day and a reluctant spy by night. He is torn between the responsibilities of protecting national security and the comforts of an easy life in the chicken shop. He is at the same time a brilliant asset and a dangerous liability to the Group, and Lucas brings out the implications of this dubiously suitable spy very well.

Some elements of the plot are far-fetched, and I think the book probably won't qualify as a classic of literature, but if you like a good story packed with mystery and plot twists you will enjoy this book. There are plenty of exciting moments, but the book also slowly builds with suspense throughout. I enjoyed it as light holiday reading, but I found some of the undertones stimulating. There is a motif of morality throughout, as characters ask whether the ends justify the means. There is also a more theological flavour as the characters encounter substitution and forgiveness. But although it is at times thought-provoking, it is all-round a fun and suspense-filled spy thriller. Once you have suspended your disbelief a bit, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read!
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on 17 December 2010
This is a really enjoyable book. As an apparent mix of conspiracy thriller and spy novel the concept seemed to have something of a Dan Brown feel to it, but the book itself was much better than that. A truly unlikely hero is an example of the kind of reader wrong-footing that the author revels in, and adds to the unpredictability. It starts with a bang - literally - and that in itself is almost a twist in the story, and there are many other twists and turns along the way that mean not only do you not know how it is going to end but you are not always sure what is going on (in a good way) as a group of heroic operatives try to uncover the truth and race against time to prevent disaster. While Lucas writes enough to make you interested in the characters and sets the scene well - from a frantic foot chase through a dark wood in the Home Counties to a furious action in the heart of London - he never does so at the expense of a narrative that drives on at a thrilling pace. The reader really finds themselves wanting to know what happens next. The author wisely hints at the background of central characters in order to keep us engaged, but leaves enough secret to whet our appetites for the next book in the proposed series. I, for one, can't wait.
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on 21 December 2010
The Chicken Shak Spy follows reluctant secret agent Graham Chapman and private security agency the Hunter Group as they try to prevent the kidnapping and murder of the pope during his visit to the UK.

In writing this novel Simon has managed to take all the best parts of the genre while avoiding being as annoying as Dan Brown. The result is that this is a great thriller with an outrageous plot and characters that you can sympathise with. Once I found the time to start reading it, I couldn't stop. (I finished it at 5am!) If I had one criticism it would be that diversions in to background information sometimes interrupted the flow of action at some points in the story.

I can definitely recommend The Chicken Shak Spy and I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.
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on 9 January 2011
A very good read for the money. I enjoyed the plot developments as they happened, and was caught out each time. As good as Jack Higgins (who I have read most of), and great to see a another good story set in England for a change!

So what will happen to Graham next???
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on 4 January 2015
good read
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on 15 May 2011
This is probably one of the poorest books i have ever read, not sure how i even finished it. the plot doesnt make sense and the writing style is very immature, hopefully the authors last book! diversions in background information interrupt the flow throughout the story
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