Book review: The Chicken Shak Spy

Book: The Chicken Shak Spy by Simon Lucas

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.

The Chicken Shak Spy is available as an eBook only, and links to various eBook sellers can be found on Simons website.

Little Brother: find out what you have to lose.

Earlier this week my wife was reading a book by Cory Doctorow. She showed me a note inside the book, which said something like “A free download of this book is available under the creative commons license from the website.” Having recently got a Kindle ebook reader, and having no money, this seemed like a good idea and so purely by chance, I ended up reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

Before I write a proper review of it,  all I can think to write is GO AND READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW.

The book tells the story of a teenage boy that is swept up the the US Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Imprisoned, mistreated, then released without charge, he tries to return to normal life but notices the authorities turning his city in to hell in the name of fighting terrorism.  This is a story about fighting for freedom, fighting for a normal life, and fighting against government authorities undertaking horrific acts all the while imagining that they are doing the right thing. So many aspects of this book ring true. Teenagers and kids getting fed up with government. The use of the internet to organise things. Personal video recordings showing things that the mainstream news media does not. The scenes where riot police used CS gas on a crowd of hundreds of teenagers were just a little too possible for comfort.

This book, gripped me, made me laugh at the antics, made me cry at the bravery and freaked me out at the portrayal of how easily people can commit atrocities in the name of good. (Admittedly, i currently have some kind of cold/flu/virus thing and a fever, so the emotional roller coaster might be caused by that.)

If you are disillusioned by the current state of affairs, read this. If you are not, read this and then ask the question “how far are we from events like those in this book?” Little Brother is essential reading to find out what you have to lose.

You can get this book, and others, free of charge from Doctorow’s website. If you don’t have an ebook reader then there are a vast number of ereader apps for phones and computers. I can suggest Calibre if you are using a PC. Oh, and if you like the book, go and buy it. Prove the authors theory on copyright correct.