Book Jacket


rank 1508
word count 12262
date submitted 04.12.2009
date updated 18.08.2011
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Thriller...
classification: moderate

The Chicken Factory

James Killick

You can't change the world, but you can die trying.


Telling your boss where to stick his job and then burning the company car isn't the best way to react when you discover your wife is having an affair with a bloke from work. Running away to stay with a friend who isn't friendly anymore isn't sensible either. Sleeping with that old friend's best friend's girlfriend isn't wise, but stealing the best friend's car and using it to commit a violent crime is surely madness.

But when your actions cause someone to burn to death, you know you've gone too far.

Your wife thinks you're a missing person.

Your friend thinks you're a murderer.

The police think you're a terrorist.

You're probably all three.

But worse than that, the girl of your dreams doesn't want to know.

Jack needs answers, but he'll settle for a purpose, and on discovering the grim reality of the Chicken Factory he thinks he's found one. When the pursuit of that purpose results in the death of the one man who could have helped him, Jack realises he can't steal someone else's idea of truth, he has to find his own.

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death, fiction, friendship, funny, humour, love, male, relationships, sex, vegetarian, violence

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Chris 1 wrote 406 days ago

'The potential of violence is all around, seething under the surface of the desperate merry-making, and I am a few pints short of immunity.'

This is a great read and with a narrative voices that just pulls you into the characters/plot/storyline. It's the ordinary turned extraordinary, in my view, tragic and comic at the same time. Every day life goes wrong, and therein lies the poetry. Has me in mind of Joseph Heller's 'Good as Gold'. Sharp, canny, wise and funny. BACKED.

Seringapatam wrote 427 days ago

James, This was a good last read for me before I hit the sack. It has certainly given me lots to think about too. There is a good thriller voice here and it is obvious to me that you will be writing in this genre for many years to come. Your MC is well described as are the rest and all this contributes to the flow of the book which you raise and lower whenever you wish too. I see good time ahead and so well done. I liked this a lot and I will be scoring it high. I am thinking you have a little gem here.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

MikeAlexander wrote 776 days ago

This is the kind of thing I really enjoy reading. Having read detective and espionage fiction all my life, it's great to come across something different, more down to earth; I find it far easier to identify with characters who don't drive Aston Martins or shoot people before breakfast.

I'm also old enough and grumpy enough to understand exactly what happens to people, at least internally, when they've had a bellyful of the world around them. Thus far, I've read chapters one to six and suspect I may be back for more.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy a copy of this - I wish you the very best of luck with it.

Jack Hughes wrote 1220 days ago

A taut, well crafted thriller that will make an excellent novel. Brilliant stuff James, keep it up.


LonnieNonnie wrote 1311 days ago

Good pitch. The first person works! (mostly, I find, it doesn't) I'll read more. The Tails of Willie Gusty

LN wrote 1312 days ago

Hello James,

Read the first two chapters. You have the talent and a great premise.

N.Lalit ( Siren )

Sandie Zand wrote 1313 days ago

Backed before under my old account... and still one of the best on site, so backed again!

memphisgirl wrote 1320 days ago

Dear James: I got a convenience store burger ice cold all the way through just last week, and the clerk at the register acted like that was normal, everybody likes cold burgers.

About your novel: Like others who've read your book, I started out thinking I would read a chapter and wound up reading every chapter posted and wanting more. Since that is the point, after all, I rate your manuscript among the best I have read. Don't let anybody give you shit about the present tense, either, because it's all in the skill of the writer, and you've definitely got it. I love your MC and can't wait for you to post more.

Your Fan,
Ashes By NOw

Viola wrote 1346 days ago
name falied moderation wrote 1355 days ago

Dear James
wow this must have been a difficult book to write or you have immense talent, i tend to think the talent bit is right.
lyour long pitch is so well crafted and captured me and around the throat i might add. how can anyone get past the pitch without wanting the whole book, like eating a piece of chocolate brownie and then pushing the rest away, impossible... well these darn red arrows are all pointing down so i am going to assume your is going up...I will carry on reading and comment further on as I would like to get this book of yours backed to assist it on the climb to the top.
Backed for sure my me. ..I would really appreciate it if your would look at my book, COMMENT , and back it. If not that is OK also
The VERY best of luck with your book

The Letter

Alan Martin wrote 1403 days ago

Reads like American Psycho or Fight Club. A lead character with an inner voice which expresses our boredom with how we've been conditionalised into society, then does something about it. Excellent escapism.

CraigD wrote 1431 days ago

You do a great job right off the bat establishing your MC, but maintain some mystery for the reader: we know what he's capable of, but what he'll do remains to be seen. The writing serves the narrative well, but the word "I" does dominate, not unusual for first-person. I'd suggest trying to find a way around that. But overall this is a finely written manuscript, and a fascinating premise. Easy to back.
The Job

StephenMc wrote 1437 days ago


A very unusual thing happened just now. I read everything that someone has posted on here. I read all 9 chapters of your book. Normally given the diverse nature of books on here I read the opening and then a few random chapters to gauge structure/style and other things.

With your Jack I didn't want to leave him. He is very engaging. He is so resigned to his dismal fate. He is crapped on by everyone until he starts to take uncharacteristic revenge and obvious personal enjoyment out of it. He is doing the things all of us mere mortals dream of everyday. We all dream of going primal and beating the bullies that asail us daily.

You book flows,it's dialogue is credible and well paced. The overall scenario is believable but it is Jack's reactions and attitudes that make the narrative stand out. I enjoyed the read.

I would perhaps suggest that instead of the office set up of the opening chapter you begin with Jack and his downward spiralling life. The meeting to explain the details or mechanics of the lie that finally tips him over the edge is not really important. It is sufficient that he tips. he can fill in the background for the reader in his own head in the car on the motorway. He strikes me as someone with a strong inner monologue.

The whole burger incident is perhaps a bit predictable. From my memory there are plenty of opportunities for service station bizarre-ness that would be more original.

But for me the book is all about Jack and from what I have read he is man enough to carry it. You have surrounded him with an interesting cast of subordinates to feed his world view.

I enjoyed it and will happily back it to see where it can go.

All the best on this merry adventure

SusieGulick wrote 1442 days ago

Dear James, I got so excited when I saw that you had backed, "He Loves Me." Thanks so very much. :) Since I have already "backed" your book, I will also put your book on my "watchlist." Could you please take a moment to "back" my completed unedited memoir, my unedited version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which at the end tells of my illness now & 6th abusive marriage. I'd be ever so grateful. :) Thank you. :) Love, Susie :)
p.s. Remember: Every "backing" you do gives your book points & the other person's book. :)

wespollet wrote 1445 days ago

Hi James, this is excellent. I just keep reading and suddenky I'm at the end of a book not yet complete. Wow! Jack, Binky, Carol Let me know when you add. I BACK THIS BOOK! Harold Alvin(ICON)Wesley

vanessa musson wrote 1445 days ago

I was engrossed in this painful story and so far am up the end of Chapter 4 - on the day Jack's own integrity wins out at work, by a cruel irony he is shafted for the second time by a colleague...

The sinister and mysterious opening captured my attention instantly, and there are countless telling lines to savour. Three of my favourites were "three cars, three wives and a complete lack of sincerity" (as was fatefully proved), "let the babies fall where they may" and the queue which "moves glacially forward".

I can also relate to the cold burger and stained business attire issues.

Haunting, compelling stuff....

Banana In The Briefcase

SusieGulick wrote 1446 days ago

Dear James, I love, "you have to take your job seriously," "spider-plant" "anomalous" (& all of your one-word senctences - each says it all. :) Before I began to read your book, I was prepared by your recap/pitch,which was very well done. Your story is good because you create interest by having short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, which makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm "backing" your book to help it advance - this will help yours & mine move up on the charts. :) Could you please return the favor by taking a moment to "back" my TWO memoir books, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" & my completed memoir unedited version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which tells at the end, my illness now & 6th abusive marriage." Thanks, Susie :)
p.s. Remember: Every "backing" you do moves your book & the other person's book closer to the top. :)

John Warren-Anderson wrote 1449 days ago

You got it. Good luck with it and backed.

theweed wrote 1449 days ago

The suspense at the opening is clever. It got me hooked. But, the style is refreshing. I keep reading just to enjoy it. The dialog, personal interactions, daily challenges, it's great.

Chapter 2 - the phrase "...but I already know the color of her underwear" is precious. So much said in a few words. The character descriptions are vivid and loaded, as they are in the following chapters.

The story is powerful and captivating. I can find nothing to criticize except for the good writing.

Good luck with this.

Marc - "Where's The Ivy"

Sunflick wrote 1459 days ago

I almost feel voyeuristic reading stories like this. That just makes it more gripping.

Backed, Lucy

jfredlee wrote 1459 days ago

James -

I love the noir voice of this. And the road rage = that was truly inspired, and priceless.

Backed, happily.

And I'd love it if you could let me know what you think of my book.

Best of luck here.

And, thanks.

-Jeff Lee

Paul T. wrote 1463 days ago

Excellent writing - sharp, fast paced. Pulled me in right from the start. Nothing I can find to criticise here. On my shelf. Paul T.

Patrick Fox wrote 1465 days ago

I enjoyed this so much I read all nine chapters you have uploaded. I love the hard-boiled noir tone of the narrative. Jack is a great protagonist and you have us rooting for him right from the start despite the less pleasant side of his character. All the characters are realistically drawn. I especially liked Binky, Dwayne, Anson and the rest of the low-life characters at the house. I know guys like those. If you'd had more chapters uploaded, I would have read on.

There was one part that tripped me up a bit in the first chapter. In paragraph twelve every sentence starts with "I", and there is quite a few I starts in the paragraphs before and after it. These really hit me between the eyes. I had a quick look through the rest of your comments to see if anyone else had mentioned it, but I couldn't find any, so it may just be me. I write in first person too, so I might just be sensitive to it. Anyway, that was only a tiny blip in a great read. I wish you all the luck in the world with this.

Already backed.


DMR wrote 1466 days ago

The Chicken Factory starts with a punch and doesn't seem to let up - found myself 'cheating' a little to try and find out what happens later on - the storyline is very addictive, set up nicely by the mysterious, eye catching premise.. Backed with pleasure!

zan wrote 1476 days ago

The Chicken Factory
James Killick

What an interesting cover and title! Caught my attention. And this is an intelligent premise - "On a journey through despair, love, violence and death Jack discovers you can't kidnap someone else's idea of truth, you have to find your own." I like intelligent writing which gives me something to think about - of course not all the time, but mainly. I like this plot of yours. "And I realise now is the time, this is the measure of myself as a man - the choice I make - to let this stand or to fight it until they've changed their minds or I've lost my job trying." Jack is a man of character - despite his questionable decisions. He is proof of the sickness inherent in the human condition - "THis is my time to make a difference. I turn the door handle, and I leave the room." But what happens next? I am very keen to see but I will have to read some more later ehrn I have a little more time. I am happy to back this. I have read your pitches and your opening and believe this has good potential. I have been a member of this site for over eight months and have read and commented on about 350 books so far. I am not able to read any greater portion of yours because constant electronic reading has begun to affect my otherwise 20/20 vision, which I fear will deteriorate further, and the responsibilities of daily life do not allow me to read more or leave a longer, more specific comment. Having said this, I think this is a very grippping book and well written with an excellent plot.
I wish you success in finding a publisher.
Best wishes,

carlashmore wrote 1480 days ago

James, this is very powerful stuff. You are an excellent writer of fiction. Your prose is clear, intelligent and fluid. I am fascinated with Jack's journey and can happily back this all the way to the desk. Carl.

Chris 1 wrote 1487 days ago

James, this is just brilliant the way you've got this man's life to begin to unravel so tragically. Excellent stuff. Superb writing. I'm on his side. BACKED Chris1

Mooderino wrote 1490 days ago

That was very good. When he closed the padlock before cutting it I knew I was happy to follow this character. Solid opener with a wry sense of menacing humour. The writing is polished and sharp, flowed easily without going off into cul de sacs. I think you have strong sense of what you're doing. Backed.


BJ Alexander wrote 1491 days ago

The Chicken Factory-

I'm usually not a fan of first person present but you make this work beautifully. First person in itself is difficult yet you pull us inside the mind of your MC with great ease and hold us there. The emotions are very real and you let them play out without apology for who Jack is and how he thinks. That's a the mark of a good writer. Well done. Happy to back this. -Barb (Silent Hoofbeats)

ellen911 wrote 1492 days ago

Great narration. The voice and tone draw us in so easily. You write poetically - attentive to the sensory details of your character's world. For me, this kind of writing crosses genres. The Lovely Bones and Silence of the Lambs have this lyrical dry tone that allows the chills to slowly creep up your spine. I even sense a bit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in your writing. Now, I may be way off base, but those are the authors and books who come to my mind as I read you; so these are compliments.
To me, this is a literary thriller through and through, and I loved it!
Ellen (Thoughts of a Teenage Girl)

Euphemus wrote 1492 days ago

Hi James, I read all 9 chapters.Couldn't put it down. A great book. I'd buy it.
I'm backing it.
David (Flawless Murder)

missyfleming_22 wrote 1493 days ago

Not sure if I had commented or even come across this before but either way, it's excellent. You grab the reader right away and we instantly are invested in Jack's situation. You've got very realisted characters and dialogue, first person is harder to write in (I think) and you've nailed it. Going to read on but this was very well written and enjoyable.

Mark of Eternity

DP Walker wrote 1493 days ago

Hi James
This is genuinely one of the best books I've seen on here and I'm not just saying that. I travel a lot with work and like to read books that hook me quickly and keep my interest. This is a great story but is also believable. You use the first person well too, which is a hard skill to master. I also didn't realise it was present tense until I flicked through some comments below.
All the best with this
DP Walker
Five Dares

hkraak wrote 1494 days ago

THE CHICKEN FACTORY: Your writing is smooth, and the present tense works. I was told awhile back that when a story is in the past tense, the reader is pretty sure the MC survives. In the present tense, the reader is left a little unsettled because he/she is experiencing the story with the MC who is unsure of the outcome. Jack is certainly in a predicament. Carol's reporting him missing seems to be just the start of a domino effect. Well-done.

Pearl Edda

Famlavan wrote 1494 days ago

For me to enjoy first person writing it has to feel congruent, and this does. I my mind introspection is not a linear process, that to me is why the fractionation in the opening works soooooo well. Liked this – Good luck.

Paige Pendleton wrote 1495 days ago

This is well written - it is very rare I enjoy the present tense. Just a thing of mine, but it usually ruins the read for me - keeps me separated from the story.

I read all of C1, and then it clicked that this was present tense - I was that absorbed. It seems silly, but it isn't (I dislike the present tense that much and it leaps out at me). Well done, and backed.

AJB wrote 1495 days ago

This is a great first chapter. Love the line about the building being like 'a blister in my mind'.

The only thing that confused me briefly was what the cutters in the first line were. You say that they are bolt-cutters a bit further on - but perhaps that could be in the first line? Unless that sense of confusion is deliberate, of course, in which case just ignore me!!

Thanks for sharing this,


Bamboo Promise wrote 1497 days ago

This is a kind of genre I will need to keep in my shelf to read more later. You have a mixed emotion of humor, love, thriller and death. It has 4 elements like earth, water, air, fire. Great dialog, great story. I backed your book with pleasure. BM-Bamboo Promise.

Bamboo Promise wrote 1497 days ago

This is a kind of genre I will need to keep in my shelf to read more later. You have a mixed emotion of humor, love, thriller and death. It has 4 elements like earth, water, air, fire. Great dialog, great story. I backed your book with pleasure. BM-Bamboo Promise.

yasmin esack wrote 1504 days ago

Great writing skills but too long to tell the reader what's happening.

Backed on your suberb writing skills

Keefieboy wrote 1508 days ago

James - I would have backed this on the strength of the pitch alone, but your writing certainly doesn't disappoint. I bloody hate reading stuff in Courier, though. Backed.

Keefieboy wrote 1508 days ago

James - I would have backed this on the strength of the pitch alone, but your writing certainly doesn't disappoint. I bloody hate reading stuff in Courier, though. Backed.

Keefieboy wrote 1508 days ago

James - I would have backed this on the strength of the pitch alone, but your writing certainly doesn't disappoint. I bloody hate reading stuff in Courier, though. Backed.

Ravenscar wrote 1511 days ago

Wonderful, great pacing, smart, snappy voice. This is a a gem. Backed.

seedee wrote 1516 days ago

Okay, this is really good. Publishing quality stuff. Well done. Love the noirish tone, love the title, love the pitch. Shelved. Cynthia Drew, Tabernacle

lionel25 wrote 1523 days ago

Great narrative and dialogue in chapter one. I couldn't have done it better. Nothing to nitpick.


Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

beegirl wrote 1523 days ago

Your pitch is great. Really drew me in looking for a story with some action from an angry man. I feel that you need to bring that on in the first chapters. They are a present a different book from the one the pitch suggests. Maybe the action comes on soon, but by the end of chapter three I am still waiting. I think you do dialogue well and set an atomosphere well.
The Sea Pillow

Marc Horne wrote 1523 days ago

Serious work form a serious writer. Since you are still working on it, I'll say that there are times when the long back and forth dialog makes me feel like I am reading a screenplay. Backage.

writingwildly wrote 1523 days ago

I saw that you lost all your shelvings (I hear that happens fairly often), but this is a NEW backing. Fantastic writing! Loved it from the first paragraph. All the best with this.
Under the Same Sky

Esrevinu wrote 1524 days ago

I enjoyed your interesting writing stlyle
You have a very strong opening; your descriptive writing is exciting
It was very easy to be caught up and drawn into the story
Your MC is well-developed, displaying insecurity, hopes, and dreams
Great storytelling
The Esrevinu Chronicles/Secrets of the Elephant Rocks