Book Jacket


rank 184
word count 56718
date submitted 18.09.2011
date updated 16.04.2013
genres: Fiction, Romance, Comedy, Crime
classification: universal

Eggs-Cell Files

Warrick Mayes

Scott, an accountant, encounters mystery, romance and adventure when confronted by a chicken working in his new office.


Scott Holland is an accountant starting a new job in a new location.

His suspicions are aroused when he is asked to look at the work of a colleague, an unusual colleague, a chicken! Are his suspicions due to the fact that he got off to a poor start with this colleague or do they have solid foundations? After initially upsetting some of the other employees, he attracts the attention of Debbie, an HR administrator, who starts to show a keen interest in him.

Scott's investigations lead to strange and disturbing events, including an attack on his long-term girlfriend and his life is turned upside down. Amongst all this, he starts to return Debbie's affections despite being unsure if he can trust her. He also has to examine his own prejudices towards the chicken and towards people from different class backgrounds, and give everyone a chance to prove themselves.

In an attempt to uncover the truth, he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. Can he find the people behind the attack on his girlfriend, and figure out who he can trust?

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Chapter Eight.


He left work and headed back towards home and the hospital.  Home was nearer, but he wanted to give the police plenty of time to finish up, so he wouldn’t be hanging around.    Instead, he went on to the hospital.

Having used the hospital car park before, and knowing how expensive it was, he parked at a car park in the centre of town. He grabbed an umbrella from the boot of the car, light drizzle became heavier as he walked the short distance up the hill to the hospital.

At least he was dry when he walked through the doors for the third time in two days.  Despite this, he probably looked even worse now than on his previous visit.  His clothes were seriously out of shape, having suffered from careless abandon the night before, and from the soaking they’d received earlier in the day.  He folded the umbrella and went straight through to the block where Toni was being looked after.  On arrival in the ward, a few minutes later, he went up to the nurse’s station.

All the nurses must have been busy because there was no-one there.  After a minutes wait no one else had appeared. It seemed that a search, deeper into the ward, would be necessary.

A door to one of the side wards was open, a patient was being tended to by a nurse and another blue clad woman who appeared to be overseeing things. Probably a consultant or doctor, he thought.  He decided to go straight back to Toni’s room, opened the door slowly in order not to disturb Toni or anyone else, and was surprised to see that the room was anything but empty.  A nurse with a clip-board was checking Toni’s pulse, and a WPC was sat in a chair beside Toni’s bed.  They both looked in his direction.  Another new nurse, so he had to introduce himself again.

The WPC scribbled something in a note book that had been lying on her lap.

“How is she?”  Scott asked.

“She is still very poorly, but woke up for a while earlier.  The doctors have reduced her medication, so she might come round again any time.”

“Has she said anything?”  He was really asking the nurse, but the police constable replied.

“She has not been very lucid, but she has called your name.”  His heart soared at this news.  “She has also been saying something about chickens, but I’m not too sure what she’s trying to say.  She could be dreaming, or trying to tell us something.  It hasn’t made a lot of sense.”  The WPC was a young attractive woman, but the way her hair was pulled back detracted from her looks.  She had a long neck that required either some jewellery or a long hair line to set it off to its best effect.

“You need to tell your boss.  I think it could be important.  Was there anything else?”

She looked at her note book, but didn’t want to say anything else.  It all looked like gibberish, and she wasn’t sure what she had heard.  He tried again.

“I know it sounds funny, but chickens are actually very important, so although it may not sound important to you, it might mean something to me.  Please can I have a look?

She thought about it for a moment, and then must have decided there would be no harm done, as she held out the note pad with the appropriate page to view. 

Scott shook slightly as he held the bottom of the note pad, the constable still holding the top edge.  Toni had called his name, and called “Mummy”.  The words “CHICKEN” and “CAN’T FIGHT” were clearly written and underlined.  The rest was a bit of a mess.  The constable had written “WHAT ON?”, and then crossed it through and written “WHAT’S ON?”  Beneath this, as an after-thought, she had written “WATSON ?”  On the right hand side of the pad she had the words “SWOFFEN TIMES”.  She had not crossed this out, but had obviously been trying to rationalise this, as she had written a few variations on the lines below. That was all she had, but it was far more than he’d imagined.

He knew straight away what these jottings represented.  “You need to tell Hargreaves and Jones straight away.”  He pointed to her pad.  “That word is Watton, it’s the name of a small town in Norfolk.  Somehow it IS important.  And the other word is Swaffham, another town in Norfolk, so she must have been trying to tell us about the Swaffham Times.  I guess it’s a local newspaper.  Toni obviously thinks it’s important.”

The constable took back her pad and noted down the new variants of the words she had written.  She did not seem in any hurry to do anything about it, so Scott started to boil over from all of the frustration and worry.

“Come on! Do something.”  He wasn’t quite shouting, but it was getting close.  The nurse took his arm.

“Mr Holland, please calm down.”

“I AM calm.”  He insisted, too vehemently.  “So, don’t tell me to calm down.”

“Sir, If I might explain.”  The constable began.

“Scott?  Is that you?”  They all looked round together.  The nurse released his arm and went over to Toni’s side.  The words had been slurred because of the dressing around her cheek.  No wonder the constable hadn’t been too certain of what she had heard.

“Yes, it’s me.”  He leaned closer too.  Her eyes were still closed, and she looked very hot.  He guessed her body was working over-time to try and fix itself.

“Help me!  Too many chickens!  Help!”  The last “help” was more of a whimper, and she was quiet once more.

“Can I please stay with her?”  Scott asked, no animosity in his voice.

“Yes, I think that would be a good idea.  I’ll fetch you a chair.”

“I’ve been told not to leave her side, until she is able to give us more details.”  The police woman tried to explain.  “And I can’t contact the station without leaving the ward.”

“Don’t worry, I’m here, if she says anything I’ll let you know.  And I’m sorry for losing my temper, It’s...”

“I understand, you must be very worried.  However, I’m afraid I can’t leave you with Miss Barnaby.  At the moment you are a suspect, and I would not be able to rely on your evidence.  I’m sorry, but it will have to wait until I can return to the station.”

Scott understood her position, but had another idea.

“OK, I’ll see if I can contact Hargreaves or Jones.  What is your name?”

“It’s Hamilton, but if you’re thinking of reporting me..”

“Oh no!  I just want to be able to tell the detectives who I’m with, so they can check what I tell them.”

He went out into the corridor, and was about to leave the ward, when he heard the nurse calling.

“Mr Barnaby!”  She had his name wrong, probably thought they were married.  He turned as the nurse approached.

“Mr Barnaby, I wanted to talk to you about your wife.” 

“Yes, of course, what is it.”  He couldn’t be bothered to correct her. Even though she’d used his correct name just five minutes earlier.

“Toni was showing some improvement so we reduced the amount of pain-killers we’ve been giving her.  Unfortunately, it seems that one of her wounds has become infected.  Her body is fighting the infection, and we have started giving her antibiotics, but her temperature is very high, which might explain why she seems delirious.  We’ll know more in the next few hours.  It would certainly help if she has a friendly face here for when she comes round again.”

It took a moment to digest this information, while they stood in silence.  The last thing he wanted to hear was that she had a hospital bug or drug resistant infection.  “Do you know what the infection is?”

“Not yet, but we’re not taking any chances.  She is getting the best possible care.”

“Thank you.”

Before leaving the ward, he took some of the cleansing gel for his hands, and ventured down one of the long corridors back towards the hospital entrance.  He turned his mobile phone back on.  The number of the police station would still be in his phone from when he had called them before, but instead of calling either Hargreaves or Jones at the station he called his home number and got lucky.  The phone was answered by a male voice that he assumed was another police officer.  The office passed the phone over to Jones, who seemed a little bewildered by the call.

“Mr Holland, why are you calling your own home?

“I know it was a long shot, but I needed to speak to you.”

“Did the station tell you I was here?”

“No, I decided to try here first.”

“Well, the police station would be the usual place.”

“I know, but you’re not at the police station.  I have something to tell you.”

“Hang on.”  The detective dipped into his pockets for a notepad and pen.  “Ok, proceed.”

Scott explained to Jones what WPC Hamilton had written on her pad, emphasised that it was Hamilton that had heard these things, and explained to him the implication of the jottings.  He also told him that Toni had said there were ‘too many chickens’, when she had come round.

“Too many chickens.”  Jones repeated.

“That’s right.  Not one chicken, but ‘too many’.  This all started because of the chicken at work.  There must be a connection with this company in Watton and the chicken in the office.”

“That’s a big assumption Mr Holland.  Best to leave the detective work to us.”

“Don’t you think it’s too much of a coincidence? Toni gets attacked at home, the chicken at work goes missing, and Toni starts having nightmares about chickens?”

“Chickens, Mr Holland.  Not youths, not burglars or drug addicts.  There aren’t too many chickens on the police national computer.  Perhaps we could try Interpol?”

Scott didn’t like sarcasm, but the detective had made a valid point.  “Well Francoise had to come from somewhere, maybe you should try Inter-poultry!”

He hung up, and was about to turn his phone off and head back into the ward when it bleeped.  There was a voice-mail message.  Someone must have called while he had his phone turned off.  He rang the voice-mail number, there were two messages.  The first was Debbie.  He wasn’t expecting the message to be very important, so nearly cut it off, but she sounded serious, so he listened all the way through.  It seemed that the police had tried to get in touch with Francoise, but there was no one at the address she had given them, quite strange considering that Francoise was supposed to be off sick.  Debbie suggested that Scott call her, as she had more to tell him.

The second message was from Toni’s ex husband.  He swore under his breath because he had forgotten to call her family, being too wrapped up in his own problems.  Toni’s ex said he had been contacted by the police, was going to get in touch with their two sons, and they’d all get to the hospital as soon as they could.  Surprisingly, he asked if Scott needed anything.  His image of him had been prejudiced by what Toni had told him, as he personally didn’t know him very well.  Scott returned the call but the phone was engaged and tripped over to a voice-mail service, so he left a message.

“Scott here, thanks for asking, but I’ll be OK.  How are the boys?  I’m at the hospital now, so I’ll see you when you get here.  Thanks, bye.”

He thought about Debbie’s message.  Was she just looking for an excuse to talk to him?  He decided it was not worth taking the risk, so pulled out the post-it note she had given him, and dialled her mobile number.

She answered almost immediately, even though she must still be at work.

“Hi Scott, how are things?”

“OK I guess.”  He didn’t mean it, but also didn’t want to go into the detail.

“Is Toni any better.” This wasn’t going to be easy!

“They say there are signs of improvement.”

“That’s good.”  She paused.  “There’s something else though, isn’t there?”

“They say she has an infection, to one of her wounds, but they’ve put her on antibiotics to get rid of it.”

“Do they know...?”

“No!  What was your news?”

“OK, I get the message. Did I tell you that the police couldn’t contact Francoise?”

“Yes, but you said there was something else.”

“The police managed to get into Francoise’s flat.  It doesn’t sound as though anyone’s been living there.  There’s a suitcase full of clean clothes in the bedroom.  The landlord hasn’t seen Francoise ‘cos he’s never needed to. The rent gets paid every month by Gladwell, and there’s never been any complaints from the neighbours.”

“The police asked if we’ve got any other information, so I gave them a number for HR in Germany.”

He was amazed that she had managed to get the police to tell her so much, but didn’t say so, she could certainly be very charming, instead he said ‘goodbye’, hung up and went back into the ward.

PC Hamilton was still there, sat patiently, notepad resting on her lap.  He dropped into the other chair that the nurse had provided, and they both watched Toni, who did not look comfortable, and was breathing heavily.  The nurse came back to check on Toni every half an hour, jotting down readings on the chart.  At some stage he must have fallen asleep because he was woken by conversation, another constable had arrived, and PC Hamilton was updating him on the situation.  She said she was going to have a rest and get some food, and would be back within the hour.

Before she went, Scott quickly asked if Toni had said anything else, but there was no more news.  The new constable settled into Hamilton’s chair and took over the vigil.  Having been woken up, and feeling somewhat ashamed he went to check on Toni.  The policeman leaned forward to see what he was doing.  Scott brushed Toni’s forehead with his hand, she was very hot, her hands and arms were bandaged apart from her finger tips, so he just held her fingers in his.

Suddenly the room was filled with music. Totally confused, it was a moment before he realised his phone was ringing.  He pulled it out of his pocket and cancelled the call recognising the number, it was Debbie again.

Feeling a little stupid for forgetting to turn his phone off, he left the ward and went along the corridor again to return the call.  Once more, she answered straight away.

“Hi Scott, I’ve just left you a voice-mail, I thought maybe you were trying to avoid me.”

“No, sorry, it honestly wasn’t that.  How are you?”

“Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.  I’ve got some very interesting news, do you want to meet up for a drink?”

“A drink?”  He hesitated, looking at his watch as a reflex action. “I’m not sure that...”

“How about the Royal Oak, it’s on the main road between work and your place.  I’ll finish up and see you there.”




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Shiloh Yazdani wrote 98 days ago

This was so funny. It seems not many have taken the idea of making a chicken the main part of a story about humans. It was written well and enjoyable. It doesn't make sense and that's the funny thing about it!
"Courage Through Faith"

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 99 days ago

How funny! A book with a chicken as the member of an office work staff is truly something I never would've thought of and neither would many others, but I think that's why it's so funny! What I've read is truly enjoyable and I give you a sky of stars!
God bless!!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"
"The Sticks and Stones"

UPerkins wrote 358 days ago

Interesting story. I wondered how I would like the chicken thing but it seems to work for this story. I am only about half way through but look forward to completing whats here. While the story is intriguing, there are areas regarding accounting and said details that I had to force myself to read... but that is just me. Not my cup of tea.

YvonneMarjot wrote 368 days ago

After four chapters I don't have a clue what's going on. This is a good thing, by the way! I love Francois - I don't understand why your main character is so down on her. He is clearly low in the pecking order. In chapter 3 I nearly lost the will to live when you started going on about bought and nominal ledgers, but fortunately I held myself together long enough to get to chapter 4. I'll be back for more - just as soon as I've fortified myself.


Matthew Hole wrote 381 days ago

I have read two chapters so far, and the verdict is: excellent. Written in a very sprightly style, with no waste of words. Dialogue is made to work hard to convey character and plot. I appreciate the lack of "he/she said".
The premise is (or at least seems, so far. I'm not sure what the author has up his sleeve - and that's a compliment) simple. It is not over-worked but is paced very well. I am wondering myself, like Scott, what the heck is going on. I like the fact that Francoise's lack of words still leaves us in the dark.
The only things I'm less enamoured with are the endings of each chapter. Chapter 1's ending seemed a bit limp as I read it. Could he not trip over the chicken, or something equally dramatic? The last sentence of Chapter 2 is too much of a forced cliff hanger for my tastes. It seems like it's just been plonked in. Can't think of an alternative off the top of my head, but it needs something more humorous, or just to stop at "One more lie wouldn't hurt". I am intending to read more and am of a mind to back it.
Hope that's a help.

Angelika Rust wrote 385 days ago

Hilarious. I've so far read the first four chapters and will be back for more. This has very much of a Tom Holt book, but less forced, less intentional. It reads like a true story. Admit it, Warrick, you really did work next to a chicken for some time, didn't you?
Maybe some people will find it a bit too technical, though. I don't, but I used to work in HR with close ties to the finance department myself. Others with less office background might get deterred.
In chapter 4 I stumbled upon a few things:
after cornering Geoff: "Nice try!" He said. "Keep digging!" - You might consider replacing He with Geoff.
where you describe the scruffy man in the bar: I think you mean his shirt, not his short
where Scott says goodbye to Debbie in the car: it should be compliment, not complement
"He didn't want Toni to be worried, and as long he as could control the situation,..." - there's a word order problem here
That's all from me. Love it and will back it. High stars.

Software wrote 386 days ago

This is the second book I have read by Warrick Mayes. Eggs-Cell Files certainly continues along the path of excellence that I found in Sleeping With God. In particular, I liked the way humour has been mixed into the crime-romance foundation. Arguably, that's very much like real life in that most situations contains a mix of the amusing as well as the serious. Highly starred and WL'ed. Bookshelf contender when complete.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

Michelle Richardson wrote 396 days ago

Hi Warrick, this book sounds hilarious, and I immediately warmed to Scott. The arrival at his new job was superbly done, with the introduction of his interesting co-worker! Great pacing, great writing and I will return to read some more. Popped on my WL for a later read and high stars from me.

Michelle- 43 Primrose Avenue

Rundy Purdy wrote 399 days ago


I read the first chapter of this story. You have very nice pacing and control of the story. Excellent job eliciting reader curiosity at Scott's new work environment (where not all is as it seems). I especially enjoyed the sudden chicken introduction.

My2Cents wrote 400 days ago

Very clever and well written; I enjoyed this very much. Francoise is such a good character. Well done!
Ken Spears

April Delphinium wrote 409 days ago

This is really funny, and makes me want to keep reading. Great work! I like it that you get right into the plot and don't waste the reader's time with too much up-front back story. The British speak is a bit unusual for me (you would want to edit for an American audience), but I think it will really do well.

LCF Quartet wrote 430 days ago

Hi Warrick,
Only after having read four chapters, I can easily say that your book possesses all the essential elements required for a good read. Everything worked for me. Great characterization, believable dialogue and unpretentious style. What more could I ask for?
Loved it. 6 stars and in my WL for further feedback as I read on,
Best wishes,
Lucette-Ten Deep Footprints

bruce k riley wrote 452 days ago

hi, finished up to chap 7, nice easy read, story pulls you in and it flows, would like to read more just to find out if toni's ok!

Seringapatam wrote 453 days ago

Wow, where did this come from. A great tale and so well told. Loved the characters (all of them) and liked the concept of this book. Funny story that flows well a good use of the characters when you need them to raise the game. A cracking pace that suits the book and an overall good read. I like this.
Regards, Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Sean

Annemarie Johnson wrote 456 days ago

A great read, very funny and an interesting concept. I like the idea of Scott, as an ordinary everyman who is our eyes and ears introducing us to the mad world where a chicken accountant is perfectly normal. I also love the humour - I enjoyed the apology to Scott that Francoise's english was not natural of course - not because she's a chicken but because she's French!
The only suggestion I would make is there are times when we are given a long description of Scott's thought processes and this could be livened up by dialogue. One obvious example springs to mind after Toni's death when Scott thinks through his to-do list and ruminates on them. Its very long and difficult to keep the momentum. I was just thinking that perhaps something could be done to break this up when Debbie rings and after some pleasantries you say that he tells her the to-do list. Might it not have worked well for Debbie to ring at the start of the chapter and the long rumination be dealt with as dialogue so it becomes snappier and punchier? Just my own thoughts
Good luck with both books anyway - I wanted to repay the favour of your comments on The Angels Guide but I have to admit the subject of this one appealed to me far more than the other.

puddleduck1 wrote 491 days ago

All i can say about this is brilliant. I hadn't expected it to go the way it did but what an ending. I think Scott could have had a bit more feeling for Toni while the investigation was going on as he seemed to take to debbie far too soon and that was a bit disappointing considering they hadn't even buried her yet. I found the plot was
Spent the whole morning at work reading and finally finished.
wonderfully developed, always keeping the reader wanting more, wanting to know what was going on with Fracoise. Who would have guessed the story was going to take this course which really was suoerbly done. I suppose i should have guessed but i allowed your story to drive me rather than trying to solve the puzzle myself. It was a pity Toni had to die to protect the chickens secret but was glad Francoise and some of the hens survived the ugly end to carry on their cause. I reckon you could make another book to follow up on this one. Perhaps a world where the chickens finally get the recognition they deserve. Let me know if you ever publish this as i would love to buy it.

puddleduck1 wrote 492 days ago

I have just finished chapter five and am intrigued to know what is going on. The chicken (Francoise) seems to be doing something underhanded but as yet, I have no idea what - if she is at all. I find the stpory sp far highly amusing and intriguing at the same time and want to know what is going on here. I have already taken a liking to Francoise although I don't know what she is up to. Brilliant writing that keeps your readers hooked. I get a bit lost here and there with all the accountant talk but it all adds to the story and keeps it flowing. Hope Debbie isn't out to complicate Scotts relationship with Toni as that would be a bummer, but we shall see. At this point, it is hard to see who is doing what to whom and who isn't paying. Will review again in another few chapters.

puddleduck1 wrote 496 days ago

This story has started out very busy and I like that. Constantly moving and keeping me wanting more all the time. I have only read the first two chapters so far but I love the idea of the chicken already and am eager to find out just what is going on here. Great interaction between the characters and imagery is wonderful. i will continue to read and let you know after a few more chapter how i see things but so far, this is great!

AlexandraMahanaim wrote 513 days ago

A lot going on in your story: friends of Debbie that try to overthrow the government, chicken that was definitely developed to think on the human level and the whole chicken reaction that went on in the office.
I also like your idea of getting the exaggerated idea of racial and gender acceptance that has to happen in the office. I myself kind of agree that office needs to be as smooth in accepting all since I was president's favorite in one places of work and was constantly subject of conversation by people who were jealous. It hurts.

I hope you could take a look at one of my books and thank you so much for sharing your story,
Alexandra Mahanaim
Return to Eternity; Shoshanna, The Battle: Encountering Supernatural and Captivity

patio wrote 515 days ago

I read chapter one and two thus far. I like it. Lustful Scott is in lustful love with Francoise aka the chicken. One thing amazed me is the emphasis on the toilet. People don`t normal speak about the toilet. But it is painted as a palace so there`s no stinky bits

I must read on to see how things develop but high stars thus far

patio wrote 515 days ago

I read chapter one and two thus far. I like it. Lustful Scott is in lustful love with Francoise aka the chicken. One thing amazed me is the emphasis on the toilet. People don`t normal speak about the toilet. But it is painted as a palace so there`s no stinky bits

I must read on to see how things develop but high stars thus far

Peter B wrote 528 days ago

A hundred and one things you can do with a creative mind...102 if you use a chicken! Light hearted and border line zany, your obvious sense of humor and imagination shine through. And I like happy endings too. Nice job, Peter B. "The Bible I Thought I Knew"

Bea Sinclair wrote 533 days ago

Original, clever, funny and nicely written. We are introduced to Scott and embroiled into his adventure by the end of chapter one. I have awarded high stars and placed "Egg-Cell files" on my watch list.
Yours Bea

Ellen Michelle wrote 730 days ago

Nice book, Well written, Nice pitch.
Would defo recommend to a friend.
Rated 4 stars.
EllenMichelle :)
'A Model's Summer'

Grace_Gallagher wrote 731 days ago

Nicely bonkers and funny, with enough intrigue to make me want to read more. I agree with Georgia that maybe the lead up to introducing the chicken is a bit over-played (mentioned several times before it happened). I also think that the opening chapter could be tightened up to be a bit snappier. The second sentence is a little clunky. I think this sort of humour would come over better with tighter narrative.

I hope this helps. It's an interesting idea and worth reading.


GG x

Lacydeane wrote 732 days ago

First of all your pitch is perfectly written. It was an informative lead-in. This work is very well written and extremely entertaining. Very creative and easy to read. You have a very unique voice--great word choice and sentence structure. I am impressed. I Love your imagination and sense of humor. Great job and highest stars. Lacy

ELAdams wrote 736 days ago

Wow, I like this- it's certainly an interesting idea, and it works! I like the humour and the bizarreness of the situation Scott finds himself in. I think it would be better if you didn't mention the chicken beforehand, though, as it would be funnier if the reader thought everything was normal up until the point when Scott nearly falls over the chicken! But of course, this is just one opinion.

Thank you for your comments on 'The Puppet Spell', and good luck with this- it's certainly original!

patio wrote 736 days ago

Your pitch got me reading. still reading but great story thus far

georgia_summers wrote 747 days ago


First off, I was really intrigued by your pitch. I mean, how /does/ that happen? But in saying that, I also felt that you were trying too hard with a lot of your jokes and as a result they fell flat. You also alluded to them before they happened, which then meant that the reader was expecting them. I know writing a first chapter is difficult, but I feel that you need to come up with a better hook, or else you'll lose readers who didn't see the funny side of it.

Hope this helps!

Annette Russell wrote 748 days ago

Hi Warrick,
I've broken off in mid-read half way through Chapter 4. I thought I'd best write down some comments before I forget what I was going to say.
I'm really enjoying your book and very much share in Scott's amazement and discomfort at the situation he finds himself in. You include some very good details of the accounting world, especially in Chapter 3 (details such as, "He then dumped the sales ledger and bought ledger transactions . . .") which makes Scott's world seem very real to me, and his situation, therefore, all the more bizarre. I thought you handled the conversation between Debbie and Scott in Chapter 3 particularly well, and like the way Scott puts Francoise on the spot, trying to get her to say something. I also like the way your last sentence of each chapter (so far, at least) is a bit of a cliff-hanger into the next chapter. It really prompts me to read on. You've also paced the introduction of mystery and (possible?) romance very well.
Two things to look out for when you edit your story: the opening chapters are always the hardest to write, as you try to introduce the reader to the world of your novel, and you've tended to over-explain things a bit in the first two chapters. For example, I so share Scott's surprise at seeing a chicken in the building, that there is no need to explain that the chicken is out of place here (beginning of chapter 2). Also, there are occasional slips in punctuation during direct speech (for example, in Chapter 4, you write: "No." He confessed.) I noticed a few slips prior to that, but as I'm just reading chapter 4, this one springs immediately to mind.
And now I'll shut up and continue reading. I really am curious to see what will happen next . . .
Best wishes,

jenniferkillby wrote 750 days ago


Interesting story. The subtle jokes were interesting and the chapters kept me going. I don't know if you were trying to make the reader aware of how clean and nice the offices were for a reason, but I would go back and see how it can be more potent with less words. Other than that, I enjoyed the read.

Thanks for sharing
Jennifer Killby - The Legend of the Travelers: Willow's Journey

Edward B Davies wrote 756 days ago

Hi Warrick Your imagination is bizarre enough to even suit me. I particularly like the way in which you finish your Chapters with a teaser to lead the reader into the next Chapter and I like the half-hidden joke with no explanation 'I like it all ways'. And putting in bits of French without heavy handed explanations works for me. Edward.

Juno 66 wrote 756 days ago

Hey Warrick, just had a read of the first few chapters. A really interesting premise and you wear it well, as they say. I agree with some other comments that you could probably go through with a fine tooth comb and weed out anything extraneous or repetitive. For example, you maybe don't need quite so much about how fine the office building is. Otherwise - great stuff and I will be interested to watch your progress! Juno

Kate LaRue wrote 760 days ago

Warrick, I read the first two chapters of this book. The chicken is very funny, I enjoyed Scott's attempt to apologize and his musings as to how a conversation between he and the chicken would go. This isn't really my type of read, but it was entertaining. I think you could do with going through and cutting out any extraneous details that aren't significant to the plot, i.e. that Scott had met the one woman at an interview, etc. Also some of the descriptions of Scott's coworkers could be shortened, maybe focus on one or two features that can define that character so that the flow of the story doesn't get bogged down with character descriptions that the reader will probably forget and that aren't significant to the story. I remember one description of the office building in chapter one that was a little repetitive, about how the exterior of the building masked the normalcy inside or something to that effect, and then you used a similar analogy in the very next paragraph. So, just keep an eye out for that kind of thing. Like I said, a very entertaining read.

Eden Ashley wrote 762 days ago

I've never laughed so hard reading a book on this site. And within in the first two chapters! Your comedic setup and timing is great. The way Scott reacts to everything is perfectly realistic. I really liked this--your writing your approach. Jokes aside, you've found a unique and entertaining way to tackle some heavy social issues.

The Siren's Heart

Eden Ashley wrote 762 days ago

I've never laughed so hard reading a book on this site. And within in the first two chapters! Your comedic setup and timing is great. The way Scott reacts to everything is perfectly realistic. I really liked this--your writing your approach. Jokes aside, you've found a unique and entertaining way to tackle some heavy social issues.

The Siren's Heart

Maisie burrell wrote 764 days ago

Hi Warrick,

I'm returning your read from some time ago.

Pitch is interesting, I like the idea.

I read C1 and C2. I think you are over-explaining things as it reads at the moment. Some examples of this:
- The first two paragraphs of C1 - do we need this info now or is it something we can learn as we get to know Scott?
- Is it relevant that he had met Donna previously at an interview?
- The opening para of C2 - I don't think it is necessary to explain this to the reader.

I found the physical descriptions of everyone we meet was rather distracting, and I felt too many characters were introduced in the first couple of chapters - by the time Grace reappeared I had forgotten who she was.

I think you have a great idea and the potential to make this a humorous and thought-provoking read, but at the moment it doesn't grab me.

Just my opinion. I hope it is helpful but if it isn't then just ignore it.

Best Wishes,

PolythenePram wrote 764 days ago

HI Warrick,
This is so different! But in a good way - working in HR myself, I could relate to so many of the conversations taking place! I love the madness, the absurd, the quirkness of it. The writing is very fluid too and very easy to read, which is great for a novel like this. Will certainly be reading more.

Cara Gold wrote 765 days ago

This is an absolute delight to read! Not just funny, but hilarious!
Your work is polished and I was caught from the moment I began. Admittedly, this is not the typical thing I would pick up off the shelf, but it has worked for me so far nonetheless :)
A few stylistic things I’d recommend; in the line ‘Everyone seemed perfectly pleasant…’ I’d put another comma after ‘is’ to put added emphasis on ‘except the chicken’.
Actually that’s about it for the moment, I got a bit lost in your story, it is so light-hearted and easy to read that I find myself forgetting about everything else in my desire to see how things will unfold…
Let me know if you want some more detailed nitty gritty feedback on any chapters. As for tonight, I’m going to relax and enjoy this smartly crafted piece :)
All the best

Cara Gold wrote 765 days ago

This is an absolute delight to read! Not just funny, but hilarious!
Your work is polished and I was caught from the moment I began. Admittedly, this is not the typical thing I would pick up off the shelf, but it has worked for me so far nonetheless :)
A few stylistic things I’d recommend; in the line ‘Everyone seemed perfectly pleasant…’ I’d put another comma after ‘is’ to put added emphasis on ‘except the chicken’.
Actually that’s about it for the moment, I got a bit lost in your story, it is so light-hearted and easy to read that I find myself forgetting about everything else in my desire to see how things will unfold…
Let me know if you want some more detailed nitty gritty feedback on any chapters. As for tonight, I’m going to relax and enjoy this smartly crafted piece :)
All the best

Gail Pallotta wrote 765 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Gail Pallotta wrote 765 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Gail Pallotta wrote 765 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Meryl wrote 765 days ago

I gotta tell you, first I was mystified by the whole scenario, then amused. I didn't think I was going to like it, but as I read further into it, I was drawn in. It really isn't my type of book, but it's well done. You've clearly put a lot of thought into it. You probably have a clever sense of humor, and I bet your daughter loves the story.
Good work and keep it up. I'll definitely read more.

Anna Salole wrote 768 days ago

Educated poultry... could only come from France hahaha and oh boy are we arrogant too! Had I been Scott, I would have put Françoise on a plate at chapter 2. I have only read to chapter 4, and would like to read further before I put your book on my shelf... but what I can say so far is: this is WEIRD!!!! In a darn good way :-D Made me laugh out loud. Love it!

satrap wrote 769 days ago

Dear Warrick,
I get to the point by saying I simply like the way you write.

Shahryar Cohanzad

HGridley wrote 770 days ago

This is a hoot! How did you come up with a guy having to work with a chicken???? I'll certainly be coming back for more...
As you can see, I've finally gotten over to do my promised read, and have really enjoyed it. You're off to a great start, and just need a bit of polishing. Today I've read chapters one and two. The first chapter didn't need much improvement, but there were a lot of grammatical problems in the second. I've marked them below, and in some instances mentioned what might be implied by certain sentences... :) If it's overwhelming to you, please tell me, and I'll just do general comments on the next chapter.
You described the women well, but the poor guys are faceless names, without even a job description. Tell us more here!
I know I'll be thinking about that funny chicken all evening...

Chapter One:
“he thought it best to show willing”: “show himself willing” is more clear
“It’s a lovely outlook”: end with comma, not period. “he said” must be in the same sentence with at least part of what was said.
“really honks”: add missing period.
“Donna, came to greet him”: instead of putting a dash here, I’d simply start a new sentence.
“showed him to his desk”: put a comma after “desk”.
“checked his tie in the mirror…”: this sentence becomes unwieldy. Either reword it completely or chop it into two: “He checked his tie and ran a hand through his tousled mousey hair. His blue-grey eyes…”
Chapter Two:
“small chicken going into the ladies toilet”: add apostrophe: “ladies’ toilet”.
“picked on Jill”: In America, “picked on” is equal to “annoyed”. Omit the “on”.
“there was no attempt to deny that she was nearing sixty”: You have a run-on sentence here; a period after sixty will fix it.
“Jill did not answer…”: another awkward sentence. Try saying, “Jill, taken aback, did not answer immediately; her hand went to her mouth.” You don’t have to say twice that someone else answered.
“accountants who work here, you obviously…”: run-on. Again, change out the comma with a period.
“looked quizzically at Jill, who’s..”: It should be “whose”
“question this last comment…”: “his” instead of “this”
“she isn’t a person she’s a chicken…”: run-on again. Period after person.
“Hi, I’m Debbie.”: End with a comma, lowercase S. This should be just one sentence.
“The occasional p.a.”: Abbreviations generally are put in uppercase: P.A.
“When he was offered this job he..”: was needs a past tense after he. Say either “he had” or “he’d”.
“sales guy left the Kitchen”: kitchen should be lowercase.
“No, I’m fine thanks”: Add comma after “fine”
“happy about things”: put the comma inside the quotes.
“I’ll be OK”: Add comma after OK
“Certain members of the staff”: put comma inside quotes
“policy here at Gladwell”: Add period after Gladwell to define her words from his thoughts.
“she relaxed slightly”: Replace the comma after “slightly” with a semicolon.
“break the ice”: Period inside quotes
“beginning to dawn on him”: another run-on. You can fix this one by replacing the comma with the word “that” after “him”.
“have no problem with it,”: again, a run-on. Use a semicolon instead of comma after “it”.
“he looked at her screen, there”: more run-on: you could put a semicolon here, but I think a period would be best.
“’No thanks’ He”: Careful here—to say no thanks without a comma in between is to be ungrateful! Add commas after no and thanks, and make “he” lowercase: “No, thanks,” he replied.
“strong and dark”: add comma after “dark”
“enjoy your fruit tea”: add comma after “tea”
Who is Geoff? Introduce him!
“carry on tomorrow”: Punctuation inside quotes!
“checked his watch”: I’m sure the watch is not itself four-thirty, but the time is… period after watch!
Who is Brian? Why is he the one to give permission to go?
“FT”: The first time you use initials, you should spell them out.

Yes, I know that's a lot! Even so, it's a great story. :)

rikasworld wrote 772 days ago

I really liked this. I can certainly see the Pratchett Gaimon influence. I've added it to my watchlist to read more as I found it really easy to read and engaging. Can't think of any criticisms. Too true you don't want to be seen going into the ladies'[ toilet during your probationary period and never use the ch word.

EFLanders wrote 773 days ago

I've enjoyed reading this, interesting, humorous & also thought provoking. In terms of typos I spotted a 'does' instead of 'do', but was too engrossed in the story & now I can't find it. It's in the first or second chapter. Sorry! It just goes to show what a good read it is!

Di Alcantara wrote 774 days ago

Hi Warrick,

First, thank you for your helpful comments on The Beautiful Stalker.

I thought this book was fun and engaging. I only planned on reading the first two chapters, but ended up reading two more. I liked the idea of the chicken. I thought it was hilarious many times. It's easy to follow, great descriptions throughout, natural dialogue.

Scott is charming. He will surely appeal to many female readers like myself.

There are a few missing punctuations, like in chap 2 "Francoise"
Other than that, I found no errors. I enjoyed this so much and I will definitely come back for more. Especially when i want to laugh. Brilliant writing. Five stars from me.

All the best,