Book Jacket


rank 182
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 Eleven

First steps.


Scott couldn’t remember how he got home.  He knew he used the car because it was there on the drive when he checked.  The news at the hospital had been devastating.  He suspected he hadn’t been very polite in his grief, but couldn’t really remember doing anything terrible.  He just hoped he was OK with Toni’s sons.  At some stage he was going to have to talk to them about funeral arrangements, but couldn’t face that for the moment.  Instead, he wanted to find the bastard that had done this to Toni.

He called the police, managed to get hold of Hargreaves, and arranged to meet him at the station.  He also called work, and spoke to Donna, making his excuses, and passing on the sad news.  He said he would probably be back to work on Monday, depending on how things went with the police and the funeral arrangements.

He decided to make a list of things he needed to find out, that he could take to the police station.  Apart from finding out if the police were any nearer to identifying and catching the attacker, more specifically he wrote down the following:

1)     What had they obtained from my P.C.?

2)     Had they found the real Francoise?

3)     Had they managed to find and talk to the chicken that was posing as Francoise?

4)     Had they spoken to Debbie’s friends, and were they connected with the attack?

5)     Had they managed to trace the vehicle that was used by the man taking Francoise’s suitcase?

6)     Had they followed up the lead relating to the Swaffham Times?

7)     Am I still a suspect?

Having done this, he went into the study and turned on his computer.  He wanted to see if he could find anything from the Swaffham Times, before meeting with Hargreaves.  His P.C. refused to boot, it said there was a disk error.  It didn’t look damaged, the fan started running, and he checked the drives to see if there was a CD or anything confusing it.  He turned it off again, and added another item to his list.

8)     Tell Hargreaves about the computer (could be related).

The problem with the computer worried him though.  Only the study, lounge and hall appeared to be disturbed.  The attack appeared frenzied, but the attacker appeared to have taken Toni’s computer.

9)     Ask about Toni’s computer.

Somehow they had wiped or damaged his hard drive so that he couldn’t use it – why?  This appeared to be a sophisticated attacker, looking for specific information, or destroying it!

He checked through his list again, crossed out item 7).  If they hadn’t realised it wasn’t him by now, he didn’t really care, he’d find the killer.

He debated trying to use his mobile phone to search for information about Blue Farm on the Swaffham Times’ web site, but decided it would take too long.  He grabbed his coat, there was an internet cafe in town he could visit before going on to the police station.  He was about to go out the door, when his mobile phone rang, it was Debbie, so he answered.

“How are you?  Donna told me.  Is there anything I can do?”

“I feel dead!”  Was his honest reply.

“Look, I’d like to help if you need anything.  Your head can’t be in a good place right now.”

“Sure.”  He said, not really telling her anything.  “I’ll call you if I need anything.”

She wasn’t satisfied, and didn’t believe him.  “Don’t hang up.  You probably need to talk to someone.  Have you told your family?”  He realised that his Mum and Dad were probably unaware of anything that had happened.

“No.  I intended to call them after she was attacked, but was too busy, and now she’s dead, and they still know nothing.”  He could feel the tears welling up inside, and had to pause for a moment.  Thankfully, Debbie said nothing, she must have heard the pain in his voice, and was giving him time to recover.  Eventually he felt able to continue.

“It’s something I still have to do.  I will call them today.”

“If you want someone to be there with you, is there anyone else you can call?”

He considered this for a moment.  He didn’t feel close enough to any of the neighbours, Toni’s sons would be struggling with their own grief, and he didn’t want to ask any of his mates, in case they thought he was being pathetic.  The people he most needed at this time were his parents.  In the end he just braved it out.

“Yes, don’t worry, I’ve got friends who can help.”

“That’s good.  Will you call them?”

“Yes.”  He assured her.

He then started to explain that he was going to see the police, as it seemed whoever had attacked Toni had also damaged his home computer.  Hargreaves might have some answers, and he planned to stop off at an internet cafe to see if he could look on the web site of the Swaffham Times.  Debbie was interested in what he was doing, and especially that relating to the Swaffham Times.  She was very easy to talk to, so he started to explain about the notes that constable Hamilton had made, and that he thought there was a connection with Blue Farm Research, since it was located fairly close to Swaffham.  In the end, he had read out his whole list to her, discussing each point, but hesitating over the incident with the man at Francoise’s flat.  However, she seemed to have got over any fear, and now she was helping him to relax.

He was so comfortable talking to Debbie, that he felt able to ask her about the funeral arrangements.  He was worried about discussing this with the boys.  He had his own ideas, and no doubt they would have theirs.  The last thing he wanted to do was to upset them by insisting on something that they didn’t want.  Debbie did not have the answers, but she certainly helped.

“You probably know Toni better than anyone.  But, her sons will know a different side of her.  The answer is going to be a mix of everyone’s ideas.  Did Toni leave a will?

He knew they had a joint will, leaving almost everything to each-other, the exception being her interest in her old family home, which would go to the boys.

“We have a will, but there’s nothing in it about how she would like to be buried.”

“You’re creating a problem that might not even exist. You have to talk to her sons anyway, so ask them how they feel, they might be in exactly the same position as you!”

“You’re right, but I don’t know how to have that conversation.”

“Just talk to them, you’ll find the words. It might be some time before the police release Toni’s body, there must surely be an autopsy, and if there’s an arrest or prosecution, the courts may want the body re-examined.  I don’t think things will move very quickly.

The thought of Toni lying in a cold cabinet for weeks on end worried him more than any conflict over the funeral, but he knew she was right, he was making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

Eventually, he said he’d better get going, because he didn’t have much time left to stop at the internet cafe, and Detective Hargreaves would be waiting.

“I’ll tell you what,” Debbie suggested, “I’ll log onto the Swaffham Times web site and see what I can find.  If you have time, you can try too, with us both looking we’re more likely to find something.”

“No, please don’t!”  He didn’t like this idea.  The last time he’d asked someone to help in this way, they’d ended up in hospital, and worse.

“I’ll be OK.  There are a lot of people here at work.”  She had heard the fear in his voice, and was trying to reassure him.  He could tell she wanted to help, but he wasn’t sure it was a good idea.  He also realised he wouldn’t be able to stop her, if that’s what she wanted.

“OK.” he agreed.  “But, do something for me?”

“Yes, whatever?”

“If you find something, will you call me?  Also, tell Donna or Geoff, so that you are spreading the risk, and if it looks particularly big, don’t go home on your own, make sure there’s someone with you.”

“I’ll find a gorgeous hunk to look after me.”  She was teasing, but he rebuffed her.

“Yes, that would actually be a very good idea.”

She laughed and said goodbye.

He made his way to the police station, parking on the edge of town, and walking in.  He fancied some air, and it was a little too early to see Hargreaves, but too late to stop at the internet cafe.  He had to wait in the police station reception for over twenty minutes, two people in front of him kept the receptionist busy, and no-one else was around to help.  Eventually it was his turn.

“Hi, I’m here to see detective Hargreaves.”  Scott began.

“And, your name?”

“Scott Holland.”

Is your solicitor joining you Scott?”

“I’m sorry, will that be necessary?”

“No, it’s your choice.  Many people prefer not to have a solicitor present unless they are charged.”

“Oh no, I’m not here to be charged.”

The receptionist gave him a long look.  “Well, good luck then!  Please take a seat and someone will be with you in a minute.”

Did he really look like a criminal?

The officer on reception disappeared off to find Hargreaves, and shortly after he came through the security door to greet Scott.  They went inside and he took Scott to an interview room, similar to the one where they had questioned him previously.

“I hope you didn’t get a hard time, the officer on duty thought you were here to, erm ‘help’ with our enquiries.”

“I was wondering.” Scott pulled out his list, “I’m hoping you can answer a few questions.”

“I’ll help if I can, but I not making any promises.”

“I don’t know if you noticed, but my home computer is not working, and I think it may have been damaged or sabotaged by whoever broke in.”

“We were aware of this, but since there was no sign of damage to the base unit, we assumed that it was not working beforehand.”

“I thought you guys never took anything at face value?”

“Bring it in.”  Hargreaves requested.  “We’ll have a look, It might help, but I don’t think it likely.”

“I’ll bring it in next time I’m coming this way.”  Scott promised.  “That kind of brings me onto Toni’s computer.  It’s not there, did THEY take it, or do you have it?”  It seemed he was going through his list in reverse order.

“We found a laptop on the floor of the lounge, it had blood on the case and the screen was broken. Scott imagined it covered in blood even though that was not the way Hargreaves had just described it.  “We are trying to read the hard drive, but it was damaged when we found it, so this is taking some time.  Since it appears that it was deliberately broken, we suspect that it might contain clues as to the attacker.”

Hargreaves went on to explain that they were unable to identify he person who had sent him a text message on the day of the attack.  The phone was on a pay-as-you-go tariff, and they could not locate the user.

Going back to the top of his list, they had found nothing on his PC at work that suggested anyone had played with it.  However, this was not the end of the story.  Since Francoise had gone missing, they had checked out her PC too.  They found files that were captured from video streams.  She had videos of each of the other accountants working at their desks.  More specifically, these showed people using their keyboards and screens.  They had found one of Scott typing his password, and it was likely that Francoise had obtained his password from this source.  This led the police to search the areas around the accountants’ desks, and they found small cameras hidden in strategic locations, sending data wirelessly to a receiver in the back of Francoise’s computer.   Gladwell had been informed of the situation, and officers were now removing the cameras as evidence.

As for the whereabouts of Francoise, they still had no idea.  The search for either the real Francoise or her imposter had so far revealed neither.  However, the number plate of the van outside Francoise’s flat was a new lead.  They had traced the vehicle registration to its owner, and were talking to this person.  Hargreaves was not prepared to reveal any more about this lead at that stage.  Scott pressed him for something, but he would not even say what part of the country they were from.  Scott asked Hargreaves if the person could have come from Norfolk.  There was a flicker in his eyes that suggested he was correct.

Scott then asked him about Debbie’s friends.  Again, Hargreaves was a little cagey.

“We have managed to trace three of the gang from the information provided by Miss Little.  The last person is proving more difficult, but we expect to find him soon.

Scott picked up on the fact that Hargreaves had used the word ‘him’.  “Is Dave the missing person?” 

“No, we have managed to talk to that gentleman, and are able to rule him out of the investigation for the time being.”

“And the others?”  Scott sounded disappointed.

“Two of the four have good alibis for the time of the attack.  A third cannot provide a firm alibi, but this does not mean that they were involved.”

This did not fully satisfy Scott, and it probably did not satisfy Hargreaves either, but for the moment that was all they had.  Scott suspected that there was more that he was not telling him, but again, he wouldn’t be pushed.

Scott’s mobile phone started to ring, he looked at the number, saw it was Debbie, so said “Excuse me.” and answered the call.  Debbie said she had something to tell him, and asked if they could meet after work. 

“I’ll call you back shortly, I’m at the police station.”

Finally he asked Hargreaves if they had followed up the lead regarding the Swaffham Times.

“This is on our list.”  In other words ‘no’ Scott thought.

All lines of inquiry will be followed up, but at the moment we have more promising leadsWe are taking this whole matter very seriously.”  Hargreaves was doing his best to reassure Scott and to discourage further probing.  “This is now a murder enquiry, so apart from anything else it now means we will have more resources.  Everything will be done to find Toni’s killer.

He then told Scott that Toni’s sons had requested an autopsy.  However, this being a suspicious death, an autopsy would be carried out as a matter of course.  If the boys were not happy with the findings of the autopsy, they could always request another be carried out.

Scott thanked him for his time.  “Will you please let me know if you have any more news?” Hargreaves had not quite finished.  “You should not have gone to the flat by yourself.”

“Debbie, Miss Little, was there too.”

 I think you know what I mean.  Don’t interfere with our investigation, this is a police matter. There could be a dangerous killer out there, so please leave this to the professionals.  Your amateur investigations might hamper our enquiries.”

“I was just trying to help.” 

“I’m well aware of that, but no more amateur detective stuff.”

“OK, I’ll leave things to you guys, but I have brought you everything I’ve found out. And, without Debbie and me, you would not have known about the connection with Swaffham or got the van registration number.

“Look, if you’re thinking of doing anything else, call me first.” Hargreaves passed him one of his cards.

He left the police station with nothing more to lead him to finding the person who had attacked Toni.  Hargreaves had been fairly free to talk, but nothing he said gave any further clues.  Scott did at least know that the damned chicken had gained access to his PC at work, but he had guessed this much anyway.  It was the way she had done it that had surprised him.  Either this was a very intelligent chicken, or she had some serious help.

He started walking back to the car, and called Debbie on her mobile as he walked.  When she answered he apologised for not being able to talk before.  She said it was OK, but asked if they could meet.  She needed to tell him something important, face to face.  At first he was reluctant, but did not argue too strongly, she said she’d meet him at the pub where they had gone after the Earth Mates meeting earlier in the week.  It was less travelling for him, and in a relatively neutral and therefore safe location.  She hung up, and Scott carried on walking towards the car.  He was slightly happier for some reason, and realised he was looking forward to seeing her.  He needed to be with someone he liked, and was starting to trust and could talk to, someone who clearly liked him too.  Remembering what she had said earlier, he made a call to his parents.

His father answered the phone.  They greeted each-other warmly, asking how each other was.  He started to tease Scott about the football team he supported, forgetting that his own team was in a lower division.  Scott didn’t respond with the usual comeback, but just said “Dad?”  He instantly knew something was wrong, and asked outright.

“Is everything OK?”

“Is Mum there?”

“Yes, she’s in the kitchen preparing the dinner, do you want to speak to her?”

“Sorry, just wanted to make sure.  There’s something I need to tell you both.”

“OK, what is it?”

He told him all about the attack on Toni, how she had been in Hospital for nearly two days, and had passed away in the early hours of the morning.  His dad wanted to know why Scott hadn’t called him earlier.

“I know I should have done, but it has been difficult”. 

“Don’t Worry, I understand.” His dad answered, but Scott knew he was feeling hurt.  His father handed the phone over to his mother, who was already crying.  She had been listening in on the conversation.  He tried to calm her down, partly because he wanted to be able to talk to her, and partly because she was making him well-up too.  Fortunately, he reached the car, so climbed in and shut the door.  He didn’t bother to hold back any longer, and allowed the tears to flow for what seemed several minutes.  Surprisingly, this had the opposite effect on his mother, whose instincts took over, she stopped crying and was trying to calm him down.

She kept telling him how sad it was, how sad she and his father were, and she said how bad she felt for Toni’s sons.  He agreed, over and over again.  Gradually the conversation turned to how Scott would manage, and he felt he was on firmer ground.

“Please don’t worry, I will manage.” He reassured her. 

“Don’t be stubborn, your dad and I will come down and take care of you and the house, so that you can take care of the arrangements.” 

“No Mum, you really don’t need to.”  He didn’t want them there with the house in a mess.  “I have everything under control.  Work are being kind and giving me time off.”

“Nonsense, you can use some help, and some company.”  She was right, but it just wasn’t that easy.

Yes, but I’m going to need you here for the funeral, and that might not be for some time, you can’t leave everything at home for what could be weeks.”

“Well.”  He knew he was starting to win, so he pushed home his advantage.

“I’ll call you when I know more about the arrangements, you can come down a few days before to help me prepare.”  She was happier, feeling needed, feeling she had helped.


Having made the call to his parents, Scott was happier, having performed his duty and carried out his promise.  He was relieved, so just sat in the car for a minute.  He felt hungry, tired and in need of freshening up.  It had been nearly 24 hours since he had last showered and changed, and nearly ten hours since he had last eaten.  He started the car and drove home.  He had enough time to shower and change before going to meet Debbie, and would grab a bite to eat too.  By the time he reached the drive-way at home he barely had the strength to get out of the car.

As soon as he got indoors he went into the kitchen.  He needed some food quickly, so made a mix of cereals with plenty of milk and sugar.  It filled his stomach and would provide him sufficient energy for the next few hours.  Then he shaved, showered and went into the bedroom to get dressed.  He was very tired, the bed was soft and comfortable, so closed his eyes for a couple of minutes.




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Shiloh Yazdani wrote 93 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 94 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 353 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 364 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 376 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 380 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 382 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 391 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 394 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 396 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 405 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 426 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 447 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 448 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 451 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 487 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 488 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 492 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 509 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 510 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 510 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 524 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 528 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 726 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 726 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 728 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 732 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 732 days ago

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

georgia_summers wrote 742 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 743 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 746 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 751 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 752 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 756 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 758 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 758 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 760 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 760 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 761 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 761 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 761 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 761 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 761 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 761 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 763 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 765 days ago

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

Shahryar Cohanzad

HGridley wrote 765 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 768 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 769 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 770 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,