14 November 2016

Review: THE RULES OF BACKYARD CRICKET, Jock Serong

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 2036 KB
  • Publisher: Text Publishing (August 29, 2016)
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01FPQQKTS
Synopsis  (Amazon)
It starts in a suburban backyard with Darren Keefe and his older brother, sons of a fierce and gutsy single mother. The endless glow of summer, the bottomless fury of contest. All the love and hatred in two small bodies poured into the rules of a made-up game.

Darren has two big talents: cricket and trouble. No surprise that he becomes an Australian sporting star of the bad-boy variety—one of those men who’s always got away with things and just keeps getting.


Until the day we meet him, middle aged, in the boot of a car. Gagged, cable-tied, a bullet in his knee. Everything pointing towards a shallow grave.

The Rules of Backyard Cricket is a novel of suspense in the tradition of Peter Temple’s Truth. With glorious writing harnessed to a gripping narrative, it observes celebrity, masculinity—humanity—with clear-eyed lyricism and exhilarating narrative drive.

My Take

This is a very cleverly written book,  and will particularly be enjoyed by Australian readers who like to read crime fiction and follow the fortunes of the Australian cricket team.

The main voice is Darren Keefe, middle aged, trussed up in the boot of a car, seemingly on his way to his execution. He's an ex-cricket player, the younger of two famous brothers, the elder of whom reached the pinnacle, the captain of the Australian XI. Darren always considered himself the better player but it was Wally who reached the heights. While Wally was calm and serene and reliable, Darren lived the high life, sometimes dropped from the team for disciplinary reasons, but recalled because he was so incredible on the field.

I kept thinking of cricketing brothers, the Chappells, the Waughs, and others, and cricketing bad boys, whose larrikinism has held us captive. So many incidents in the book tweaked half-remembered things in my brain, and the author has obviously been a keen observer of the sport. Like so many Australian cricketers the Keefe brothers pay a terrible price for their fame, and there is a dramatic twist in the tail when a final mystery is solved.

An excellent read.

My rating: 5.0

About the author
Jock Serong lives and works on the far southwest coast of Victoria. Formerly a lawyer, he is now a features writer, and the editor of Great Ocean Quarterly. His first novel, Quota, won the 2015 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel. His most recent novel is The Rules of Backyard Cricket.

1 comment:

R. T. (Tim) Davis said...

What an interesting posting/review! But what a disturbing book cover! All the best from the U.S. Gulf coast.
Tim
http://beyond221bbakerstreet.blogspot.com/

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