Mystery and crime books from Australia. News, views, reviews, releases and author appearances - crime fiction in Australia. Crime novels, mystery novels, detective stories, police procedural books, thrillers and soft-boiled mysteries

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong

I’ve recently been enjoying the work of Jock Serong who has already made a bit of a splash with the three novels he has published to date. His first, Quota, won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and deservedly so, it is an extremely strong crime novel set in small-town Australia.

But it’s The Rules of Backyard Cricket that I have most recently read and, as a cricket fan who also played the game for many years, both in the backyard and in the park, I found it particularly enjoyable.

The book opens with Darren Keefe bound and gagged and lying in the boot of a car with a bullet in his knee. Not an ideal place to be and it also appears there is not a lot of future left for him either.

We are then transported back to the Keefe backyard where Darren and his older brother, like numerous Australian kids (and sure, I was one), carved out a cricket ground. Endless matches in the backyard were carried out throughout each summer where the competition is as fierce as any test match.

Darren takes us through his and his brother’s journeys from their first junior cricket match right through the early representative selections and on to state and, finally, international level.

But, of course, we are constantly reminded of the predicament that Darren is in when he was first introduced to us.

We're reminded that although The Rules of Backyard Cricket is a work of fiction it’s not a million miles from the truth of what may actually be going on behind the scenes in any cricket dressing room.