Author(s): Jock Serong
Darren Keefe is in the boot of a car. The gag, the cable ties, the bullet hole in his knee - everything points towards a shallow grave. His story, now unrolling beneath him, starts with a boy wrestling his brother in a suburban backyard - all the fury in his small body poured into the rules of a made-up game. A kid with a pure talent that makes him a sporting star. A young man gorging himself on fame, seasoned with all the usual spices. A bloke who gets away with things, and just keeps getting. Until now...
~ This book is a first rate thriller and an engaging insight into the psyche of Australian's attitude to sport. Darren and his elder brother lose their father when they are very young. As kids they lose themselves in fiercely competitive cricket in the backyard. The tenderness of their mother is played out against the boys hard-nosed approach to their cricket.
She's a battler who instills in them the self belief which brings them both a baggy green cap. One wears his more successfully than the other.
So how has it come about that Darren is trussed up in the boot of a car seemingly on his way to a sticky end? Which is how this page-turner of a book begins. David
Short-listed for Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction 2017 (Australia). Long-listed for Indie Book Award for Fiction 2017 (Australia).
'Blow me down if I didn't hang on every word.' -- Clare Wright Best Books of 2016, Australian 'Funny, sad and oddly touching...Beautifully written and acutely observed, The Rules of Backyard Cricket is a noir tour de force...Original Australian crime fiction of the first order. -- Sue Turnbull Sydney Morning Herald 'The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong, while classified as 'crime', is a compelling literary novel dissecting toxic sporting culture and its fallout.' -- Paddy O'Reilly Australian Book Review, 2016 Books of the Year 'Suffice it to say the back cover blurb that draws a parallel between The Rules of Backyard Cricket and Peter Temple's best work is no exaggeration. Serong pulls off what I consider an Australian crime writer's most sought-after quinella (to use a metaphor from another sport): a literary crime novel that qualifies as genuine Australian noir.' -- Angela Savage 'Serong writes pithy, pin-sharp dialogue...The book is expertly plotted, and its noirish climax with its dark drama and its final twists, is devastating. Get out and buy this book; it is the best new novel I've read this year.' Crime Time 'The Rules of Backyard Cricket hits all other cricket books I've read to date for six. This tale is not just about cricket, it's about the good, the bad and the ugly and a timely story, too, with sporting integrity often in question.' Weekly Times 'Serong is an elegant writer who can move effortlessly from laugh out-loud funny to elegiac to downright touching...Those of us who played back garden cricket and remember how seriously it was taken by all concerned will lap up every single run and wicket in this book.' Crime Review 'The writing is sharp and the flawed characters compelling...Serong bowls with a wry eye.' Otago Daily Times 'Jock Serong's gripping narrative is a compassionate exploration of masculinity and humanity as he chillingly questions whether we truly know those who are closest to us.' Good Reading 'One of the great novels written about sport...Delicious. It's the top read of the summer.' Stuff.co.nz
Jock Serong lives and works on the far southwest coast of Victoria. Formerly a lawyer, he is now a features writer, and was the editor of Great Ocean Quarterly. His first novel, Quota, won the 2015 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel. The Rules of Backyard Cricket is his most recent novel . Jock is married with four children and lives in Port Fairy, Victoria.